How I Stay Productive Whilst Working Remotely
As I write this, millions of people around the world are adjusting to full-time remote work and learning. Given we are hardwired to need and enjoy human connection and socialisation, working remotely full-time can be a challenging prospect.
Firstly, working remotely definitely has its perks! Between the flexibility to be able to work from anywhere (I am currently in my dining room at home), the reduction in time and money spent commuting, and the ability to set your own hours, working from home can be very rewarding. However, there is one major drawback that many people, including myself, have found to be a challenge: staying productive and focused.
As much as the extra flexibility is a positive, it also means it is easier to lose the daily structure that commuting enforces. It is easy to get distracted or work odd hours that leave you feeling stressed and worn out. While some studies have shown that working from home does contribute to more productive employees, over a period of time that productivity may start to dwindle. Fortunately, I found a few techniques to help keep you focused on the job at hand.
1. Set up your space
Yes, working from home means you can work from your bedroom, living room couch, the kitchen counter etc. However, having inconsistent places to work can lead to inconsistent work patterns, leaving you stressed and dreading work. Additionally, working from a couch or bed can leave your body feeling achy and your mind feeling drained.
A desk and comfortable chair will help you be more efficient. If you do not have this available to you then setup an area at your dining table to present the feel of a desk working area. I have personally found that working between my dining table (sat down) and my kitchen counter (simulating a standing desk scenario) worked wonders for my work (and my neck and back). I also noticed that keeping my workspace limited to these areas helped me to go from work mode to home mode much easier, and prevented the lines of these two mindsets from blurring together.
2. Make a schedule and stick to it
As important as it is to have your workspace, it is equally important to have set working hours. Try to start and end your workday on as much of a schedule as possible. This includes waking up and getting ready as you would if you were going to step into an office. Your morning prep routine plays a large role in determining your mindset for the rest of the day. As much as it is tempting, do not make a habit of joining conference calls in bed in your pyjamas. You will find you are more productive when you dress for the day and brush your teeth.
I tend to use the Microsoft mobile apps to check for project updates in Microsoft Teams, post comments to Yammer as well as catch up on internal news, and check my emails using Outlook mobile all whilst making my morning coffee!