We are in the middle of a pandemic. We, according to BBC News, have over 600,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally. To curtail the rapid spread of the virus, governments across the world are limiting movements. People have been asked to stay at home and practice social distancing. Working from home is no longer optional as many companies are being forced to make this change and allow their employees to work from home. Working from home can be a difficult task. Lack of relevant office equipment, distractions, decreased sense of connection, lack of communication and lack of accountability and supervision are challenges associated with working remotely. Many are likely to find it difficult to maintain the same level of productivity as when they worked in an office environment. I have compiled a few tips you can adopt to boost your productivity and achieve more.
1. MAINTAIN YOUR MORNING ROUTINE- Maintain the same set of activities you do in the mornings before you go to work. Have a mindset that you are going to work. Activities including praying, meditation, exercising, preparing breakfast, etc are few things people do before heading out to work. Maintain the same routine, take a shower, dress up and get set to start working.
2. MAINTAIN REGULAR WORK HOURS- You have to set up a schedule and stick to it. I repeat STICK TO IT!!! It is easy to set a schedule, the difficult part is sticking to it. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain a work-life balance. One of the benefits of remote work is flexibility which could be greatly abused. Making use of automatic time tracking apps can help you note if you are keeping to the schedule. They can also help you monitor what periods in the day you are most productive. You can reserve your hours of high focus for your most tedious tasks.
3. HAVE A DEDICATED OFFICE SPACE- In an ideal setting, a remote worker should not only have a dedicated workspace but also control what enters that space. A mobile phone can be a distraction to anyone, so if it is not necessary, let it stay out of your workspace. If possible have a different phone number for your workspace. A designated workspace would give a sense of responsibility and certain frivolities would not be condoned in that environment.
4. SET GROUND RULES FOR THE PEOPLE IN YOUR SPACE– The most severe issue with working at home is a heightened level of distraction. Friends, family members, neighbours, roommates can all pose a serious threat to doing productive things at home. An effective way to tackle this issue is to set ground rules for the people in your space. If your spouse chooses these times to get all lovey-dovey with you, it is most likely that you would get very little or close to nothing done. Set reasonable boundaries. Some examples of these rules can be:
-No loud music in the house for a particular time frame.
-Children are not to play in your room until a particular time.
5. COMMUNICATE WITH COLLEAGUES- Companies with a remote work culture usually offer ways for employees to socialize and communicate effectively. There should not be a communication gap amongst employees because it would reduce their team spirit and make them altogether less productive. You should have a couple of people within your reach at all times. Communication is important because you can be held accountable. Say it when you start a task also when you complete one. Ask questions when necessary and talk to people who can help at each point in time.
6. SHOW UP FOR ONLINE MEETINGS AND BE HEARD- Some remote employees find it difficult to interact on platforms because they are not particularly used to the people or sometimes because they prefer face to face communication. When your opinion is asked, to give it. If there’s something your team can do better, state it.
7. BE DISCIPLINED- What makes all the above tick is your willingness to commit to doing the tasks set for the day. Working from home comes with a lot of distractions as there will little or no supervision. The onus is therefore on you to be self- disciplined and focus on achieving as many tasks as possible.
8. DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF- If once in a while you find yourself getting a little distracted work on it, don’t lament more than the effort you eventually make. Cut yourself some slack, it is really not so easy to work from home. If you cannot complete the task set for the day, tomorrow is another day. You will get better as you practice and make an effort to be productive working from home.
ABOUT THE WRITER
She is a graduate of Law from the University of Lagos with a passion for writing. She is a content developer and fiction writer who believes normal is boring and when pen meets paper there’s no telling what could happen.