How to Create a Productive Work From Home Routine
With recent advice from the UK government urging employees to work from home, thousands of people are suddenly finding themselves dialling in from the comfort of their house or flat. For some, this is business as usual. But for many, this is likely to be a bit of an adjustment.
So how do you keep up productivity levels in a new working environment? It’s all about setting the right atmosphere. Your workspace determines a lot about how productive you are—too much clutter can distract and a totally bare and boring space can drive you crazy. That’s why the key to productivity is tailoring your routine to benefit your personal working style.
Not sure where to start? Here are our top tips for establishing a productive work from home routine.
1. Get up and get dressed
Sounds simple, no? You’d be surprised how many people are tempted to set their alarm for 8:50 AM and roll out of bed straight to their laptop. But if you stick to your normal routine, you’ll be more motivated to start smashing through your daily to-do list. Our advice? Get up early, shower and have a good breakfast. Maybe even go for a run (assuming you’re not interacting with too many people).
Not only will it improve your state of mind, but it will keep you from falling into an I’m-never-leaving-my-house-again slump.
2. Create a space that works for you
Many people who already work from home will tell you that it’s important to establish boundaries between your work life and your home life. So find the best nook to work from and dedicate that space just to work activities between the hours of 9 and 5. This doesn’t necessarily have to be your home office—maybe you work best at the kitchen table or sitting out in your garden with a steaming cup of coffee. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s a work-only zone.
Then when the day is over, power down your computer and tidy away any papers or other items that might tempt you to keep working.
3. Treat your home workspace as you would an office
Don’t forget, you still have a job to do even if you’re doing that job sitting on your couch. You may be tempted to take long leisurely breaks or work from your pyjamas, but that runs the risk of putting you in a less-than-professional mindset.
Stick to the routines you would have normally kept in the office. Take scheduled lunch breaks at the same time each day and try to avoid doing big chores like laundry or grocery shopping during work hours. That way, your personal life doesn’t bleed too much into your professional one.
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4. Invest in some greenery
When you’re suddenly faced with the need to spend long hours indoors, it helps to consider ways to bring the outside in. Plants are a great way to do this. If you don’t quite have a green thumb, then consider investing in some cacti or succulents—they’re hard to kill. Not only will they brighten your workspace, but they’ll actually keep the air clean!
In fact, there are several proven scientific benefits plants have on productivity (they reduce noise levels, improve your mood and are good for your health).
5. Make sure you’ve got the right set up
For many, this comes down to checking with your IT team to make sure you’ve got all the apps and tools you need to stay connected. But internet connection is important too. With so many people working from home at once, there are likely to be disruptions in connectivity. But don’t fret, if it’s happening to you it’s probably happening to lots of people. If your WiFi drops out, consider tethering to your mobile data until it comes back. Of course, if you don’t want to use your personal data, just be patient—it’s not likely to be down for long.
And don’t neglect the power of a good chat. Wherever possible, book video conferences or calls with your colleagues. Just hearing someone’s voice will keep you from feeling overly isolated. It will also avoid confusion or messages getting lost in translation—we all know how easy it can be to misinterpret an email!
6. Take regular breaks
Now, I know we said earlier not to take leisurely breaks, but we didn’t mean to take no breaks at all! When you’re working in isolation, it’s easy to get sucked in by the workload. Before you know it, several hours have passed and you’ve been sitting in the same spot staring at the same screen. When you’re in the office, you’re more likely to get up to make a cup of coffee or chat with a colleague. Don’t forget how important it is to stretch your legs every once in a while. This will also help you avoid hurting your posture or straining your eyes.
Many home workers find the Pomodoro Technique to be quite useful, which is a time management method that divides the working day into 25-minute chunks broken apart by a 5-minute break. But it really comes down to your personal working preference.
Ultimately, it’s about discovering what works for you
Of course, there’s no steadfast recipe for working from home success. It’s all about feeling out what works from you. Just remember, if you don’t have to self-isolate, don’t forget to get a bit of fresh air every once in a while.
Got any other questions or tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comment section below.