Working from home can be a modern-day work-comfort for both employers and employees. Thanks to advanced technology, almost everyone can now work remotely provided the nature of the work allows for it. And with the remote work trend growing every year, more and more employees expect to have this convenience at their jobs. Usually, work from home is provided to allow employers to do their jobs from the comfort of their own home in case of bad weather or some unforeseen issues such as illness. But we are living in a far different reality. The outbreak of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has become a global health catastrophe and is leading multiple organizations to grant remote work from home to as many employees as they can to control the spread of disease. And with many workers around the world forced to stay in their homes, working from home may be the only way many people can remain employed during the crisis.
Industry giants such as Google and Apple have already mandated that many of their global employees work remotely. Many IT offices have been shut down after confirmed cases of COVID-19. Since the disease spreads from being in close contact with an infected person, businesses are trying their best to accommodate remote work for their workforces.
Working remotely has several benefits and freedoms. However, not everyone can be as productive as they need to be working from home. Here are some of the best practices to follow to be as productive as you can while working remotely.
Forget that you are working from home
Working from home provides several advantages. However, the secret is to not get carried away by this. You must try to work in the same way as you would be if you were in the office. One of the most common misconceptions many people have regarding remote working is that they can work at their own time. However, this does not hold true on several occasions. Even if your work is task-based and doesn’t need any collaborations such as meetings, you still should try to work at your regular office hours – and the regular office hours of your co-workers.
Although you may be working from a makeshift home office or even your couch, make sure you log in to work at about the same time you usually start work at the office. Too many people who work from home either work too little or work too much due to not following regular work hours. While some interruptions such as power failures, computer problems, and Internet issues cannot be avoided, everyone working from home should set work hours and stick to them.
Moreover, most people working from home prefer working in more informal attire than they would choose for the office. While you can do this, dressing up normally would be a better choice as it can help you come out of your comfort zone. This will not only set up the right mood and mindset to carry out everyday work tasks but will also increase productivity.
Plan your work
While some organizations have a very clear structure, deliverable deadlines, and specific tasks to complete daily, many organizations often cannot come up with daily work targets for their employees. In such scenarios, having a definite structure and planning on what has to be done on a particular day can significantly increase productivity while working remotely.
This allows us to follow the routine similar to a typical day at the office, allowing us to complete all our tasks as planned. When working from home, make sure to plan your work for the day and set up a schedule to complete tasks. And if your home includes family and pets, try to get some privacy to avoid any form of disturbance or distraction.
Allocate a designated working-from-home area
Planning to work on your couch or from your bed might not be the best idea to work from home and staying productive. In an organizational scenario, every employee is given a dedicated workspace with various amenities such as a comfortable chair, a table, a computer, and more. However, while having the same setup at home might not be possible for everyone, you can still try to dedicate a specific area for work. Even the most minimal requirements such as a standard desk and a chair should just work fine.
Also, consistency is very important when working from home. Setting up a designated work area not only helps improve focus on work but also allows you to have some personal space free from distractions.
Unfortunately, working from home also increases the potential for distractions. Many of us are transfixed on following the latest news on coronavirus or, because we think we have the freedom to do so, browse our favorite websites not connected to our work. Falling into this trap will destroy your productivity
Distractions are one of the primary reasons many organizations did not institute work from home policies. And with no colleagues, leads, or managers nearby, it is very easy to get distracted from work. While working from home provides you with certain advantages, your employer still expects you to work and be productive as you would be at office premises.
Therefore, for anyone to make the most out of remote work, always try to adhere to the regular office hours and attend to your personal activities or tasks during breaks or after the work hours. Try to stay focused throughout the workday and set up some ground rules for the people in your space when working from home. Let the people around you know that you will be working during certain hours and you cannot be distracted or disturbed during the time.
Be social and collaborate
You’ve got all your colleagues, team members, and manager to assist you when you work from the office. However, when working remotely, you are on your own. Although there are means to collaborate and communicate with other colleagues many users refrain to do so. This will not only delay the work but will also reduce or affect the team collaboration.
Every remote working employee needs to be active on their emails and other collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Slack to seek or provide help. All these advanced collaboration tools are meant to help users working remotely, so organizations and remotely working employees need to use them to their full potential.
Scheduling breaks is as important as scheduling or planning your day. This allows you to refresh and get back to work while avoiding fatigue. One of the biggest advantages of working from home is its flexibility. You can use the break times to socialize with people, have some personal time in between work and relax and recharge. This not only makes you feel better but also increases the productivity of work.
Working from home: From privilege to necessity
While working from home is a modern-day privilege, making the most out of it depends on the employees. Planning things well and following all the best practices above can help in increasing your productivity.
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