More people than ever before were working remotely, and organizations didn’t have time to plan for it or consider the best ways to transition teams to an online-only environment beginning around March 2020. Nobody knew how long the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus an increase in remote workers, would last.
If you’re new to the work-from-home lifestyle, you may have discovered that you need to change your habits and routines to be successful. Working from home is great until your cat pukes on your computer or your neighbor across the street starts firing up all sorts of power tools and noisy machinery. The greatest advantage of working from home is the increased flexibility.
Work Regular Hours
Create a plan and stick to it… most of the time. Many remote workers maintain a work-life balance by having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day.
However, when the job allows it, one of the best advantages of remote work is flexibility. To accommodate someone else’s time zone, you may need to extend your day or start early at times. If you do, make sure to finish up earlier than usual or sleep in a little longer the next morning to compensate.
Get Ready for Your Workday
Many people do not bother to dress up when working from home. That, however, is not how it should be. You must prepare for work as you normally would. Casual dresses or pajamas are ideal for providing comfort and a sense of freedom. However, wearing sweatpants for 48 hours straight may not help you stay productive.
Limit the number of distractions in your home as much as possible. For example, if you can’t enter your living room without turning on the TV, work in another room or area of your house. Removing distractions from your environment is critical for maintaining focus on your work, which can affect your productivity. Establish quiet times or meeting times as needed, and work from a location where you are less likely to be interrupted by members of your household. If possible, work in an area without a TV or other digital distractions. And don’t be concerned if distractions arise; it’s unavoidable.
If you work for a company, learn about their break policy and use it. Allow yourself enough time during the day to step away from the computer screen and phone if you work for yourself. A lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks appear to be the norm for full-time US employees. Standing up and moving every so often, at least once an hour, is important for computer-based and other sedentary work. It also helps to take regular breaks from the screen, even if they are only 10-20 seconds long. Use some of your work breaks to get outside and enjoy nature. Fresh air, bird songs, and other natural elements can help you recharge and refresh. Taking breaks outside is also an effective way to reduce stress, which is especially important when working from home.