In the midst of the coronavirus crisis more and more workplaces are being encouraged to have as many staff members as are able work from home for the time being. If you have never done so before though, it can be hard to know just how to make doing so as productive as possible. With that in mind, here are some tips for those who are new to idea of spending their workdays at home.
Distinguish your workspace
Set up a designated area to work from daily. Be honest, how much work will you actually get done while you’re still in your bed? The act of moving to your workstation helps you get into work mode and puts you in that headspace. Even if you live in a small space, it’s important to have that boundary between personal and workspace — you don’t want your work stress encroaching on your downtime.
Jazz it up
Now that you have your designated work area set up, it’s time to personalize it for maximum productivity. Consider clearing out your desk to minimize distractions, and just keep what makes you feel relaxed and focused. Perhaps you can hang up some beautiful artwork, a photo of your family, include some organizational tools and that’s it. Keep it simple and functional.
Establish your work hours
The irony of working remotely is the flexibility from the 9-5 time constraint. However, you may still need to keep regular business hours especially if you often have meetings.
Either way, be disciplined with your work hours. Get the most out of your mornings by developing a good morning routine and starting the day early. It could be 5-8 am followed by a breakfast and exercise break, and then you’re back at it from 10-4 pm. Figure out your ideal hours to work, and stick to that.
Set up a “Do Not Disturb” sign
Well, not a literal one (unless you want to) but if you live with others, let them know your schedule and that you’re off limits. When you respect your time, others will too. Make use of productivity apps to block distractions. With every interruption, comes a distraction and potentially, a decision you have to make. Decision fatigue, coined by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, is a real thing.
During a study at Florida State University, Baumeister ran a series of experiments, demonstrating that we all have a finite amount of mental energy for exerting self-control. Be stingy with your work hours. It’ll pay off when you can truly relax with your friends or family afterwards and your mind is fully with them, and not on any lingering deadlines.
Healthy food – Healthy mind
Just because your fridge and pantry are a few steps away, doesn’t mean you can skip on meal prep. Set aside time during your non-working hours to plan healthy meals and snacks just as you would if you were commuting to work. Here are some great meal prep ideas to get you started.
Try to break for lunch at a set time each day and stick to a routine as much as possible.
Ambiance is everything
According to a peer-reviewed study out of the University of Chicago, “A moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition.”
Consider using a music app and searching for a work playlist, or if you need some background noise you’d find at a coffee shop, check out Coffivity.
Stretch those limbs
Finally, set time aside for some breaks — whether it's a 30-minute break to grab a cuppa, or just quick break to stand up and stretch.
Revitalize those juices and take care of your body. Try using the Pomodoro Technique in which you work for 25 minutes, and then take a quick break.
By taking regular breaks, you can clear your head and return with a new sense of energy and focus.