If you're new to the world of remote working, make sure you’re following these productivity hacks.
As I write this, I'm sitting on the floor of my one-bedroom apartment, hunched over my laptop-low-lying-coffee-table attempt at a desk, posture resembling something akin to that of Quasimodo's. So, suffice it to say, I'm hardly a pro at working from home...
However, as of this morning, it will be my weekday reality, as more and more people are encouraged to self-isolate to try to limit the spread of coronavirus. And while a two-week break from the office sounds great in theory, I fear it won't quite be the idyll people are imagining.
I'm the kind of person (read control-freak) who gets a thrill from ending their day feeling productive; my To-Do list checked off and a brand new one penned for tomorrow. Of course, I completely understand the importance of working from home during the Delay Phase (and kudos to my employers for their immediate action), but I'm also nervous about meeting deadlines, joining conference calls and generally remaining motivated whilst away from colleagues (and my boss). That's hoping I stay well enough to do so...
If you too are making the shift towards remote working and are wary of waning productivity sans office, here are some good tips to set up a productive shop, from the four walls of your home.
Create a dedicated workspace
See paragraph 1 for what not to do. When your living room now has the dual function of both home and an office, it's really important to set up a desk-space that's comfortable and is close to everything you might need between the hours of 9 and 5. A separate room where you can close the door is ideal, but if that's not an option, section off a clutter-free corner that signals to yourself and your partner/housemate/kids, when you're sitting there, you're on the clock.
Not quite a hot take, but showering and actually putting your bra on each morning when WFH will be conducive to better productivity, despite what most of the memes on Instagram might lead you to believe right now. Don't @ us, but WFH should be a robe-free zone! At the very least, being clean and dressed will ward off the temptation to fall back into your bed come lunchtime and you'll get the same satisfaction from taking off said bra in the evenings.
Stick To Your Normal Routine
If you no longer technically have to be up by 7 am and out the door by 8, it's very easy to be lured in by the promise of a few more zzzs, but sleeping in and being behind schedule will set the tone for the day ahead.
If you're the rare breed that gets up extra early to exercise before heading to the office, keep doing that! Your typical morning rituals signal to your brain that it's time to work, not chill – so staying as true to those as possible will almost trick your mind into being productive. If you favour evening exercise, with your need for commuting removed, why not use those extra minutes to get some fresh air instead.
If my weekends are anything to go by, much of my self-restraint when working from home will have to be committed to not constantly snacking. Surrounded by full (but hopefully not overfull) cupboards, fight the urge to mill through packets of crisps just because you can (at some point, all of this will end and you'll want to be able to fit back into your workwear again). Plan your breakfast and lunches at home the same way you would plan for them at the office and rejoice at having a full selection of cutlery to eat them with.
Make your output a priority
There’s a big difference in working from home randomly one week and being expect to perform away from the office for a few weeks, or more. Despite not being present in body, working from home really isn't a time to take your foot off the gas because you don’t feel accountable in the same way. In fact, in a remote work environment, performance can only be judged by the quality, volume and timeliness of your output, so it's a great opportunity to show responsibility and shine.
Try creating a list of what you will deliver by the end of the day and work through the tasks. If it’s helpful, scribble these down the night before so you can dive straight in in the morning.
Everyone functions differently, so don't expect working from home to seem normal overnight. If remote working is an entirely new concept for you, ease into it and don't be too hard on yourself if you're not working at full capacity immediately.
Main image by @mvb on Instagram