By Calvin Fisher, Owner of Pandabomb
Around the world, managers continue to worry about the productivity of their unexpectedly-remote working team. With all kinds of household distractions like the barking of dogs, laundry, cooking and children, it may feel impossible to stay focused on work during business hours. Working from home has its perks and benefits, as it gives employees flexibility while completing tasks but getting into the swing of things of this new work culture can be a challenge.
Here are some valuable insights on the dos and don’ts of working from home:
Create and follow a morning routine
By putting together a routine for yourself, you’ll be tricking your mind into getting you started. This can be anything from getting up and jumping into the shower or maybe starting your day off with some exercises. When you start your day early to follow your routine, it eventually becomes a habit that helps you keep going. A mindful start in the morning can keep you sane and save you a lot of time and help you avoid having to rush things later.
If you work within a team – this one is crucial. Just because you are working remotely, does not mean that you will work on your own. Communicate with your team regularly and stay updated. Tools such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype will help you keep in touch with peers and staff. These can help you connect with your team, arrange meetings, share files and information related to your work. Also, they can keep everyone on the same page and make us even more productive. As for me, I work almost exclusively by myself as a photographer and videographer but I maintain a healthy amount of communication with my clients which keeps them informed and myself stimulated.
Be productive by taking a break
Take breaks in between tasks during the day to rejuvenate yourself. Taking a break or relaxing helps your brain to retain information better and be more productive. It is the fuel that needs to be refilled from time to time to keep you going. Take conscious breaks like 10-15 minutes every two and a half hours. You can listen to your favourite music, take your dog out for a walk, or have some family time during the breaks. But make a point not to take extended breaks, else you will have to rush later in the day.
I’m going to give you a very practical example that I personally live by, and I’ve dubbed it the coffee walk.
I literally make myself a cup of coffee and pour it over into a takeaway cup, and then walk around my neighbourhood. Some days you have 5 minutes, others you have 20, but I cannot begin to tell you how useful this has been to get in some exercise, enjoy a cup of coffee and smell the fresh air. I never come home without a fresh idea for work, or an angle I hadn’t considered before.
Do not procrastinate
When working from home the flexibility can make you procrastinate more, if you are not self-aware. It’s understandable for people to procrastinate every now and then. But if you make a habit of it, then it might be a problem. It can cause your workload to pile up and things might become difficult for you to complete. One of the major reasons behind procrastination is that the task at hand seems too daunting. In such cases, it’s better to start by giving some thought to how to tackle the difficulty and perhaps break the task up into smaller chunks of work.
Minimise your distractions
Try and minimise distractions as much as you can. Even though it is important to check your emails throughout the day, you do not need to open up the irrelevant ones which aren’t related to your work. The same goes for social media, which is a much easier way to get distracted from your work. You can, however, use your social channels while you’re on your break. I have moved my Whatsapp window from my desktop back to my phone just for that one less distraction and it works.
Don’t get too comfortable
One thing you should avoid when working from home is being too comfortable. Working from the couch or from your bed might feel comfortable but it’s just not advisable for your body posture. Try and work from a dedicated workspace where you can complete all your work for the day. There’s a reason why a desk (of sorts) looks and functions the way it does. But now that your desk is in your house, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t also make yourself at home.