Remote productivity; some helpful hints and hacks for staying focused when working from home.
With thousands of people currently in self-isolation or choosing to work remotely, we are seeing workers telecommuting on a never before seen scale.
If it’s your first-time WFH, we want to help make it work for you, so here are some pro-tips for staying focused and accountable when working remotely…
1. Get your technology in order
Technology is what makes working from home possible in the first place, so it’s absolutely crucial you have everything in order. Make sure you always have your laptop on you, don’t forget your charger, invest in a mouse and trackpad - or anything that will make your home office as productive as you can. If you don’t have a laptop - ask your employer if they can help you with the costs of transporting your desktop computer.
Then there’s software. Make sure you’re equipped with whatever your employer uses to dial in, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype etc… Then make sure you have all the applicable logins before you leave the office.
2. Make sure your internet is up to speed
With increasing cut-backs on meetings and conferencing, you’re going to want to make sure your internet can handle video calling. Do some practice calls to ensure you’re not cut out of an important conversation.
3. Remember to take a break
Being a writer, I’m lucky to have the luxury of working from home from time to time. Part of the reason I’ve enjoyed working from home in the past is that I feel it takes some of the emotional pressure off being in the office, but strangely, I found it harder to differentiate between working Kitty and not working Kitty. All the time I felt like it should be work time. But every now and again we need to step away from our screens and re-energise. Make sure you take your lunch break, stretch your legs, make a coffee or maybe even do some light exercises.
4. Know your WFH strengths and weaknesses
If you’re distractable, distinguish what you do when you procrastinate. If you clean, wake up early and tidy the house before you get started.
5. Have a dedicated workspace
A dedicated workspace is the most important element. No one works well sitting on the couch, your posture and ergonomics won’t be right, and the temptation to turn on the TV will be too high.
6. Ditch the sweatpants
Do what you’d you do when getting ready for a normal day of work, dress up, do your hair, get yourself in a professional mindset. While there is certainly no need for a three-piece suit or pencil skirt, find a happy medium, but getting out of your pyjamas is key.
7. The dishes can wait
Don’t fall into the habit of doing housework you wouldn’t normally do during work hours, this will cut into your focus and flow. If you need to do some washing, make sure it’s in your lunch break or before you start working in the morning.
8. Create a schedule
If you’re someone who loves to plan your day, continue to do that, pencilling in break times and a detailed to-do list that you can cross things off as you go.
9. Call a work colleague
Webcam and conference calling can help solve issues of isolation and resolve issues that otherwise take numerous back-and-forth emails. It’s easy to miss cues when you aren’t working together in person, so it’s important to continue to communicate with your colleagues to avoid confusion.
10. Manage Expectations
While it’s great for those who can work at home in the current landscape, if you’re in a role where there is absolutely no way that’s possible, make sure you’re open with your boss or HR team about your options.