It is estimated that up to 30 million people are preparing to work from home in the UK. These estimates, although generous, are not far from the truth as businesses look to create stability through self-isolation. There have been countless studies on the benefits of remote work. A 2-year study from Stanford University even found;
“…work-from-home employees work a true full-shift (or more)… Additionally (and incredibly), employee attrition decreased by 50 per cent among the telecommuters, they took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days, and took less time off. Not to mention the reduced carbon emissions from fewer autos clogging up the morning commute.”
With so many people having to adapt to home offices or lack thereof, here are a few ways to make the most of this boost to productivity.
Keep Regular Hours
Humans are creatures of habit so while it can be tempting to stay up late and push that alarm an extra few minutes it can be detrimental to your productivity. Everyone has different work cycles and circadian rhythms. Everyone has a unique alertness pattern so build your day around when you are most alert. If you’re not an early bird, put administrative tasks in the morning and allow yourself to get up to speed.
It’s also important to make sure you are well-rested. Missing out on the daily commute means you can get a few minutes extra sleep but be aware in case you start to slide into later and later bedtimes.
Get into a Routine
A routine helps immeasurably. Working from home, it can often feel like all the days melt into one. Create a routine for yourself to keep on time and on track. While the allure of sitting around in trackies all day may be inviting, it’s important to treat weekdays as if you were going to work. Wake up, have breakfast, get washed and dressed, and you’ll find you’re brain more prepared to deal with work.
Define your Workspace
Equally important as time is your workspace. When you’re travelling to a from the office you shift from a home environment to a work environment and vice versa.
This change in location changes your behaviour and attitude and gives you time to prepare for the day ahead. However, when working from home, the place you relax can also become the place you work. This can leave you in limbo.
The best way to beat this work/play limbo is to create a home office. Whether you have a dedicated study, a dining room table or even a nice corner tucked away in the lounge, it’s important to have a distinct space to work. You can leave all your notes and thoughts here at the end of the day and enjoy a break from work. Whatever you do, avoid working in bed as much as possible.
Breaks are an important part of keeping up your productivity. In the office, breaks occur naturally. Chats with colleagues, tea breaks, trips to the loo. All of these give you a few moments to relax your brain and take a break from concerted concentration. Make sure you plan time for breaks at home.
A popular technique is the Pomodoro Technique which breaks work down into 25-min concentration windows with mini breaks in between. You can use your breaks to take a break from the screen, wash dishes, go for a quick walk and just about anything else you can think of.
Ask for What you Need
One of the biggest hurdles with working from home is communication. In the office, it’s easy to pop over to someone’s desk and ask for something. When you’re working from home and have a team all co-ordinating on one project, communicating effectively can be a bit trickier. Your company should look at using a range of tools to maintain communication.
Skype and Zoom are great for quick calls, morning meetings, and face-to-face discussions with clients. Basecamp and similar project management software gives you a central place to drop off work, make it available to other team members and track what needs to be done.
Finally, you’ll need a good time report software to track how and where you spend your time. By investing in well-designed management software you can create that same office efficiency in the cloud.
This next point ties in with asking for what you need. Overcommunicate everything. As much as A large proportion of communication is in body language and other non-verbal cues. This can make working remotely, especially in high-pressure situations tricky.
Overcommunicate everything. Add details to your IM’s about your thinking behind projects, add screenshots to show exactly what you mean, or just video call whoever you need to talk to. Whatever you do, don’t leave your messages too vague as this can lead to misunderstanding and delays.
Take Advantage of your Kitchen
One of the best things about working remotely is having access to your kitchen. No more need for meal deals, working from home gives you more time to plan and prepare meals. Break out all those kitchen toys you never get to use.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to do more slow cooking or perhaps bake your own bread. Whatever you’re interested in, cooking can help relieve stress, provide you with a break from work, and allow you time to develop an incredibly useful skill.
Don’t Stress Yourself Out
Last, but not least, is to not stress yourself out. A report from the United Nations in 2017 discovered that 41% of remote workers reported high-stress levels compared to just 25% of office workers. People working from home often feel they will be judged for working from home and try harder to justify their work in remote conditions. Make sure you don’t burn out. Do as much as you can without causing harm to your wellbeing. Balance is key.
At Fifteen Design we’ve taken remote working to heart to offer our clients world-class digital marketing insight and services. Our award-winning agency has worked with SMEs and multinational brands alike.
If you are interested in maximising your online presence with a killer digital marketing campaign, want a new website built to rival your competition, or are looking for an inspiring new logo design, we are here for you. Together we maximise your visibility and conversion rate. Contact us now to get your brand on the right track.