Nearly every aspect of our lives has been altered since the coronavirus made its debut in the United States. A couple of years has passed since then and with the discovery of variants, it doesn’t seem as though things are going to go back to normal anytime soon.
One of the biggest changes to the lives of an average American was remote work. According to this study, nearly 70% of full-time workers worldwide began working remotely due to the pandemic. Making the transition to working from home may have come easy for some, but not for everyone.
How can you increase your productivity while working from home? How do you deal with the stress of having to take care of your children during working hours? How do you keep yourself motivated just feet away from your comfortable couch and Netflix account? Read on for some tips to help you keep your productivity high while working from home.
Make a Dedicated Office Space
When you’re working from home you still need to feel as though you’re at work. There needs to be a dedicated space in your home that is for work only. If your computer and workstation are currently residing in your bedroom or living room then there are going to be far too many distractions that can disrupt your productivity.
If you have a spare room or guest room that isn’t currently being used then you should take a day to turn it into an office just for your work. Remove anything from the room that doesn’t help you do your job. It can be hard to stay actively working when that mid-morning tiredness overcomes you and there’s a big, soft bed calling to you from across the room. However, even though you won’t be working in a cold cubicle, it might be a good idea to keep a blanket in your home office in case you need some extra warmth.
Consider purchasing an office air purifier for your home office. It’ll help to increase your productivity by providing you with more oxygen, removing toxins and germs from the air, removing any odors, and it provides a steady source of calming background noise that mimics the typical office environment.
Another idea is to put a coffee maker or Keurig in your home office. Many workers like to have a coffee or tea throughout their workday. Leaving your home office to grab a coffee from your kitchen can shake you out of your work mindset once you see the breakfast dishes in your sink. Putting a coffee maker in your home office will help you stay in your workspace, physically and mentally, even when you need a caffeine boost.
Stay In A Routine
Having a typical 9-5 office job makes it easy to get into a routine. You wake up at 6am, make breakfast for yourself and your family, get your kids off to school, and then head out for the daily commute. But when you’re working from home you need to create a new routine that is manageable and helps keep you productive throughout the day.
If you have small children and a spouse at home then you need to share your routine with them and stay firm. Explain that you need to be in your office at an exact time and that you should not be disturbed until you leave your office. Put a lock on the door if you’re concerned about small children accidentally wandering in to show you their latest art project in the middle of an important Zoom call.
Part of your routine should include focusing on keeping your energy levels up. Have designated times where you take a short break to eat a healthy meal or snack and make sure you’re drinking at least 64oz of water each day. It may help you to download an app to help you keep track of how much water you’re drinking each day.
Split Childcare Duties
Remote work has been particularly difficult for parents during this pandemic. Many schools have switched to remote learning which leaves the parents struggling to take care of their children and help them with their online classes while taking on a full day’s work.
Nothing can hurt your productivity quite like having to supervise a kindergartener during their online schooling. If you’re living with a spouse who’s also working from home then you need to have a clear schedule for who helps the kids and when.
Try to split up the days so that you’re helping the children during the mornings and your partner helps them in the afternoons. This way you’ll both have a solid chunk of the day to devote solely to your work.
If your job is particularly demanding and your spouse can’t help you with childcare then it may be time to think about recruiting some in-home help. Reach out to friends or relatives that you trust to come over and help out with the children a few days a week.
There’s always the option to hire in-home sitters as well. You can pursue different websites to find a caregiver that has the experience you’re looking for and charges a price you can afford. This will give you the peace of mind you need to dedicate your day solely to getting your work done.
It can be hard to find a good work/life balance even in ideal circumstances. Finding a balance while working from home can be even harder. When you get frustrated with a project midday it can be so tempting to leave your office and check in with the rest of your family.
That’s why it’s so important to create solid boundaries for your working hours. Don’t let yourself be distracted by other people and temptations in your home. To help yourself focus on your work it may be helpful to keep in touch with coworkers throughout the day.
Maybe your company has a slack room or other chat space that you can join. If not then it may be helpful to join a group specifically for people working from home. You can share your struggles, triumphs, and exchange tips for staying productive while working from home with other workers in the same situation.