A few months ago, no one would have thought many of us would now be working from home with no clear end in sight, joining zoom meetings, webinars from our home offices and kitchen tables or just searching for a platform that is best suited for your businesses to keep it operational. The shift to remote work has crystallized into a long-term reality with many companies and workers accepting the new normal, and a few still grappling with the effect of same.
Research shows that the longer workers work remotely, the more likely this habit will stick. For companies, this has its advantages which include lowering of costs of business travel and office space. For employees, the benefits include more control over their time, reduction of costs on transportation, and childcare, but these all come with their peculiar challenges.
In as much as working from home looks glamorous, it is not a walk in the park and requires an unparalleled level of self-discipline amongst other things. Working from home requires a different level of time management and communications as well as additional resources. There are also several layers of distraction that come into play, from kids, roommates, the hurried cooking and or burning food, or that sink of dirty dishes. Thus, if you are struggling to get things done, you are not alone.
Here are some of the most successful ways you can reframe your workday to stay productive and keep your balance.
1. Schedule Breaks
Understand your company’s policy on break times and take them even when you work out of your living room. If you are self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to unwind away from the computer screen. An hour for lunch and 15 minutes just to relax a bit would do the trick.
2. Keep a Dedicated workspace
Confine your workspace to a specific area in your home so your job does not intrude into the lives of your housemates or household members. Avoiding clutter would also help you concentrate on the task at hand per time. Make sure your space is a place that is quiet and calm. You do not have to use a separate room; it can be a section or corner with minimum traffic flow.
3. Discourage Personal Intrusions
Interruptions and drop-ins can cause you to lose your focus, procrastinate or get behind on a deadline. It is important to prevent intrusions into your workspace by informing others that although the location of your job has changed, it is no different from any other profession requiring privacy and concentration. Notify others that during at-home work hours you are unavailable and cannot be interrupted. And let them know the after-hours when you are available to connect.
4. Avoid Cabin Fever
Now that everyone is spending a disproportionate amount of time at home, it is best to try and go outside as much as possible. Take short walks around the block or engage in an outdoor activity such as gardening and so on to help freshen your mind and stretch your body. Research has shown that spending time in nature lowers stress, helps you relax and clears your mind. After work hours, enjoy other areas of your home: watch a good movie, read a book, bake, or cook a fun meal. The new normal is not to limit social activities (on the internet) but to take advantage of them. Use Facetime, Facebook or Skype with friends and family members so you feel connected to the people in your life that you care about.
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