Now that the digital era is well and truly upon us, working from home is set to become a permanent fixture for thousands of employees around the world. Over the past year, we’ve already seen a dramatic increase in the number of people working from outside of the office – something which many believe will remain in place for the long-term.
The immediate need to work from home has served as a catalyst for the inevitable, and has given employers the chance to try out something they were previously reluctant to explore. But, by all accounts, it has worked exceedingly well, and we could soon see the end of business offices all together as the world moves online for good.
Several high-profile tech and finance firms, including Microsoft, Google, and PwC, have already indicated that permanent remote- working opportunities will soon become a long-term reality, and according to research conducted by Zen Internet, many more organisations across the globe are set to follow suit.
From flexibility to increased autonomy, there are a plethora of benefits when it comes to working from home – but one area which could prove more difficult to navigate is staying motivated throughout the working day. If you’ve been set up in your living room for too long now, with home schooling and the sound of the washing machine to distract you, keeping your eye on the ball can be challenging.
But, with a few simple tips, you can quickly makeover your work days to maximise productivity, regardless of your surroundings. Here’s where to start if you’re feeling the procrastination start to take over, to set yourself up for success.
Set yourself up for success
The first thing you need to do when working from home is to create a business-quality set-up. Having an office space with a real desk will set you up for success and will be crucial for sustained productivity levels.
Ideally, you’ll be able to establish your workspace in a separate room to the living or dining room; this will create separation between your professional and day-to-day lives. If you’re pressed for space, however, at least set yourself up in a room away from busy areas like the kitchen or TV.
As far as office equipment goes don’t just prop your laptop up on a table. Invest in the desk and chair combo that you would be comfortable using in the office, and don’t forget a high-quality monitor, printer, and good lighting.
Create and stick to a schedule
A daily schedule is absolutely necessary when it comes to staying on track and minimising distractions. While you will undoubtedly have tasks and deadlines to complete during the working week since you’re entirely autonomous, a daily schedule will keep you focused and motivated.
The schedule you create for yourself doesn’t have to be complex; in fact, the simpler it is, the more likely you are to stick to it. Keep things realistic and break them down into sub-tasks where necessary; this will give you a sense of progress during the working day and help you stay away from danger zones like multi-tasking.
Speaking of distractions, there’s only one way to minimise distractions as you work from home, and that’s to follow the advice of Rui Ferreira, a championship poker player from Portugal who says we should ‘simplify everything’. Set a time for waking up and stick to it for each day that you’re working from home. Prepare your breakfast and lunch in advance, and block out large periods of time for your working ‘day’ during which you commit to remaining productive.
If the majority of your work will be done remotely on your computer, you’ll need to watch out for the social media spiral. Don’t fall into the trap of wasting time on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Allow yourself to check in on your personal profiles before you start to work and on your breaks, but close those tabs and put your phone away when it comes to working time.
Take care of your health
It’s easy to slip into negative habits when working from home; being in such close reach of the kitchen makes it tempting to snack more than usual, for example. Don’t forget that the more you prioritise your wellbeing, the greater your productivity levels will be when you get to work.
Make sure you leave the house during your working day, even a short walk of 25 minutes can refresh you and give you time to clear your head. Snack on healthy, brain-boosting foods like nuts and seeds and ensure you drink at least two litres of water a day.
Successfully working from home takes effective time management and discipline. While it can be difficult to find your rhythm while you first adapt to homeworking, by implementing these tips and setting firm boundaries to ensure the perfect work-life balance, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a wildly productive ‘homepreneur’.