The Covid-19 pandemic ensured a rapid shift from strictly working from designated office spaces to working from home or any other remote location. With more people working from home than ever, finding ways to stay productive while balancing work and home life is becoming increasingly important.
Do you work from home, are about to start working from home, or have a hybrid work structure? Today is Global Work From Home Day and the perfect time to learn some tips and tricks for maximum work-from-home productivity.
For the Love of Work-From-Home Culture and Structure
I have always liked to work from home, and in this article, I’ll be referencing my fully-remote organisation and a counselling psychologist who works from home.
Omotola Akinwale had a hybrid work structure before the Nigerian 2023 elections started. She’s had a great time working from home even while looking forward to resuming her hybrid work structure. She said she redirects the time typically spent on the road to more productive personal and work-related tasks. Working from home also helps her spend less on feeding and transportation and she can now save more.
However, Omotola didn’t leave out the cons of her work-from-home experience because there has to be a balance, right? For her, a downside to working from home includes procrastination, the most famous negative word in the dictionary of creatives and the main culprit that promotes lack of productivity. Another downside for her is missing out on connecting with her colleagues and fully experiencing her organisation’s work culture.
These cons are valid, but if you work with a structured fully-remote organisation like Talku Talku, you can bet the organisation’s leadership will cover the basics of integrating a wholesome and healthy work culture for remote workers. However, if you’re still struggling with being productive as a work-from-home creative or worker, try the seven tips and tricks below for maximising the work-from-home option.
1. Design a SMART Routine
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is maintaining a regular schedule, and this is because working from home can easily lull you into a highly relaxed state. As such, it becomes hard to dedicate yourself to achieving your daily tasks.
Beyond setting a schedule, you need a system that makes it possible to stick to the plan. Your schedule contains your daily tasks, which are the goals you wish to smash that day. So why not go about it the SMART way?
It’s simple, make your daily tasks:
- S- Specific: Outline only the things you want to do each day. For example, I will start writing my short story today.
- M- Measurable: Attach a number to each task. For example, I will write FIVE PAGES of my short story today.
- A- Achievable: If your tasks are specific and measurable, they will be achievable.
- R- Realistic: Focus on tasks with available resources, rather than tasks requiring extensive external support. For example, I can type the five pages of my short story on my phone or laptop.
- T- Time-bound: Attach a timeframe to each task. For example, I will write five pages of my short story between 12pm and 3pm.
The SMART productivity method isn’t a one-fit-all approach, but it can trick your mind into establishing and maintaining a routine that promotes productivity.
2. Create a Dedicated Workspace
If you are used to working from an official workspace, this tip is for you. Designate a specific area in your home as your workspace. This will help you mentally separate work from leisure time and create a conducive environment for productivity.
Ensure your workspace is comfortable and equipped with all the necessary tools to complete your work.
3. Set Uncrossable Boundaries
According to Omotola, working in a more relaxed environment can improve mental health and help your brain feel open to work. However, it can be tempting to blur the lines between work and personal time when you work from home. As such, set boundaries with family members or roommates and let them know when you need to focus on work.
Similarly, set boundaries with work colleagues and let them know when you’re available to collaborate. For instance, Talku Talku uses effective remote work tools that allow co-workers to make profile updates, communicate what others are doing at different points of the work day, and collaborate when necessary.
4. Take Breaks at Intervals
It is easy to get lost in your work when you work from home, especially if there’s no human distraction. You need to establish a balance to avoid blowback from the blessing of having an undisturbed workday.
This is why taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential to help maintain your focus and energy levels. Get up, stretch your legs, and take a quick walk outside. This will help you recharge and return to your work feeling refreshed and energised.
5. Get Rid of Distractions
If your case is the opposite of the previous point, and you have many distractions in your remote space, you must get rid of your distractions. For example, if your distraction is social media, get productivity apps that restrict your access to social media apps or other digital media tools.
Other distractions can include household chores and prepping meals, which you should get done before you resume your daily work-related tasks. You can also eliminate distractions by setting aside specific times for personal tasks and turning off notifications on your phone or computer.
6. Stay Connected
“Work-from-home setups can reduce human connection and interaction, and because you’re always in a confined space, there’s little room for building healthy relationships.” – Omotola Akinwale
Working from home can sometimes feel isolating. To ensure a healthy connection with other people, especially your colleagues, maintain open lines of communication. For instance, at Talku Talku, we meet at the virtual work lobby by 9 am daily to exchange pleasantries with co-workers before fully resuming our daily tasks by 10 am.
Furthermore, use video conferencing tools to facilitate team meetings and virtual collaboration. Finally, participate in virtual team-bonding sessions, and attend physical work hangouts.
7. Practice Self-Care
The magic number 7 is all about you and your health. You cannot afford to skip this tip because every other tip depends on this golden rule – practice self-care. Take care of your physical and mental health by regularly exercising, eating healthy meals, and getting enough rest. Remember that a healthy body and mind is the vehicle that drives maximum productivity.
Tricks or Tips, Step up Your Work-From-Home Game
Have you been considering switching to a work-from-home setup? Consider this year’s Global Work From Home Day celebration a sign to start. Working from home can be challenging, but you can find it rewarding with the tips and tricks I’ve shared in this article.
Which tricks or tips would you try? Please share below!