As COVID-19 cases wind down here in the United States and more people are becoming vaccinated, you might wonder why we’re talking about staying productive while working from home.
A recent survey of 1000 U.S. adults showed that nearly 40 percent are considering quitting their jobs if forced to come back to the office. The ability to work from home has granted lots of people the freedom, time, and money they hadn’t thought possible – and many aren’t so keen to give it up.
Even Mark Zuckerberg says he’ll be working more from home next year. He also gave Facebook employees the choice to do so as well.
So, what does this mean? Well, as more employers give employees the option of working remotely, the home is now the central hub of productivity. (And we’ve got a few tips for how you can crack it.)
Tips to Stay Productive While Working from Home
Tip #1 – Make a Routine
The most important thing you can do to stay productive while working from home is to get on a schedule. It may be tempting to hop out of bed and start work before your coffee has even finished brewing but try to establish a routine that prepares you for the day.
There’s no drive to work anymore, no dress code, and no one is going to look at you funny if you haven’t showered in a few days. (Well, maybe the dog will.) It’s important that you create time and space for yourself to prepare for the day.
That means prepping for work with enough time to get dressed, get caffeinated, and get those synapses firing. Something I hadn’t thought I would miss was the drive to campus. It gave me time to mentally prepare for class. This is something I often forget to incorporate into my own routine when Zoom-ing from home.
Tip #2 – Protect Your Space
The best thing you can do for your focus (and productivity) is to establish your spaces. This is easiest of course if you have an office, but it’s not absolutely necessary. You can protect your space even if it’s the kitchen table or a lounge in the corner of the living room.
Your space is anywhere you can be productive and won’t be distracted by leisure.
Do you know how they say don’t put a television in the bedroom? It’s like that. Protecting your space means protecting how you view your space. Is this the part of your house where you spend time relaxing, decompressing? Don’t try to be productive there.
Tip #3 – Prevent the Burnout
This comes back to establishing and protecting your space. If you’ve worked from home for an extended period of time, you know that home and work can start to…mesh.
You find yourself taking Zoom calls on the way to pick up the kids, working during meals, or answering emails in the middle of the night.
Burnout can be common if you don’t protect your time as well. That means:
- take breaks
- get away for meals
- take sick days
- set boundaries
While it may seem less strenuous to work from the comfort of your home, an eight-hour workday is still an eight-hour workday. Build breaks into your day; get up and do some stretches. Don’t skip out on your meal breaks either or try to work when you’re sick.
Another way you can protect yourself from burnout is to set boundaries. If you find yourself checking work emails late at night or getting online outside work hours, you might need to start setting boundaries. (These could be for yourself or your coworkers.)
If you don’t protect your time, you could find yourself working more hours, leading to faster burnout.
Appreciate the Perks
It’s easy to get overwhelmed or frustrated working in a completely digital space. (Zoom fatigue is real!) Even if you take our tips and advice, the most important thing to keep in mind is why you’re doing this.
Appreciate the benefits of working from home – whether that means wearing comfier clothes, having your cat as a deskmate, or spending more time with friends and family.