How to work from home effectively?

How to work from home effectively?

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, employers are reflecting on the positive impacts of employees working from home such as lower bills (from having few people in the office), and in some cases higher levels of efficiency. But at the same time, many may experience psychological difficulties working from home. Read on for several tips and methods that could help you be as productive as possible while working from home.

Set an alarm

People often think that working from home means staying in pyjamas all day and skipping a shower week. Whilst this may the case for some, The Harvard Business Review released this interesting study on the effectiveness of those who work from home and just how productive they are. In order to boost your productivity, start your day well by setting an alarm and get up as if you were going to the office. By all means take your time, have breakfast in your pyjamas, but do get up, take a shower, get dressed (yes real clothes) and brush your hair. You will feel so much better for it and set your day up right.

Plan your day with to-do lists

There can be many distractions when working remotely. However, one way to keep yourself on track and remain productive is to write a to-do list with the daily tasks to be completed. This will help you to keep track of what needs to be done and stay focused on each individual task rather than getting sidelined by piles of laundry screaming to be washed. You will not feel the need to remember a hundred different things at once and will therefore focus better on the task at hand. Monday app can also help with structuring your work day. Needless to say, the satisfaction of crossing items off your list is pretty good too.

Allocate time limits

This point is very important. When completing your to-do list, it is important to allocate time limits to each activity and tasks to be completed. This also includes your lunch and regular breaks. You will notice how much more efficient you become when you only dedicate a specific amount of time to a task and stay focused for the entirety of that time. This will also help you to avoid the dreaded ‘tv binges’ that can happen when taking a lunch break at home. A worthy side note here, allocating timing to individual activities and indeed your work day, can also include getting up and starting work earlier, thereby finishing work earlier in the evening. Working from home means you’re the boss and entirely autonomous.

Create a dedicated work space

If possible, create a space in your home that is dedicated solely to working. This may not be possible for everyone especially if you live in a studio apartment for example, but even making a dedicated ‘work-corner’ can improve concentration and work output ten-fold. Our brains do well when we compartmentalise; bed for sleeping, table for working etc, so help yourself and carve out a few feet for your cosy new office space to ramp up the focus.

Get some fresh air & do some exercise

We cannot emphasise enough, the importance of taking breaks and getting fresh air if you can. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, go for a run or take a yoga class, just do whatever you can for a change of scenery. You can even use your would-be commute time to do this. In times of quarantine (like what many are currently experiencing as a result of Covid-19), utilise the numerous online resources being made available to get a workout in. Some of which include yoga classes, personal training programs, meditation resources and much more. Breaks are essential for good work output.

Log out of all social media accounts

This may seem brutal but with no accountability whilst working from home, sometimes more extreme measures can be useful. By logging out of your preferred social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc), you will save precious time that could be otherwise lost, scrolling endlessly through news feeds. Being greeted by a log in page instead of the usual updates, reminds you that you’re working and provides far greater enjoyment when you catch up on everything social in one of your breaks.

Set boundaries

This is an important one. A frequent misconception is that people doing ‘home-office’ or working remotely, are basically faffing about all day and therefore open to all communication resulting in Charlene interrupting your afternoon, calling to tell you about her cheating boyfriend. This is where boundaries need to be established. You can calmly inform loved ones that you’re working/busy until 5p.m. and will gladly call them back then. Productivity is the name of the game, so make it as easy as possible for yourself to get the best work done. 

New trend: 'body doubling'

Forced to work from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, some people experienced difficulties in combining work and living spaces and still have difficulty concentrating and being mentally stimulated to work, not to mention that lockdowns may have led to an increase in the number of people suffering from the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This neurological disorder is characterised by increased inattention accompanied by hyperactivity and impulsivity. In recent years, 'body doubling' has been actively used to help solve this problem. This method consists of two people being physically close to each other and watching each other when they are engaged in their own activities. The 'double of the body' helps a person not to get lost in a series of random thoughts and focus on work.

So, the method is not new. But right now it has become more widespread through services such as Zoom or TikTok. There are some users who have gained a large number of followers due to the fact that they started sharing their work experience live, getting comments from their viewers and replying to them. They claim - and their experience is confirmed by some scientists, although no official studies have yet been published on this - that online collaboration is morally supportive and helps to focus. Watching focused, calm people at work helps to calm down and tune in to your work. One does not feel alone in her/his problems and experiences the joint pleasure of overcoming them. Broadcasting the workflow can be accompanied by pleasant music. However, there may be work options for different tastes, the main thing is that they bring results.

'Body doubling' is also related to one of the main reasons for the success of social networks - the desire of people to communicate and feel part of a community. So, parallel work is an interesting phenomenon, however it remains to be seen how long-term it becomes. Also, parallel work cannot be a panacea for the psychological difficulties that arise during long hours of working at a computer, including working at home. It is also important that our life is balanced and healthy, including regular sports, outdoor walks, etc.

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