The COVID-19 outbreak has altered the way people work, leading both small businesses and multinational corporations to adopt work from home policies. While some may find the idea of working from home appealing, switching from a structured office environment to the comfort of your own home can be challenging in unexpected ways. In order to work efficiently and effectively, it is crucial to learn how to work from home. In this article, we will provide some helpful tips for anyone trying to figure out how to adjust to remote work.
1. Dedicate a Space for Work
It is essential to establish a specific workspace in your home. This space should be dedicated solely to work, and not to any other activities like sleeping or relaxation. When attempting to work from a couch or chair, it is difficult to maintain good posture and ergonomics. Additionally, being too close to a TV can easily lead to distractions.
From the start, decide on a consistent spot to work from, this could be a room, desk, or chair. This helps your brain understand that it is time for work, instead of relaxation. With this method, your brain can associate work with your workspace, relaxing with your couch, and sleeping with your bed. This conditioned response can help you shift your energy levels accordingly and develop better work habits.
Set up a comfortable and supportive chair, a spacious desk, good Wi-Fi connectivity, and consistent workplace tools. Identify a specific spot in your household where you can fully concentrate, either indoors or outdoors. Clear the area of any distractions, and minimize outside noises. This will help you achieve a productive and conducive work environment.
2. Keep Regular Work Hours
Creating a consistent work schedule is an important step when learning how to work from home. It can be tempting to start work whenever you want, take breaks whenever you please, and call it a day whenever you feel like it. However, doing so may not allow you to make the most of your day.
Building structure around your workday will keep you accountable to yourself and your superiors. It makes it easier for people to reach you and understand when you will be available. It also makes you more likely to get all your work done promptly.
Consider the following factors when setting an at-home work schedule:
– When your boss needs you to be available
– Communication with your colleagues and customers
– Best times of day for peak productivity
Remember that you don’t necessarily need to work 9-5 or follow another traditional work schedule. Identify when your boss requires you to be present and choose times that you’re most productive. Communicate your hours of availability to your colleagues or customers, and you can begin to structure your day accordingly.
3. Create a Schedule
Create a list of tasks you would like to accomplish each day, and then balance your time to achieve each objective. If you are someone who can stick to your to-do list, create one and check off each task you complete. Don’t forget to include regular break times.
According to Kathi Burns of Wikihow, “A schedule is an effective means of staying focused, productive, and organized. You can experiment with a planner, notebook, or an app to structure your time.”
Track how much time you spend on routine activities in a spreadsheet or notebook. This act can help you to be more productive by allowing you to identify activities that require more time or resources. For instance, you may be spending 5 hours on social media each day when you could have spent those hours reading and completing tasks.
In addition, schedule your day based on your energy levels. Use high-energy times for essential tasks, and reserve low-energy times for less important tasks. For example, if you feel most alert in the morning, use that time to brainstorm and attend to more critical tasks.
4. Separate Work Time and Personal Time
It is essential to give yourself time for home life when you need it. It’s important not to work too many hours, at the risk of burning yourself out. Stick to your scheduled work hours and complete your tasks within that time frame as much as possible.
It’s also important to have a defined end point for your workday. When working from home, it can be easy to let work blend into your home life if you don’t have a deliberate stopping point. Communicate with your colleagues and customers about your working hours and respond accordingly. You’re not expected to be “on call” 24/7, so create a schedule that respects your personal time.
5. Communicate Effectively
When working remotely, communication with your colleagues and customers becomes even more important. Ensure to use the correct communication channels to convey important information and updates.
It can be helpful to arrange for regular check-ins or virtual meetings with your colleagues through video conferencing or chat groups. It’s important to voice potential problems or issues to those you communicate with, so everyone can adjust accordingly.
Learning how to work from home can take time and effort, but with practice, you can become an expert. Creating an effective workspace is the first step to establishing a conducive work environment while also reducing distractions. It’s essential to establish regular work hours, create a schedule, and separate work and personal time. Lastly, communicating effectively with colleagues will keep you connected and prevent any isolation. With these tips, you can achieve a consistent and productive work-life balance.