Work from Home: Improving Your Productivity and Wellbeing
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more likely than ever for individuals who were fortunate enough to avoid being laid off to be adjusting to a work environment that is both familiar and unusual.
It may be quite difficult. The loss of routine and continuity, a child who needs help with their homeschooling tasks, a partner on endless, loud team calls, and any of these things can be draining and disconcerting.
However, not having to commute to work can present unexpected chances to create a better work-life balance and to customize your own working day.
In this article, we discuss the advantages of working from home and outline how to avoid its drawbacks.
The pros and cons of working from home
Due to COVID-19, many people are working from home for the first time. Some of the remote workers have more experience. Whatever your situation, working from home is probably more important than it has ever been to you or the people you live with.
Working from home is most advantageous for you, your household or family, and your company. You may work effectively and have a satisfying family time while avoiding the stress of a daily commute.
In her book “The Ultimate A-Z of Home Working,” Sarah Harvey writes that companies that do not allow remote work may be missing out on a large pool of talent, many of whom now value home working more than they value bonuses.”
But there are difficulties. Managers might wonder if employees who work from home are actually productive. Many remote workers may experience isolation during this time. They may experience stress and anxiety and withdraw from the group dynamic. Because of this, it’s critical to stay in touch with your coworkers and foster a feeling of community.
Safe Home Work Practices
You are in charge of establishing your own workspace at home, which is frequently a location very different to an office. Also, you must maintain your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Creating Your Workplace
If you want to stay focused and complete your tasks, setting up a productive workspace is crucial. Make sure you have access to all the tools you need, and that you have enough space to work comfortably.
Make it a spot you’ll want to hang out in. But at the same time, understand that it is a place of work at a specific time of the day. While adding a few “office” accents could make you more productive, you can still make your desk your own with entertaining posters or pictures of your loved ones.
One of the best investments you can make is a good office chair. Make sure you can sit comfortably even if you don’t have the money or space for one. If not, you’ll probably come up with a lot of justifications to get up and go somewhere else!
If you live with someone else, be aggressive and try to keep people and animals out of your workspace when you’re working. If your partner is working from home as well, at the very least set up your workspace so that they are out of your line of sight.
Consider light, air, and noise when choosing your location. Allow enough light to see your keyboard well, but stay away from light from the reflected screen. Attempt to get some fresh air by opening a window. However, if your neighbourhood is noisy, you might want to use headphones when visiting websites that block out background noise, like mynoise.net.
Maintaining Healthy Routines
Your physical and emotional health may face new challenges if you work from home. So create healthy routines to prevent relapsing into unhealthy behaviour.
It could be tempting to start sooner and end later if there was no commute time. You might feel more exhausted than normal as a result, so be sure to stick to your regular start and finish times for work.
Always make sure you receive adequate rest and eat at regular intervals. Snacking might make you cranky and make you feel hungry at the wrong times. It’s not a good way to eat, either.
You can stay alert and attentive by taking regular, brief breaks, which will also give your eyes a break from constant screen time. Try starting a countdown timer and working for, say, an hour. Reward yourself with a five- or ten-minute break to make coffee or get some fresh air when the alarm goes off. Remember, the point is to take a break from screens, so refrain from picking up your phone to switch screens right away!
While it’s important to be comfortable in order to focus and prevent back pain, it’s also important to get up from your chair frequently throughout the day.
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Working Safely at Home
Because you’re probably using a remote connection to access systems and data for your company. Take all the precautions you would if you were working in an office.
Use only password-protected WiFi networks that are secure. Maintain secure password practices and make sure you’re connecting via a VPN where necessary. In any case, your company will probably insist on it, but if not, inquire with them about it. It significantly raises cybersecurity.
Don’t store private information on detachable storage devices like USB drives or flash discs when backing up your data; these are often misplaced and can spread viruses and malware.
Even if you’re only going to be away from your computer for a short while, lock it whenever you’re not using it. Even while your spouse and family are probably not a security threat, you shouldn’t let them access private information because your kids’ or animals’ haphazard typing might ruin everything!
Keep your electronics in a secure location that is hidden from anyone who could be walking by your window or working area. This is crucial if anyone with no prior relationship to you can access your home.
Staying Productive While Working From Home
Sometimes it’s difficult for those who work from home to be productive. Working remotely and attending just remote internet meetings has the risk of leading to emotional isolation and apathy. Procrastination may also be encouraged by it.
Create cues that will help you enter and exit work mode. These can include set start and finish times, as well as allocated time for meals and exercise. They can also be routines that you use to start or end your day, such as taking a shower, contacting your mother, or listening to your favourite podcast.
You might discover that wearing specific clothing makes it easier to work from home. By dressing appropriately for work, you can avoid the discomfort of dialing into a virtual meeting while still in your pajamas and create the perfect mental tone for the day.
Avoid going into specific rooms of your house or sitting in specific seats, for instance, so that you can distinguish between times when you’re in “work mode,” and other times when you’re not.
Note: You could believe that working long hours without taking breaks will help you establish your value to a remote team and manager. This is not healthy. Establishing boundaries and indications will help you operate much more productively and prevent burnout.
How to Concentrate at Home While Working
According to a 2008 University of California study, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to resume work after an interruption. Utilize strategies to reduce distractions because working from home might make it difficult to remain focused.
Set new boundaries and seek for assistance in upholding them if you frequently get interrupted by family members or friends or become overwhelmed with domestic duties.
Use social media responsibly. Consider carefully which notifications to leave on and which to mute for the time being. Set aside specific times to check your phone, and don’t check it outside of those hours.
If there are active internal communication channels at your company, make a conscious effort to monitor them at regular intervals. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself being distracted from your crucial chores to expend energy on less important things.
creating a structure and setting a clear goal
Establish explicit goals with your manager. Make sure that you are clear about your longer-term career goals in addition to your short-term, task-related goals. Whatever your location, remembering them will inspire you to produce your best work.
To help you manage your workload, make a to-do list. Your day will have structure as a result. However, make sure that the items on it are reasonable and broken down into smaller tasks so that you can clearly see your progress as you do them. This will assist you in avoiding multitasking-related distractions and procrastination.
Tip: You probably also have a To-Do List for duties at home. To achieve the best possible work-life balance, keep these in mind when making your plans.
Staying motivated when working from home
Feeling motivated and valued might be challenging when you are alone. There is no room for spontaneous high fives or praise for a job well done. Utilizing self-motivation tactics in these situations can increase your self-assurance, encourage optimistic thinking, and keep you going.
Avoid being invisible! Instead, be confident when putting up ideas and recommendations in online meetings or when talking to your manager about working from home. But keep in mind to get assistance when necessary. Whether you don’t tell your manager right away, they won’t be able to tell if you’re having trouble.
Look for methods to make each work more fulfilling and pleasurable on its own. Knowing the worth of your work on an inherent level might inspire you. Give yourself “treats” after you finish tasks if they truly are mundane and routine. Consider rewarding yourself with your favourite speciality coffee for completing a challenging task.
Make your to-do list useful by adding a column for completed tasks. This produces a quantifiable record of accomplishment and aids in the development of a sense of satisfaction.
People, especially those who are geographically isolated, need to feel that their accomplishments are recognised. Otherwise, it’s all too simple to succumb to emotions of self-doubt and even Impostor Syndrome, where you worry that your supposed incompetence will be discovered.
Celebrate your individual and team accomplishments. When your team meets online for catch-ups, you can accomplish this. Additionally, if the achievement is important to the group or the company, share it with others by telling inspiring stories.
Openly thank your coworkers when they assist you, such as by directing you to the appropriate document or teaching you how to use a new software. Others’ self-esteem can be improved by even very little gestures of gratitude.
Sustaining Good Relationships
Transparency and trust are essential while working in a remote setting. Make sure your status updates on communication platforms are correct so that coworkers can quickly determine if you are available, in a meeting, or out for lunch.
Update your calendar as well. Avoid needless online meetings, but be as accessible as you can. The right levels of interaction foster productivity confidence and keep managers from feeling the need to micromanage employees.
Make plans to regularly catch up with your boss and coworkers, and don’t limit the conversation to work. Share what you’re doing outside of work and inquire about how others are doing. Self-Disclosure can go a long way toward fostering a sense of trust and community. This is crucial with especially new hires who might not have met their coworkers in person.
More people than ever are working from home as a result of COVID-19. This presents both opportunities and challenges and necessitates a change in a wide variety of working habits.
Establish a physical workspace that is safe, comfortable, and has few distractions. Give your day a framework and a schedule that includes plenty of breaks, fresh air, and exercise in between.
By concentrating on your objectives, planning your work, and dealing with procrastination, you may maintain your productivity. However, remember to allow yourself some downtime when you require it. Make time for your friends and family as well. You also have obligations to them.
Celebrate your individual and team accomplishments, and keep track of the tasks you complete so you can gauge your level of productivity.
Additionally, spend effort cultivating and preserving connections with your coworkers through openness and concise communication.