In the current global crises, 88% of organisations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc.
However, for many office folk working from home is unchartered terrain. How exactly do you balance work, home life and kids all in one space? Like many, you were probably caught off guard and not fully prepared to turn your living room, dining room or even bedroom into a full-time home office.
Working remotely has its challenges – it can encroach on your personal life, result in longer working hours, and let’s face it if you have a family and kids it can start to feel a bit overcrowded. You may also miss the social interaction you had with your colleagues and feel lonely.
But here is the good news – working from home can mean fewer distractions, greater flexibility and more productivity. If you can achieve a good home-office set up and stick to a careful routine you can improve your overall productivity.
So in the spirit of embracing the ‘new normal’ and mastering the #WFH, here are 5 tips that will make remote work less stressful and more productive.
Create the right environment and pimp your space
- Designate a workspace in your home. Find a quiet place that has a lot of natural light. Let others in your home know that when you are in your workspace you are working and need time to focus.
- Have the right equipment that will help you to be comfortable and productive. A good desk and a proper office chair (even if it’s second hand) will make all the difference. Make your space as comfortable as possible, have scented candles, music or pimp it up with house plants, anything that makes you feel calm and less anxious.
- Use a standing desk to get the blood flowing and alleviate the strain of sitting all day.
Develop a strict routine
- Working from home is convenient, but don’t be tempted to slide out of your normal routine. Just as your kids need structure, so do you. Set up a good work schedule for yourself. Even though it’s tempting to stay in your comfy trousers all day, don’t. Wake up at the same time every day, get dressed and try to get as much work done early in the day when you are fresh.
- Establish a consistent routine, this will make you more productive and will help your kids know when you are available and when you are working.
- When we can’t see each other hard at work, it’s easy to assume the worst, “Why has no one answered my email?” “Why are there no replies to my chat message?” Clear communication is extremely important when working remotely and helps build trust.
- Reach out to co-workers and managers and communicate openly with them. Schedule video calls if you feel emailing isn’t enough. Also, keep in touch with co-workers, social communication can help you feel connected and supported. Online socialising combats feelings of isolation and enhances team unity.
Exercise and do stretches at your desk
- Exercise is incredibly important for mental and physical wellbeing. Working from home means you can easily lose track of time, become absorbed in your work and not get up from your desk for hours.
- Make sure you exercise and go outside for some fresh air regularly. Even a quick walk around the block can help you feel refreshed and uplifted.
- Make sure you stand up every two hours to stretch at your desk. Lift your arms up and touch your toes to get the blood circulating.
Take care of yourself
- Many people are experiencing burnout while working remotely because they are working longer hours, taking care of their kids all day, and also feel like they have to work extra hard to prove that they can work well from home. To add to this, people measure productivity by how many tasks they can tick off the list when things are left undone at the end of the day, there is a temptation to carry on working to complete tasks. According to experts, this is not a healthy approach, slowing down and taking time for yourself is the way to access greater productivity.
- Don’t eat at your desk, make sure you have a proper lunch break where you get up and exit the room. This will help you recharge and focus.
- Make a cut-off time at the end of the day when you metaphorically ‘go home’, this will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance even though your office is in your home.
- Implementing these things will make you healthier, happier and more productive, and will help you avoid burning out over time.
By Liesl Silverman