First off, I want to make sure you all stay safe as we face the COVID-19 epidemic. Listen to your local heath experts and stay aware of how you can do your part to keep yourself and others healthy. With the sudden and massive closures of sporting events, schools, and work we thought it would be prudent to share some advice for those of you facing weeks or more of work from home. Colleen has been working from home for more than 25 years and I have been doing the same for over 5, so we have some experience in this area. While working from home has its benefits it can also lead to some common pitfalls. We want to share three ways you can make sure you stay productive while working from home.
1. Maintain A Schedule
Avoid the urge to work without pants. Yes, it seems fun and it is, once every now and again but don’t do it every day. The most important way you can stay focused when you are working from home is to maintain a consistent schedule for yourself. Make sure you wake up in the morning with enough time for your daily routine. Take a shower, keep your hygiene routine, and put on your pants. We are creatures of habit and the more we can maintain our habits the more productive we can be.
This also means making sure you set aside work hours. Different jobs have different requirements but make sure you set aside work time. If you have a bit more leeway you might be able to create your own work hours while others of you might need to log specific hours. Set aside the time when you focus only on work. Don’t do the dishes, keep your laundry in the washing machine, turn off your TVs, etc. Keep yourself in a routine and you’ll be able to stay focused during your work time.
2. Stay Social When You Work From Home
Working from home can be great if you’re an introvert, but you still need to make time to socialize with other people. Humans are social; we work better together than alone. If your company has video conferencing you’ll probably be on meetings where you will see colleagues. Some of you might be on a chat app like Slack which is another good way to stay in touch with other like-minded people.
Facebook and other social media sites are also great places to find like-minded individuals. Find a group on Facebook for IT professionals. Follow #writers on Instagram. Connect with financial professionals on LinkedIn. If you’re in a sales position this is a great time to build your database of prospects!
3. Use Your Time Wisely
Being away from the office sometimes is more productive than being in the office. Seeing your work station while you are at home can be a bit distracting. I sometimes feel because I have the office right here I can and should be working. Wrong! Like I said above, work on a schedule! However, we are going to see some of our time free up. We no longer have commutes, large events are being cancelled, and some schools are even shutting down. Make sure to use your increased free time productively. It will be nice to have some time to relax and rejuvenate but cabin fever might soon set in. I will be honest, some days I just don’t feel like being productive at 5 or 6 pm but after a day or two, it’s nice to stay busy and not sit in front of the TV and watch Netflix for 4 hours. Find some way to stay productive: work on a new hobby, read a few more books, or start writing your book. Keep yourself sane and stay productive.
How do you stay productive when you work from home? What tips do you have for others?