Because of global concerns around the coronavirus as well as other reasons, remote work is becoming the norm for more employees, either temporarily or for as long as both sides of the employment equation are comfortable with it.
There are many benefits to working from home or in locations outside a traditional office, such as lower costs for commuting and eating leftovers over your kitchen sink for lunch. But such a working situation also can be distracting, especially in the age of streaming services like Netflix or warmer weather.
How can companies and workers find ways to balance the need to enjoy working from home while still getting everything done on time? That is where business leadership coach Angela Civitella has some ideas.
Civitella, founder of Intinde, offers these tips for anyone working from home:
Start early: If you had an office job, you wouldn’t have time to laze around in bed or watch TV until 10 a.m. – so why do that now? How you kickstart your morning will set the tone for the rest of your day. Make it a habit to wake up early. Your body adjusts to whatever internal clock you give it. Get into a routine that motivates you, be it a shower, getting dressed in work clothes and some coffee or even a quick workout.
Maintain the same office rituals: Being productive is a mindset. Imagine you are working in an office and establish the same rituals and processes.
• Set your daily and weekly schedule – and stick to it
• List your tasks and put them into your schedule – doing the important ones first
• Set your work hours with a start time and an end time
• Don’t forget to take breaks and eat
Create a proper workspace: Designate a space in your home for work and only work. Find a space where you will not be interrupted or disrupted by anyone or anything. Make it an inspiring space that helps you focus. You need to have a dedicated workspace to put your mind into complete working mode. It should also be a space you can leave at the end of the day and transition to your home life comfortably so you can leave work at work.
Schedule regular breaks and take them: Would you work for a boss who forces you to work 12 hours a day without a proper break or lunch? So then why would you be that boss to yourself? Set a time for lunch every day and stick to it. Without an office buddy to remind you to grab a bite or come by and share the latest gossip, you may find yourself working round the clock. Get up every few hours and go for a walk, do breathing exercises and stretch. When you feel overwhelmed, walk away from your workspace and practice mindfulness for 10 minutes to re-center yourself. Find quick and easy methods to help you gain a refreshed perspective and reenergize yourself without the external motivations that come with an office job.
Determine your most productive day and time: Is Tuesday your most productive day, or maybe hump day? Are you at your best in the morning? Does your brain turn on in the afternoon? Figure out your peak times for optimal productivity and schedule your most important tasks within those blocks of time. Assign mundane tasks for low periods that don’t take as much effort.
Take a break from emails: Emails are a focus killer and the train wreck of the century. Limit how often you check your emails in order to avoid getting sidetracked. Never start your day jumping into emails because you will find yourself spiraling into an endless exchange at what should be your most productive time of the day. Don’t be reactive – be proactive. Set a few times in the day when you check your email rather than replying to emails every time they come in.
Turn a distraction into a focus driver: Some people find music to be a distraction. I can’t imagine doing work without it or the TV murmuring in the background. Silence is more of a distraction for me. But everyone is different. What can you turn into a focus driver that keeps you energized and motivated? Whatever it is, use it to your advantage.