Working from home is a privilege that many of us yearn for. The idea of getting up a little later than normal, not having to engage in any form of small-talk, and being able to work in your jammies, is something that a lot of people love the sound of. However, in reality, it can be quite difficult.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at the main issues surrounding working from home and give you some quick tips on how you can improve your productivity.
Working from Home – Potential Issues
The main issue for people that work from home is distractions. Home is the one place where distractions can make it difficult to get your work done. Typical distractions in the home are:
- Daily chores
If you have pets, they can make it difficult for you to get your work done at home. They love that their human is home all day, and it can be quite hard not to play with them. Alternatively, if your pet is anything like mine, they decide to chew on your wires, or walk all over your laptop. It’s not fun.
Some of you may have young children that aren’t yet ready for school. If your child is at home with you, working from home and keeping them occupied is a massive task. Children are always after love and attention, finding a balance between looking after your child and working from home is very difficult.
Often, we find that our daily chores become an everyday battle. We’re constantly trying to keep on top of it. Working from home can make it hard to not throw in the odd load of washing, or emptying the dishwasher when it’s done.
Having access to a television at home can be a nightmare for people working from home. It’s extremely difficult to not switch it on – even if it’s for ‘background noise’. Once you switch your TV on, it’s likely that you’ll get sucked into the programme that’s on and your productivity will decrease.
Tips for Improving Your Productivity
Working from home is a completely different way of working. If you have access to all the software and tools that you need, you’ll need to have a daily plan in place in order for you to be as productive as possible when you’re at home. Here are some tips on staying productive.
Get Up and Get Dressed
Your first step to increasing productivity is to get up a decent time and get dressed. As you don’t have to travel anywhere, you can sneak in a few extra minutes of sleep, however it’s important to get up around your usual time and get dressed.
You don’t have to get dressed into your usual work clothes, but it’s important that you get up and change out of your pajamas. If you really want to “play the game”, but your shoes on too, not only will this improve your productivity but it’ll also keep you sane.
Being stuck inside all day long can make us unproductive and can negatively affect our mental health.
When working, keep a window open to stop you from becoming sleepy and go on short walks outside to keep yourself awake and active. When I work from home, I go on a short walk around my area at lunchtime. It does wonders for productivity.
If you walk to work or travel via bicycle, get up, get dressed and go for a walk or bike ride first thing, before you start your working day to get your creative juices flowing. It’s important that you stick to your usual routine as much as possible.
Aside from heading outside, make sure you take a couple of breaks throughout the day. Even if those breaks are to check social media or make a cup of tea. Getting away from the screen, and out of your usual position, is important when boosting productivity.
If you have the space to, set up an area to work from. Having a desk in a quiet room away from the rest of your home if possible, is a great way to increase productivity. Being able to shut the door on your working day is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
If you can, try and replicate your space at work at home. It helps to differentiate your work life from your home life.
Working from a laptop and sitting on your bed isn’t ideal for work productivity however some people just don’t have another option. If you’re in this predicament, make sure you distance yourself from any distractions, get dressed, and make sure you’re comfy. Long term, this setup can have a really negative impact on your physical health, so if you have to work from home for an extended period of time, we can’t stress enough the importance of investing in a suitable set up. Your physical health is extremely important and impacts your productivity massively.
Distractions are the main reason that working from home doesn’t work for some people. Limiting those distractions as much as you can is vital for boosting your productivity.
If you have pets, you must ignore them, or set up a toy that promotes self-play.
For children, try and organise someone to watch them if they’re off school/nursery. Alternatively, ask your company for flexi-time work so you can work around childcare.
When you’re working from home, work as you would if you were in the office. Don’t throw in a quick load of washing or hoover the carpet on your breaks, as tempting as it might be. This decreases productivity and can result in burnout as you aren’t switching off on your breaks.
TV’s shouldn’t be on if you’re working from home, however, if you need background noise in order to work effectively, put something on that you either have no interest in, or something like that you’ve seen so many times that you won’t get sucked into it. I put Friends on for background noise. In fact,I have it on while I’m writing this. I’ve seen it that many times that my eyes don’t wander to the TV. If TV is just too tempting, a radio or some of your favourite Spotify tunes can really help improve your mood. Interestingly, you might find something with a bit of tempo helps set a decent work pace.
Plan Your Day
Set out your tasks so that you know exactly what you’re going to do that day. At Boom, we use LiquidPlanner to organise our tasks. Each task has a time limit on it so we can effectively plan out our working days. This is useful when working from home.
Planning your day also stops you from eating everything in the house. Plan out your morning so that you’re busy until lunchtime. Take a break for lunch, get some food and switch off, and then have a set time to get back to your work and carry on until your working day has finished.
Work When Your Most Productive
If your company allows flexitime, work when you know you’re more productive. Some people work better before lunch, others work better in the evening. If you have flexibility in your role, work to the hours that best suit your productivity. For me, working my usual hours works for me. For others, you may want to start working early and finish early, or sleep in later and start working around lunchtime to finish later in the evening.
It’s Tough, But You Can Do It!
Working from home can be difficult and productivity can take a hit. I hope these simple tips help and make working from home a lot easier for you. They’ve definitely helped me!