Have you recently started working from home? It’s not for everyone, but countless Torontonians have had to get used to it in the past few weeks. From the potential distractions to the feeling of being disconnected from your colleagues, there are a few potential downsides to conducting business from the place where you live. Fortunately, there are also some major benefits. If you do it right, working from home can lead to serious productivity—and a more relaxing day-to-day.
Here are a few tips for working efficiently from home during the ongoing pandemic…
Optimize your work space
Work should never be a place you dread going to, and that includes your home office. While it’s important to have a designated workspace, you may wind up working on the couch (or, worse yet, in bed) if it’s not inviting. At the same time, don’t overdo it—or you may wind up getting sidetracked or feeling sleepy.
Start by cleaning and disinfecting your space thoroughly. Next, dress it up with a few houseplants and family photos, or some of your favourite mementos. Be sure that your chair, desk, and computer are all adjusted to the right height to avoid discomfort or strain!
You need to protect your work time—especially in an environment where there’s bound to be distractions. If your office is a room, close the door. Make it clear that you need uninterrupted quiet time when you’re working. Noise-cancelling headphones can help you block out peripheral sounds.
Of course, the process of creating a distraction-free zone may not go perfectly. If you have little ones, there are bound to be disruptions. To maximize your productivity, just try to control the space around you as much as you can.
Create a schedule
You may not have needed a daily schedule when you were at the office. When colleagues work side-by-side, timelines, goals, and objectives tend to be clear. Staying on track can be a bit trickier when everyone is working from different places, which is why it’s wise to create written reminders of what needs to be accomplished each day.
If you find that you’re getting sidetracked, or that completing your work is taking longer than usual, try planning hour-by-hour. As you track how long tasks are taking you, you’re bound to become more efficient—and start crossing more items off your to-do list.
Your brain is like a machine, which means you can’t have it running all the time. To stay productive, you need to give it a rest. That means squeezing in breaks throughout the day so that you can come back to your tasks feeling refreshed.
Try to stop working at least once every hour. Better yet, get moving. Stand up and stretch—a couple of minutes will suffice. During lunch, consider taking a quick walk around the block (while maintaining an appropriate distance from other pedestrians).
Have the right tools
When your whole team was under one roof, working together was probably pretty seamless. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case when you transition to a work-from-home situation. To work as a group while you’re remote, you’ll need the right digital technology.
Slack is an ideal platform for staying in touch with colleagues about all the projects you have on the go. The videoconferencing capabilities of Zoom make it perfect for virtual meetings, while Google Docs allows teammates to collaborate with one another while social distancing. Ideally, your team should discuss any obstacles you’ve faced while working remotely—and whether there’s a technology that can help you address them.
Working from home may not be the perfect situation for you, but there are ways to enhance your productivity while you’re doing. Ensure you have a pleasant workspace, harness helpful technologies, and take plenty of breaks to prevent yourself from burning out!
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