According to RingCentral, between 2008 and 2018 remote working in the UK increased by 25% – and this statistic was reflected globally. Yet, as the current Covid-19 pandemic forces many employees to work from home, it’s more relevant than ever! So, I’ve compiled my tips and tricks for remote working jobs into a complete guide to productively working from home!
If you’re looking for remote working jobs, check out my tips for updating your linkedin profile.
Stick to your Routine (or make one)
The main factor in maintaining your productivity at home is keeping to the same schedule. Dr Annette Clancy, of University College Dublin, outlines going to work “is as much psychological as it is physical”, so if you normally start work at 9:00 then you should continue to. This also applies to your sleep schedule. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, making sure to get those eight hours.
A routine does it start and stop with when you work. Incorporating healthy habits, such as making your bed and reading, into your morning and night routines trains your brain. Research, conducted by Sarah Pink and Kerstin Leder Mackley, notes particular routines or atmospheres are simply a part of the world we live in; an example being low light and quiet at nighttime.
When working from home, some habits you may wish to develop include:
- Setting an alarm and not pressing snooze
- Getting dressed in the morning
- Opening curtains and windows
- Ditching the screens at night
- Reading and/or meditating before bed.
Structure your Work
Who is really ready to jump straight into work in the morning? Certainly not me! Ease yourself into the working day by reading your emails, clearing your inbox, and outlining your daily goals. If you’re looking to achieve big, you might want to consider micro-productivity.
Micro-productivity is a term often used to describe the process of breaking up large tasks into smaller ones. Melissa Gratias, PhD, a workplace productivity speaker, explains “breaking tasks down helps us to see large tasks as more approachable and doable, and reduces our propensity to procrastinate or defer tasks because we simply don’t know where to begin”. Once you have established this to-list list, prioritise by completing the largest task first when working.
A bonus tip: save phone calls for the afternoon when working from home, so you don’t sound so groggy in the morning!
Take Regular Breaks
Prevent burn-out by treating yourself to breaks! Emma Brudner, Director of people operations at Lola.com, recommends measuring time with household tasks when working from home — such as doing the laundry. This way you are taking a break from work and screens, without breaking your productivity streak!
The method I use for timing my break is the Pomodoro technique. Created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this technique was a short break of five minutes for every 25 minutes of work. This is adjustable for each person but, ultimately, follows research which suggests you should take more breaks for a shorter period of time.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
Following a similar pattern, ensure you are training your brain to recognise a place of work. You want to acknowledge that this space means it’s time to be productive. This could be your home office or, as many of us are that are blessed, the dining room table or a desk. If you are lucky enough to be reading this post when the world isn’t in lockdown, broaden your horizons and consider the local library, coffee shop or café!
Keep your workspace outside of the bedroom, ensure that that remains associated with sleep.
Any other lovers of background noise will know music has the same effect. Download or create a playlist of lyric-less tunes to listen to as you work from home! A tip suggested by researchers is to listen to video-game soundtracks, as they are precisely designed to retain players’ focus.
Distractions are very much situation-dependent, but some general advice is to tell family and friends you are working, so they know not to disturb you. Similarly, turn off notifications for social media and games. You may also choose to:
- Lock the door
- Clean your space
- Turn your phone off
- Wear noise-cancelling earphones
- Disconnect the Wi-Fi
Interact with Other Humans
During your breaks are around work time, are you sure you aren’t secluding yourself from the world and give a friend a call (or visit). You could simply go and talk to your family.
Although you might be working from home alone, remind your subconscious you’re not lonely!
Get some Fresh Air
If this isn’t self-explanatory, I don’t know a better way to explain it to you: get outside, rather than sticking in a stuffy house whilst working from home!
Remember to Exercise
Before the coronavirus pandemic, exercising it would’ve been a lot easier to implement. You could get yourself to the gym, go to a dance studio or the public swimming pool, unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy anymore. Just because we might not be in a position to leave the house, doesn’t mean we can’t exercise!
- Follow online guides
- Bodyweight exercises don’t require any equipment
- YouTube has a range of exercise and yoga videos
- Download a fitness app
- Play fitness games, like those for Wii Fit and Xbox Kinect
If you have a garden, combine your exercise for the previous step and hit two birds with one stone.