As we embark on 2022, and the third year of lives impacted by the COVID pandemic, we still find ourselves being forced to adapt to new and sudden changes in how we function as professionals. Many people now find themselves permanently home-based, whilst others are working in a hybrid environment. For almost all of us, the risk of being suddenly told to work from home is a constant possibility. Thus, this article is relevant to almost all professionals as we face a new year in the world of work.
Everyone seems to have a different opinion on working from home. Whilst some of us find communal offices more motivating, and find at home distractions too tempting, others find it easier to focus without the physical presence of colleagues and enjoy having more freedom around their own day.
Arguably, there are pros and cons to both environments, they both come with their own benefits, as well as their own distractions. As we explored in our final article of 2021, as we look to the future, it seems that working from home is only going to become more and more commonplace. Not only due to the health climate, but because recent years have proven to millions of organisations worldwide that WFH can be incredibly beneficial and productive.
So how can you stay focused when you find yourself working from your dining room? How can you adapt to a new environment and ensure you are producing your best work? We’ve compiled a list of tips to remind you how to work efficiently…
Keep to a Regular Schedule. Whilst you likely still have planned meetings to attend and calls to make, working from home means you are the only person holding yourself accountable, and it can be tempting to give yourself extra flexibility. In order to maintain productivity, it’s essential that you set yourself a schedule and try to stick to it every day.
Whilst you may have gained the luxury of an extra half an hour in bed now that you don’t have to commute, try to be seated at your workspace at the same time you would usually arrive to the office. Structure and consistency are arguably the most important aspects of maintaining productivity in a new environment.
Boundaries. One thing anyone who has ever worked from home can probably agree on is that one of the biggest struggles is the blurring of the line between personal and professional.
The doorbell might be chiming when you’re trying to write an important email, or perhaps your family members are in and out of your “office” – even your dog under the desk can provide a distraction. We suggest setting clear boundaries with those in the house based on the schedule you have set yourself. Cut out time that is for work only and ask not to be disturbed during those hours.
Breaks. Clear boundaries don’t mean you can’t take breaks and go chat with those you live with, just like you would talk to colleagues during your breaks in the office. Perhaps a short walk with the dog is a better way to spend your break – it’s ultimately up to you, but time away from the desk must be factored into your schedule.
In the workplace, there is often a hustle and bustle around lunchtime, and others taking breaks throughout the day. Whilst WFH can provide its own distractions, the lack of a movement around you can lead to you working too hard if you’re not careful. At this point you risk decreasing productivity, and not performing to your best.
Stay Connected. Prolonged isolation is dangerous, not only do you want to try and engage with another human being during your break, but it’s more important than ever than you carve out time to connect with other people. This may involve phone-calls with friends, or off the clock chats with colleagues (about something other than work), but where possible, you want to get out the house and see people in person.
Unfortunately, given the constantly changing world we live in and the still unpredictable health climate, this isn’t always possible, but you should ensure you’re keeping connected with the world outside of your door.
Workspace. Where in your home you decide to work from can have a massive impact on your productivity. Things to consider include natural light and lack of distraction. A little while ago we shared an article on how to maximise your space for calmness and productivity, check it out here.
Check in with yourself! It is still so important to be kind to yourself. Our lives feel a little more stable than they did a year ago, but we’re still dealing with new and unfamiliar things every day. Particularly if you’re someone who would rather be in the office and find yourself at home, things are still not ideal! Acknowledge that you might not be as productive as you usually would be, and that that’s okay. Following the tips above should help you stay on track and adapt to the home environment as smoothly and easily as possible.
If either you, or your employees need support in ensuring you work from home effectively, you can find lots of support in our ‘Working from Home Successfully’ e-learning course. Request a demo from the product page today.