How to Stay Effective While Working from Home
Of the many dramatic changes that the spread of COVID-19 has cause, perhaps the most jarring to most people is the social distancing orders that have led to more and more people working from home. While most employers who require people to work from home have provided the necessary information and tools to make the transitions, it has ben far from easy. In fact, some people have found it very difficult to maintain the level or productivity they had in the office.
There are a lot of distractions at home, especially since children are also not going to choose. So how can you stay safe at home while maintaining the same level of productivity you had before? In this guide we will share with you how to stay effective while working from home. Let’s get started.
Keep Regular Hours
The greatest temptation when you’re staying home is to sleep in just a little longer and stay up just a little longer. The problem is, messing with the routine you had established when you were commuting to the office everyday will significantly affect your productivity.
On the other hand, working from home can also make you incredibly flexible, allowing you to extend your office hours to accommodate someone else. But even when you do that, it is still important to stick to a schedule. You are more likely to be motivated to work the next day if you’ve had adequate sleep.
Set Ground Rules
With everyone at home at the same time, it can be very difficult to get work done, especially if your work requires a certain level of focus. The best way to handle a situation like this is to set ground rules. Establish that when you are working, you are not to be disturbed unless there is an emergency.
To ensure that everyone in the household can get their work done is to divide the house chores equally and establish a time when everyone can do their chores, preferably when nobody is working.
Take Breaks Occasionally
Working too much will have the negative effect. At some point, you will become busy, but not productive. Schedule a time when you are away from the computer screen and the phone. And don’t use this time to do your household chores.
Leave the House
You can decide to use your break to get out of the house at least once a day. As long as you maintain the recommended social distance, getting out of the house is the best way to break the monotony that can be work. Going for a walk is good for you for obvious reasons, but you want to avoid crowded places. In fact, it may be a good idea to pick a time or a place where there are considerably fewer people.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Most companies will provide their remote workers with everything they need to make the transition as seamless as possible. But this doesn’t mean you won’t run into problems with some of the tools and systems that you are using. Rather than spend hours trying to figure out how something works, ask for help. Your company probably has someone whose job is to make sure everything it running smoothly. Reach out to them when you have a problem.
Your company may also have a budget for everything that you need. So, don’t assume that you will have to upgrade your computer to handle the workload. Instead ask your manager or supervisor if the company can cover the cost of the upgrade or provide you with a new one.
Use Video to Communicate
The pandemic has created an environment that can make it very hard for even team member working on the same project to get together. Although video conferencing can be useful in this regard, it is impractical to hold a video conference every other day. One of the best ways to share your ideas therefore is by creating short video clips.
A screen recording tool like Wondershare DemoCreator can be very useful in allowing you to capture videos of your screen, along with narration and then share them with team members. In fact, this could be one of the best ways to communicate and share ideas that can then be discussed at the next video conferencing meeting.
Keep a Designated Office Space
It is ideal for you to have your own office space and computer that is inaccessible to no one else but you. But while this may be the ideal situation at home, it is very rarely so at home. Not everyone has a home office that is separate from the rest of the activities in the household, you can still have a dedicated desk that can be set aside for your use only.
You can also choose a designated time when the selected office space should be considered occupied unless stated otherwise. For example, when your laptop is plugged in and open on the desk, the other members of the household should know that the office is occupied.
Although it may not be practical to have a separate computer for work and home, you can still separate the two easily. One way is to use different storage devices for home files and another for work files,
Use a Separate Phone Number
You will also want to a have separate phone number that will be used for calls with clients and colleagues only. You don’t have to get a new landline; a new SIM card will do perfectly. You can also just set up a free VoIP service using Skype or Google Voice, both of which work perfectly for this purpose. Other than keeping the other members of your household from accidentally talking to your boss, a separate phone number is a great way to maintain a good work-life balance.
Use a VPN
Using VPN is perhaps the best way to protect your work when you are connected to a network you don’t trust. This can include Wi-Fi that you connect to at cafes, airports and libraries. Some companies provide all their employees with VPN that remote workers can use when they want to access certain websites and servers. Even though it is unlikely that you will leave home during the pandemic, sometimes it may become necessary to connect to a network that is alien to you. Therefore, it is always safer to have VPN than to go without it.
It is important to note that when your connected to the company’s VPN, the company can easily see what you’re doing.
Socialize with your Colleagues
Working from home can be very lonely, especially when you were used to the camaraderie that comes from being in an office setting with your peers. This is why many companied that allow employees to work from home often provide ways for their employees to socialize with one another. The importance of remaining social is not just for your sanity, but it may also help you remain more productive and on top of things.
When you meet regularly with your colleagues via video conferencing, the whole team can feel like the project is going somewhere. Each team member has the equal chance to contribute ideas and criticism of the project in a way that can keep all team members productive. Business messaging apps can very helpful in this regard, allowing you to maintain friendships and a close working relationship even when you’re not physically working together.
Above all, you should stay positive, not just about the situation all of mankind finds itself it, but about your own daily struggles. There will be days when nothing will go according to plan, but when you are able to get even the bare minimum done, remember that this is an adjustment not just for you, but for most people in the world. Take it one day at a time and make changes where change is necessary to adapt and remain productive.
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