7 Work From Home Tips to Help You Maximize Productivity
COVID-19 has not only forced people to lock themselves for days or weeks at a time, but it has also forced companies to temporarily shut down their physical offices. With this, remote work has become the norm and will continue to be so until the virus is completely eradicated, but these setups have not benefited everyone. If you’re working from home but find it hard to beat deadlines and finish other work-related tasks, check out these seven work from home (WFH) tips to help you maximize productivity:
1. Maintain Regular Work Hours
Whether you’re a full-time employee or a freelancer, maintaining regular work hours is essential for you to finish your work on time. If you’re an employee working on a regular office schedule, your company may have already set up a schedule that resembles the same working hours when you were still working at a physical office. Maintaining an identical schedule five days or six days a week will keep you focused and help you prevent working late at night or the wee hours of the morning. Keep track of your schedule using timekeeping apps such as TeamViewer, AnyDesk, or LogMeIn, but if the company is already tracking your schedule then there is no need to install any of these apps.
The rise of time-keeping apps, as well as video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Skype, have become some of the most popular work from home trends today. Even for companies that don’t do video calls that often, having Zoom at the ready makes communication between colleagues faster and more efficient.
2. Schedule Long Breaks
Having a regular schedule should be essential, but setting breaks in between your shifts is as important. If your company isn’t strict with breaks as long as you finish work on time, making the most out of these breaks by taking a nap or spending time with family or relatives will help keep you sharp throughout the day. But if the company is indeed monitoring your breaks, try taking a nap and avoid using electronic devices since it sometimes causes nausea especially when you’re facing a screen the entire day.
3. Develop a Before/After-Work Routine
What you do before and after work will keep you from burning out from a tiring work from home routine. Since you won’t have to travel to and from the office every day, you can use the extra time to do something else entirely. Some activities you can include in your list include exercising, watching a movie, or eating together with family. But activities don’t have to include everyone in the household, as it can be simple as cleaning your desk or listening to a podcast. Sticking to a daily work routine for the entire workweek not only aids in maximizing productivity but also keeps you focused on what’s really important in life.
When it comes to after-work routine, most lean towards spending the bulk of their free time on social media. Although it has some drawbacks, many use several social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to keep themselves entertained. If you regularly post stuff on any of these platforms, try creating a time table on the content you will be sharing. Although it doesn’t necessarily affect your actual job, it gives you something to look forward to after a hard day’s work.
4. Create a Separate Office Space
For parents on a full-time remote work arrangement, nothing can be more stressful than juggling work and family responsibilities multiple times in a single day. This is where having a separate office space at home should be prioritized above anything else. Bear in mind that there is absolutely no need to build an entire office from scratch as you can always designate rooms or spaces in your home to be your temporary workspace. Additionally, place some signs at the door or near your desk to keep family members away especially when you’re in meetings with colleagues or clients.
Although it’s not mandatory, consider turning your temporary workspace into a lively and radiant work environment. Placing plants around your desk can be a good start; just make sure there is enough light to keep the plants healthy and energized. If you’re a hobbyist or collector, surround your desk or your entire home office with stuff that you collect, whether it be action figures, shoes, gaming consoles and accessories, instruments, or ornaments, just to name a few.
5. Socialize with Colleagues
Speaking of colleagues, not seeing your favorite work friends or even your friends outside your job may have already taken a toll on you mentally. Long periods of loneliness and isolation usually result in mental issues, and having mental problems is probably the last thing you want to have during this pandemic. Interacting with colleagues for short periods during the day will help ease loneliness which in turn helps you maximize productivity.
It’s never advisable to talk about random topics during meetings especially when the boss is around, but you can always interact with your workmates through chats or video calls as long as they’re not busy themselves. If you’re not the chatty type to begin with but enjoy listening to people chit-chat, try striking a conversation with a close colleague every now and then or seek assistance from the Human Resource department. Not a lot of people want to talk about mental health, but if there’s one qualified person in the organization that can help give you mental health awareness tips, it's your HR officer.
6. Leave Home
Aside from loneliness and isolation, some negative psychological effects of working from home include anxiety and depression. Even if you maintain a regular work schedule but still feel like you’re not doing any progress with work, leaving the house for short periods will keep you rejuvenated and even prevent you from developing any sort of mental illness. Whether it be purchasing something at a nearby store, doing groceries, or taking a walk in the park, leaving the premises of your home can give you a much-needed breather. Just make sure to follow health protocols set by the local government when going outside and avoid crowded areas as much as possible. Nothing really beats fresh air and natural light to relieve work-related stress.
7. Stay Positive
In these times of a global pandemic, it’s difficult to stay positive (not that kind of positive). Thousands of people have lost jobs, homes, and even family members due to the deadly virus. But if you’ve managed to come this far and managed to hold on despite everything that has happened, changing your mindset by maintaining a positive outlook in both work and personal life can help you deal with the situation much better. Focus on what you can control and take solace in the things you can’t. You’ll be surprised that by staying positive in the things you do on a regularly basis, that attitude will eventually gravitate to the people around you such as family, friends, work colleagues, and even your pets.
The pros and cons of working from home can be lengthy, but since COVID-19 hasn’t stopped wreaking havoc around the world, most workers are left with no choice. Fortunately, the seven tips listed above will help you overcome the numerous obstacles in remote working. Who knows, a WFH setup may just yield you a promotion or salary raise in the near future.