Working from home is a boon for many modern employees. You get to save time and money by skipping the commute, and working from home allows you to spend more time with people you love.
However, working remotely comes with great responsibility. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re away from the office environment as a quick coffee break can quickly turn into a long conversation with family and visiting friends. Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can follow to improve your productivity and stay on track during the work day.
Organize Your Space
Offices are set up to enhance employee productivity and increase focus. Cubicles and rows of desks are intended to support the right kind of thinking and help everyone stay on track. However, when you work from home, your workspace is your own responsibility.
Creating a home office to support your work life is fun and enhances productivity. You can even consider home office designs that support your work style. For example, if you work in a creative field, consider investing in a sit-stand desk that helps you focus on your work for longer periods. If you are a collaborative worker, invest more in high-quality microphones and frame the space where you conduct video calls.
Once you have the basics covered, consider purchasing art and accessories that make your home office a nice space to work. If you like spending time in your home office, you are far less likely to leave early. Invest in things like speakers to play quiet, productivity-enhancing music. You can also buy a few cheap frames from a local thrift store and fill them with prints that you’ve always wanted to display in your home.
Organize Your Thoughts
Organizing your home office is an important step toward improved productivity — but it’s only half the battle. You also have to organize your mind as a remote worker, as there are no managers to do it for you.
There are plenty of ways to organize your thoughts but the humble mind map is a great place to start. You can create a mind map by starting with the central points of your project or task. This might be the overall aim of your current project at work or the goals you set for yourself. Branch out by adding information like the techniques you’ll use, the stakeholders involved, and the challenges you may face. Be sure to color code the mind map to make it easier to read, and feel free to revise it later if your lines become crossed.
You can also organize your thoughts by practicing tasks that promote self-awareness. These tasks may include:
- Journaling before your work day begins;
- Following a guided meditation to clear your mind;
- Reading a book that inspires you and taking notes;
- Giving yourself positive affirmations throughout the day.
These practices help you stay on track during a busy work day and help you identify challenges you may face. They may also help you discover roadblocks to your productivity like burnout and presenteeism.
Take Regular Breaks
Most office workers cherish their breaks and wouldn’t dream of giving up their 30 minutes of lunch. However, when you’re working remotely, it’s easy to spend the whole day stuck in front of the desk. This kind of behavior damages your productivity, as you are engaging in a kind of “presenteeism” that leads to burnout and poor focus.
Presenteeism is a phenomenon that can cripple remote working productivity. Presenteeism occurs when employees are at work even when they shouldn’t be. This may occur if you work while sick or simply can’t log off even though your shift finished 30 minutes ago. Presenteeism also wipes out your break time, as you only take short, minutes-long breaks throughout the day.
Presenteeism reduces productivity and harms your mental health. It may look like you’re working long, hard hours. But, in reality, your productivity is probably at an all-time low if you fall foul of presenteeism.
You can avoid burnout and improve your focus by taking regular breaks. This will improve your mental and physical well-being and help you stay on track. You might think that taking breaks will harm your productivity, but taking tiny breaks can help calm your mind and make work more enjoyable. When you enjoy work, you’re far more likely to feel motivated, identify slip-ups, and possibly even prevent health conditions that derail your workday.
Motivation is a priority amongst managers and business leaders. They’re constantly thinking of new ways to keep you focused on the task and happy at work. However, when you’re working from home, it’s easy to feel isolated and ignore the need for rewards that motivate you.
You can reward yourself to boost self-motivation as a remote worker by writing down a few activities or treats that you enjoy. Once you’ve completed a difficult task at work, pick something off your list and reward yourself with it.
For example, if you’re working on writing or editing a difficult chapter of a book, line up a reward that motivates you to crack on. When you get to the end of the chapter, go out for a luxurious dinner, buy a new pair of shoes, or take a long walk in the sun. This will build a positive association between hard work and rewards which may rewire your brain and help you stay on track.
Working from home is a great way to improve your work-life balance and overall well-being. You can ensure that your productivity stays on track by getting a home office set up that suits your work style and keeps you organized. Be sure to reward yourself when you finish major projects and take plenty of tiny breaks to keep you focused throughout the day.