Working from home, while looking after the household can be challenging. How do you stay focussed on the work and not get distracted? Here are some excellent tips to make work-from-home productive
By Nabeela Mahboob
Many people crave to have a job that allows them to work from home. As a new mother or someone who has obligations at home and cannot take up a full-time job, remote working can seem like the best solution.
In fact, some studies even suggest that working from home can be better. A study done by Stanford University researchers in 2014 analysing Chinese workers and published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, concluded that remote workers were 13 per cent more productive than their counterparts, working out of an office. After all, it saves you the commute to the office, while allowing you to attend to some household responsibilities. But that is where the trouble starts. However much you try to separate work from your home, there will be some things that will invariably interfere with your productivity.
Almost always, it’s not an easy job. Staying away from a formal working environment and having family at home, can be a huge distraction. To make this easier, here are some quick tips on how to work from home effectively and productively:
1. Get Dressed - This might sound absurd, but it works like magic. In case of a regular job, we get up in the morning, get dressed and head out to work. In the same way, imagine you are heading out for your workplace and get up and get dressed to work from home. This will give you a sense of responsibility and readiness. Even if it means sitting on the dining table with a laptop, being spruced up and ready will help in being geared up for work.
2. Have a designated workspace - Investing in a home office space and not letting anyone else use it for any other purpose can help to work effectively. This could just be a small corner at the far end of the dining table or a little coffee table in your bedroom. A few shelves for office-related files, a pen stand and a chair brings in the effect of an office and you are good to go. It’s not only about having a designated space but this can help shut out the thought of home and can increase concentration.
3. Follow a schedule - Prioritising work every morning is important. And this means both household work and your professional work. A proper schedule with a backup plan can go a long way in completing the job that you have assigned yourself for the day. Being at home, there will definitely be calls and homely duties to be attended to, so a schedule on what to do next and when can help. For example, time slots for finishing a few household chores earmarked for the morning and then starting on remote meeting and attending to work calls and so on.
4. Stay connected - Often work from home options involve phones and laptops. Sometimes, we get tired and loathe the lonesome working style. It is noted that prolonged lonesome working hours can lead to lack of motivation and productivity. Staying connected with other colleagues helps stay fresh and works effectively. When in a team, it is important to be in touch with the others for better results.
5. Take regular breaks - In an office environment, working may become easier because of the people around you. A little chat or a short coffee break will relax the brain. When at home and there is no one to talk to, there is a tendency to go on working for hours together without a break. You should make it a point not to get carried away as this can tire the brain. Just like any other muscle, the brain needs a break too. A cup of coffee, looking out the window, reading the newspaper and just using the restroom every one hour, will help you rejuvenate.
6. Fix working hours - This is one of the most important things to do. Parents with children especially need to do this because they also need to attend to the child’s needs. Working hours should aptly be scheduled during their school hours or nap time. Older children easily understand the needs of parents and allow them to work while they are at something else that interests them. Fixing working hours help colleagues too to contact us during this time and attend meetings.
7. Upload files and data into the cloud system - We sometimes get bored of working alone at home. We could opt to go out to a café or a park and carry our laptop with us. Perhaps a colleague can join too to make things interesting. Uploading important files into the drive or cloud can help to work from anywhere. Even if there is an emergency or during transit, if there is enough time to complete important office work, this method will come handy.
Working from home has become very much possible because of the developing technology. Putting it to right use and working effectively is important. With these little changes in our lifestyle and method of working, it will get much productive and easier.
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