As COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic by WHO, several offices are shut and people are working from home. And this is a unique situation for those who have never worked from home for long periods earlier. It can also be difficult if you think working from home is the same as working in office. There is a huge difference, and you need to figure out how to work from home productively during this pandemic.
Unfortunately, working from home is not the same as a holiday. You can’t laze around all day and not work. You can’t give into the many distractions around, and you have to shut out all the neighbourhood noise to concentrate. So, here are some tips on how to work from home effectively without tiring yourself out or letting work suffer.
1. Set a proper schedule
It is easy to lose your focus when you are working from the comfort of home. So, the first thing to do as you begin your day should be to set a schedule. Plan out your day and discuss the day’s tasks with your colleagues. Schedule your household chores and break times as well.
2. Make a to-do list
It is not easy for everyone to work in a non-office environment, and one can lose discipline as the day progresses. In order to be more productive, make a to-do list of your tasks with a time stamp. This will help you not procrastinate and get your work done on time. Do the same for break times as well. Tick off things once they are done.
3. Organise your things
As much as you would love to work in bed or on the couch, it might make you a little too comfortable. It is very inconvenient and messy to have all your documents and devices lying on your bed or couch, so think it through. Even if you want to work in bed, create some space and don’t clutter. Organise your stationery, notes, laptop, and everything else you need for work.
4. Create a proper workspace
Just because you are not in the office does not mean you can’t have your workstation. Use this time and opportunity to customise a workspace for yourself where you can relax and work without any distractions. Keep everything you use on a regular work day in this space so you don’t have to go back and forth to look for things. You can even add plants and other decor items to make it a pleasant work space.
5. Communicate with your partner
Working from home means you need to coordinate and communicate with your partner through the day. You may be working in different work spaces or sharing one at home, which means that you need to let each other work in peace and in your own spaces.
6. Share responsibilities with your partner
Just because you are working from home does not mean you can take on more household chores. Share responsibilities with your partner and work out a new schedule together. You need to ensure that other members in the household continue pulling their own weight and not slack just because you’re at home.
7. Take breaks in between
As important as it is to focus and get the job done, it is equally important to take some breaks in the middle of work. You can’t stay glued to your screen just because you’re working from home. Get up, stretch, walk around for a bit, listen to some music, and let your mind cool off for a bit. Breaks increase productivity, which is important when you’re trying to figure out how to work from home effectively.
8. Sneak in a quick nap
If you are a working parent, you already know the struggles of spending time with your kids and managing work. If you have a baby, time naps together so that you both get your rest. Your children will demand your attention if you are working from home, so it is important to plan a flexible schedule to fit them in.
9. Dress up
One of the biggest benefits of working from home is that you can laze around in your pajamas all day long. Well, scrap that and dress up a bit. Take a shower, put on clean clothes, and look presentable because you are still at work. Don’t lounge around in your nightwear as it will make you feel tired and sleepy.
10. Socialise while you can
It is good to keep in touch with people around you, but social distancing is the new reality for 2020. Since we can’t have physical meet-ups, try to have more phone conversations. Call your teammates, instead of mailing them, to get work done faster and to catch up with them, like you would at work. Take a break from work and talk to your family or friends over video calls. This will help you keep loneliness at bay if you live alone.
11. Be honest with your teammates
When you are working from home, it is obvious that you will need certain breaks according to your schedule. It is okay if you take out some time to work out, read a book, or go out for a walk. The important thing is to be honest with your teammates and communicate with them about the status of your work. As long as you are getting your work done on time, no one will object.
12. Don’t skip meals
We tend to be a little more forgetful of our meals when we are at home. But you should not skip meals and keep postponing them since you need that energy to work through the day. Just as you schedule your breakfast and lunch timings on a regular work day, follow the same pattern when you’re working from home. Don’t have your breakfast at 2pm and lunch at 5pm. An unhealthy eating routine can make you more tired and less productive.
13. Don’t overwork yourself
Set a time in the day to stop working, just as you would in office. Once you have wrapped up your work for the day, don’t go back to your laptop. It is important to balance your work and personal life for increased productivity. Any ideas, leftover work, or emails, can be dealt with the next day. Take your time off and relax once you are done for the day.
Stay home, stay safe.