Making the transition from working at the office to working at home can be challenging, especially when you’re new to doing your job remotely. You may discover it’s difficult to concentrate, uncomfortable or too comfortable, or may find that you’re lacking the focus to keep you as effective as you are at your desk or cubicle.
If you’re struggling to stay productive or maintain the same level of focus you have at your office, we’re here to help! Check out our working from home tips that will keep you focused, productive and positive in your new remote environment.
Tips for Working Remotely
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Tips for Working Remotely: Create a Workspace
The beauty of being a remote worker is that you can work from just about any room in your house, apartment or condo, as long as it is set up properly.
The same goes for creating a productive workspace from home as it does at the office. Here are some essential ways to design a workspace that will help keep you focused and productive while working at home:
1. Consider the needs of your job.
Before deciding on a workspace, consider the type of work you’ll be doing. Do you need an extra monitor for web design or coding? Does your job require a drafting table? A printer? Is a laptop sufficient, or will you need the space for a desktop computer?
All of these things can help determine the amount of space you’ll need, and whether or not you’ll need to be in close proximity to an outlet.
HIPPA-Compliance for Healthcare Workers and Operators: If you work with sensitive personal information, you need to be concerned about HIPPA. As you already know, in order to stay HIPPA-compliant, you must not allow any personal information to be seen or accessed by anyone other than yourself. Make sure you take that into account when setting up a workspace. For more information about HIPPA compliance, please contact your HR department.
2. Designate a workspace.
Most importantly, your new remote workspace should be dedicated to just that – doing work. For those who live in smaller spaces, or for those who don’t usually work from home, it might not be possible to dedicate a spot as your workspace indefinitely – and that’s ok! If your work from home situation is only temporary, it’s probably not necessary to set up an entire home office. However, it is important to create a space that you can temporarily dedicate to your new remote work arrangement.
If you don’t have access to WiFi and are only able to connect to the internet via a wired connection like an Ethernet cable, take the length of the cord and the location of your modem into account when selecting your workspace.
3. Use what you have on-hand.
If you’re not able to transform an entire room into your new home office, get creative with what you do have! Especially during times of social distancing, there’s no need to run out to the store and purchase a brand new desk and desk chair.
The kitchen or dining room table is often a great place to work since the chairs and table are typically at an acceptable height for working on a computer. The kitchen or dining room table can double as a desk during the day, and a place for meals once you’re off the clock.
Of course, if at all possible, it’s ideal to not have to set up your workspace fresh every morning, but if that’s all you can make work, don’t worry! As long as you keep it dedicated to your job during working hours, a temporary area will be just fine.
4. Make it comfortable.
When you’re going to be sitting at a computer or makeshift desk for hours on end, it’s incredibly important that you’re comfortable. An uncomfortable work environment will make it easy to get distracted and off-task.
5. Stay organized.
If you work with a lot of paperwork, make sure you have a neat and organized place to keep them in your workspace. A filing box or a desktop filer can keep your papers organized and easily transported to and from the office on the days that you do go in.
Additional Tips For Your New Workspace:
- Don’t just post up on your couch. It won’t keep you focused, and it will hurt your posture.
- Don’t feel like you have to stick to a conventional office space. Whether you live in a studio or a 17-room mansion, you can work from any room as long as you set it up correctly.
- Make a playlist and listen to music. Our attention is way too easily drawn to a movie or tv show, so it’s best to keep the TV off.
- Clutter decreases productivity, so wherever you are, clutter shouldn’t be a part of your workspace.
- Working from home saves you the time you would usually spend commuting. Take that time to declutter and clean up around your home.
- Clutter has also been linked to anxiety, stress, and depression. When you are required to work from home, letting the clutter build up around you coupled with the reduced social interaction you have with colleagues can get you down.
- Dishwashers: Two hours.
- Washing Machines: Between 30 and 118 minutes.
- Dryers: 30 minutes to one hour.
Stick to Your Normal Schedule
If your company requires you to punch a digital time clock, sticking to a schedule shouldn’t be a challenge since you have set online hours. If you’re paid hourly, it’s likely your company does require you to clock in while you’re working remotely.
For salaried individuals who either don’t work set hours or who aren’t required to prove that they were working during their scheduled hours with time clock software, it can be especially easy to allow your distractions to get the best of you. We’ll get to reducing distractions next.
You may be sleeping in a little longer since you don’t have to get up early in order to commute to work, too. Sleeping in a little bit can help us feel more well-rested, and therefore more focused. But be sure to give yourself enough time to get mentally prepared for several hours of online meetings and spreadsheets.
An added benefit to working at home is not having to get buttoned-up or put on a uniform before heading out the door. But that also doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to sit around in your pajamas all day, either.
Working in your jammies can make you feel extra lazy or tired because your brain associates your pajamas with going to sleep. Getting ready in the morning helps signal to our brains that it’s time to get up and get going. So even though you’re not actually going into the office, ditch the pj’s for sweats and a comfy tee-shirt.
Keep Your Set Schedule and Breaks
Even if you’re not clocking in every day, keep the same hours that you normally keep! Your colleagues or team members are used to having you around, and they’ll be expecting you to be available. You also don’t want to change it up too much and deviate from your normal routine, since that kind of change can tempt us off the path of productivity. Changing the hours you work might not only affect your family members, but it also can disturb your work-life balance.
Allowing yourself scheduled breaks is also important to keep your mind sharp while working from home. Your eyes, brain, and body actually need a break from sitting and staring at a computer.
Get up and Stretch
Physical activity is also a great way to stay focused and productive! Download a fitness app that tracks your steps and alerts you when it’s time to stand up. Take a walk on your lunch break to get some fresh air and to help feel less isolated. Get out the yoga mat and do some yoga and meditation when it’s time to get up and stretch.>
No matter what you decide to do, any physical activity will increase blood oxygen to your brain, which has been proven to make our brains perform better. Getting your blood pumping will help get you through that dreaded midday slump.
Got broken exercise equipment? WE TAKE THAT ❯
Reduce Clutter & Distractions to Boost Productivity
As we mentioned earlier, there’s no place for clutter in your new workspace. If household junk and clutter is part of your daily life, you will quickly discover how distracting clutter can actually be.
Clutter reduces productivity. It fills our mind with anxiety and creates more stress, which no one needs while trying to stay focused and productive while working from home.
While you have some extra time on your hands, use some of that time to clean up the clutter around your home! That could be anything from broken furniture, appliances, electronics or exercise equipment, to boxes and bags of random junk. The most important thing about cleaning up clutter is to not allow it to just wind up in a closet, garage or attic.
Getting rid of items that you don’t use or haven’t used for years is incredibly important to decluttering both your home and your mind. A cluttered mind is not a productive mind, and a cluttered area is not a productive workspace.
Get rid of noisy or broken appliances.
Getting rid of unnecessary distractions could even mean a noisy appliance like a dishwasher, washing machine or dryer. This is especially important if you are the kind of person – like most of us are – who likes to catch up on dishes or laundry during breaks while you’re working from home. In that case, a noisy appliance can turn out to be very distracting.
Appliance cycle times, on average:
Imagine how distracting a squeaky, thumping or whirring appliance could be for the length of an entire cycle.
Now is a great time to upgrade your old, distracting appliance! Since you don’t want to add to the clutter that can be so distracting and detrimental to your mental wellbeing, it’s important to get rid of the old appliance that you replace.
LoadUp offers fast and easy appliance removal services that won’t interrupt your work from home schedule. Appliance removal is a small job for us, so our Loaders will be in and out in no time flat. Since we offer guaranteed, upfront pricing, our Loaders will only visit your home one time, unlike most other junk removal companies that require on-site estimates.
On-site estimates put you at the mercy of a salesman. Then they take up your time, haggle the price, and still have to come back at a later date to pick it up. Plus, most junk removal companies require a minimum volume or number of items to pick up. That increases the price and takes even longer, which defeats the purpose of getting rid of something to increase your productivity.
Reducing contact? We do outdoor pickups. LEARN MORE ❯
Eat Real Meals to Reduce Mindless Snacking
You’re home. You have access to the kitchen. Use it! Eating balanced meals is a great way to increase productivity.
We are not productive when we are hungry. But at the same time, it’s important to not accidentally overdo it. Eating a rich meal could make it much more tempting to close your eyes for a few minutes on the couch, which could accidentally lead to several hours before you know it.
Embrace Technology for Communication
Communicating can be more challenging than we realize. It’s easy to talk to a coworker face-to-face when you can just roll over to their cubicle, take a brief walk to their office or catch up with them at the water cooler.
Although there are tons of different ways to communicate with coworkers from home, including email, Slack and conference calls, it can often be difficult to be as effective at communicating when it’s not in-person.
Make sure to be clear in your communications with your coworkers. Remember, tone isn’t well-conveyed through email or chat, and can be misconstrued if you aren’t crystal clear. If it’s easier to communicate face-to-face, try a video call or video chat platform like Google Hangouts or GoToMeet.
Enjoy Your Extra Time
It’s not time off, but when you cut out your daily commute, you definitely have more free time available to enjoy.
According to the U.S. Census, the average daily commute to work for Americans is about 26 minutes one-way. That adds up to almost an hour per day, and for those who work five days a week, that’s 5 hours of free time you’ve gained.
In larger cities, work commutes can take between one and two hours. That’s two to four hours a day, or 10 to 20 hours a week that you get back from your usual workday. Enjoy it!
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