How to Stay Productive While Working Remotely
After a few weeks working from home, it’s fair to say that most of us are feeling kind of used to the “new normal”. The pressure that we originally had to keep up the office-style-routine will likely have relaxed a bit, and you may find yourself waking up a little later, giving up on grooming and forgoing pants for days at a time.
While all of that is the beautiful luxury of working from home, the long-term effects of weekend mode during weekdays can see your productivity plummet — just as you thought you were getting the hang of your new routine.
Thankfully, we are not the first to face this dilemma, and there are many lessons to learn from those who have trialled this lifestyle before us. As much as you may not like to hear it, this is what we know:
Get Dressed Before Work
Let’s rip this bandaid off first. While all the memes are glorifying the joys of pantless Zoom meetings, the reality is that it’s easier to get into work-mode when you’re in work attire. Especially if you’re set up in a place where you would usually lounge.
Getting dressed every day, not necessarily in a suit, but at least in some clothes you would be comfortable with your colleagues witnessing, is going to help keep you engaged in your work, thus more productive.
Stick to a Routine
Much like getting appropriately dressed, following a consistent routine during your workweek is essential for getting you stepping into work mode. If you start waking up late or at different times, you’re bound to throw out your routine, making the transition into work mode pretty difficult.
Consider what you need in the morning — walk, coffee, shower, getting dressed — and make sure you wake up every day with enough time to do all of these things before sitting down in the zone to work.
Structure Your Day
Juggling work, life, relationships and parenting in the same space is tough. If you don’t create structure, you’re sure to end up feeling frustrated and out of control. One of the greatest tips to make sure you can do it all is to add structure to your day.
Whether you opt to introduce a Kanban Board — which we strongly recommend –, or simply block out times in your diary for work, exercise, family time and downtime, some structure will go a long way in keeping you sane and productive.
Engage Your Colleagues
Try to keep up regular Zoom or video meetings with your colleagues to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in their world, both at home and at work. This keeps relationships strong and somewhat simulates the “water cooler” talk that can help with bonding and turning up some of the greatest ideas.
Whether you’re a team leader or a team member, don’t be afraid to suggest catch-ups, you could do team meetings or one-on-ones, just try to keep social.
If you have housemates — let’s include all of them, whether small size, big size or covered in fur — you need to set boundaries around work time and at-home time. This should first start with a conversation (to those that can understand) on what’s appropriate, and then you could turn it up a notch with signals.
For example, if you have an office, a closed-door means do not interrupt. If you don’t have an office, we suggest noise-cancelling headphones and a clear understanding that when the headphones are on, you are not available.
Figuring out how to get, and stay, productive while working from home is a lot of trial and error but if you can make habits, set boundaries, and stick to them around 95 per cent of the time, you’re doing a great job.