How to up your work from home game and maximize productivity in your home office
Have you suddenly found yourself working from home? Is the ‘remote office’ lasting a little longer than you thought it would? Shifting to working from home can seem simple, but has some surprising difficulties. Unexpected issues with ‘office space’ versus ‘home space’, being able to disconnect from work even though you don’t leave your house and even loneliness from working remotely can affect your day-to-day working experience. However, you’re in luck.
We at Lifeblood work remotely, pandemic or no pandemic. Our team is scattered across Canada and has had a head start in learning what works and what doesn’t when it comes to remote work. We’ve made all the mistakes so you don’t have to! Read below to get our tips for a stable, productive and enjoyable work from home experience.
Create a space that makes you want to work
Set up a workspace that makes you feel like you’re going into the office.
Designate a room as your office, and set it up so it feels like a fresh, new space, and not just your kitchen table or living room. Load it up with your office supplies, and maybe a nice desk plant and get to work.
If you’re working in a smaller space that can’t be a permanent desk, designate an ‘office box’ to store your supplies and files and make setting up and tearing your ‘office’ part of your daily routine. You won’t be able to unwind each day if all you unfinished work is sitting beside you at the dinner table!
Routine is key
Create and keep up a routine as you would if you were going into the office, physically. Wake up and go to bed at your regular (hopefully reasonable) time.
Rock your usual morning routines that get you started for the day. Take a walk around the block before you officially start your work or have your morning coffee and catch up on the news at your ‘workspace’ as you would in the office. This usual routine will help give a sense of stability and normalcy in a very not-normal time.
Remember, part of establishing routine is honouring your work hours! Give yourself your usual lunch and coffee breaks and use that time to stretch, or eat a snack away from your designated work area. Working from home doesn’t mean you don’t get to take your usual breaks.
Set and maintain boundaries
Don’t get caught checking your work email at 10pm, or worrying about unplugging for your usual morning routine.
If you were normally going into the office for a specific time each day, you wouldn’t be available until then! When working from home, it’s important to allow yourself to be away from your work computer or phone as you normally would when ‘out-of-office’. Keeping your availability to a regular work day will also help with possible burn out from extreme screen time. Zoom meetings, conference calls, multiple emails and constant news updates about COVID_19 can really wear you down. Give yourself a chance to unplug from your devices and recharge yourself.
And remember that workspace you set up? Make sure you have that as the only designated work from home area. Keep some parts of your home work-free zones so you can ‘turn off’, and honour your family’s space, too.
Find a way to connect with your fellow work from home team members from home, whether through a messaging app, email thread, or virtual meeting.
Stay accountable and engaged by sharing weekly updates on projects and discoveries, or do something as simple as a morning meeting with your co-workers. Connecting with your team on a designated schedule will help you all to stay involved, inspired and accountable.
Don’t just talk about work. Consider those little pleasantries exchanged in the break room or by the water cooler and make them happen while you all work from home. It’s okay to take a few minutes and chat about your weekend, how you and your family are doing with social distancing, or even show some pictures of a great dinner you cooked, last night.
Support and feel supported by the team you would normally be in the physical office with by working from home along with them!
Use your support systems
When working from home, it’s not as easy to get out of your own head when you can’t just walk to a nearby coffee shop on your break, or pop over to your loved one’s house after work, but you don’t have to carry everything alone. It’s vitally important to your productivity and health to connect with those in your corner.
Make sure to take your mental and physical health as seriously as you do your work.
Stay hydrated, keep your body nourished, and fill your down time with whatever you need to stay calm and grounded. Make creative use of family chat groups, video calls with friends, online group games, explore new hobbies, etc. Working from home can be a positive experience if you plan.
And finally, while you are making a solid plan for working from home, consider reaching out to other groups for connection and advice. We at Lifeblood want to assure you that we are here to grab a virtual coffee with you and chat about your business at any time. Give us a call or send us an email and we will be more than happy to connect with you and offer whatever expertise we can.