Being Productive While Living The Work-From-Home Life: The How-To
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Working from home has become a widely spread initiative over the past weeks, with an increasing pressure mounting up in preventing and combating the further spread of the global coronavirus pandemic. Some companies have been at the forefront of flexible working during the past years, as they recognized that this leads to increased productivity and engagement. Certain countries had even introduced policies to reduce the number of working hours in the attempt to shape a work-life balance for their citizens.
However, for most companies, offering employees the flexibility to work remotely hasn’t been a priority until recently. And apart from the pandemic being an unfortunate situation for the world to face, this has also led to a disruption of business as usual. While the first will be eradicated sooner or later (aiming for sooner, as early as possible, with the tremendous global effort), working from home stands, without a doubt, a chance to become the new norm.
If we were to look at the positive side of this, having the chance to work at our own pace, and creating our own productive environment in familiar surroundings is a dream come true for many of us. The most important aspect we now need to address is what is required in order to manage ourselves efficiently, and how to ensure we utilize the tools that will enable us to collaborate and stay connected with our colleagues. No matter where you are (and from where you work), here are a few best practices that you can implement in order to stay productive, be efficient, and maintain high professional results:
1. FIGURE OUT WORKSPACE DELIMITATION
Living room, dining room, balcony, garage? Whichever space you decide for, you have the freedom and flexibility to design your work environment the way you like it in order to stimulate your productivity and creativity. No more rigid setup, no more office noise, no more unintended interruptions. What you need to ensure is that you clearly delimitate your workspace from the rest of your home in order to be fully focused on work, rather than the cosy surroundings. The space you allocate should be filled with plenty of natural light in order to invigorate you, and that particular area should give you the feeling of a personal office.
2. MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS
One of the main challenges when working remotely is maintaining an ongoing communication with your colleagues. We are used to immediate feedback on our work, be it an urgent report that needs putting together, a meeting preparation, or if we are in vibrant sales environments, we share our latest updates with our colleagues. Let’s not forget that mornings or breaks are also a great way to bond with team members and share experiences with one another. While the generic and standard means of communication will continue being e-mails and phone conversations, the main way of maintaining this ongoing flow of discussions will be smart communications, as I refer to it. All the ad-hoc work-related communications are very simple to be addressed, be it through text, voice notes, or audio messages via mediums as simple as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Slack. For all the formal meetings, we have plenty of audio-video conferencing tools at our disposal, which can enable us to remain connected and update one another in a timely manner.
3. AVOID DISTRACTIONS
In the early beginnings of working from home, this can become a challenge for all of us. While at work, the majority of distractions are still related to our organizations and strategies, when at home, such interruptions can become counterproductive, as they could pull you from the productive state of mind. Take, as an example, your life partner starting to share their thoughts on the location of the next holiday, or your children wanting to play while you are planning the next steps to drive a certain strategy. In this regard, what is important is to establish clear boundaries and rules with your family on how to respect one another’s space in order to maintain a top-performing work routine.
4. BUILD ON YOUR SELF-DISCIPLINE
The temptation to procrastinate work in favor of relaxing while meditating, watching one more Netflix episode of your favorite series, etc. will definitely be there in the beginning. While in the office we tend to have fixed working hours and breaks, when we are at home with no supervision or punch-in-and-out systems, the entire dynamic changes. My recommendation here is to always keep track of the progress towards accomplishing each of the objectives you are working on, and ensure these are your top priorities. However, if you finish earlier, you can reward yourself with a couple of hours off. Or alternatively, a great way to disconnect and get back to work at your highest productivity is setting clear breaks, as if you were in the office, pursuing activities you enjoy. Why not using that one-hour lunch break to read a book from the comfort of your living room sofa, or taking a power nap to invigorate yourself?
Working from home is a new concept for most of us, and so, it requires a proper adaptation. But with the right mindset and willingness to shape a productive routine, this new way of conducting business can enable each one of us as well as the organizations we are part of to perform better.