2020 has been the year of remote working. Back in January, the vast majority of us only worked from home on rare occasions when absolutely necessary. For the past few months, many of us have found ourselves completing all of our work on a remote basis in a bid to slow and minimise the spread of coronavirus. While many of us initially thought that these preventative and protective measures would be short term, many of us have been working from home for months now – and some employers are even considering sticking with a remote workforce in a bid to reduce operational costs. Seeing as working from home is looking to be a regular part of many of our professional futures, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with ways to be as productive as possible in this new work environment. Here are a few suggestions that will help you along the way!
Create a Work / Home Life Divide
First and foremost, you’re going to have to actively create a divide between your work life and your home life. When you work in an office, this is simple. When you’re in the office, you’re professional and productive. When you’re at home, you can let your hair down and relax. But when your workplace and home are the same physical space, lines can become blurred. Many new remote workers find that their attention slips and they become distracted from their work. Perhaps they’ll have the TV on in the background and start watching it. Perhaps they’ll start chatting with a family member or partner. Maybe they’ll start petting a pet. These distractions really need to be avoided while working if you want to hit your deadlines and targets. The easiest way to create this divide? A physical divide! Dedicate a specific room in your home to work. If you don’t have a spare room, you could always consider having your home renovated to create a space. An architect will be able to design the perfect extension that will provide you with a home office!
Of course, loved ones can still enter your home office. They may be tempted to come in for a chat. But you do need to establish boundaries. Have a frank conversation with the people you live with to ensure they know that you need to be left to work between certain hours. You can let them know when your break is and have a chat over your lunch on your lunch break or over a cup of coffee on your coffee break. But you should establish that people should leave you to work while you’re in your dedicated workspace.
Now we’ve dealt with communications with your loved ones, let’s turn to communications with your workplace. It’s important to remember that even though your colleagues and managers may not be in sight, they are still there. Keep open routes of communication to ensure you can ask any questions you need and let people know what you’re doing.
Working from home is still a pretty novel and unfamiliar experience for many of us. Hopefully, some of the advice listed above should help you to maintain productivity in this newly professional environment!