02 Apr How to be productive when working from home
When unforeseen circumstances occur, or if problems arise in offices, businesses have no other choice but to adapt and allow their employees to work from home. While some may think it’s “easy” to set up for the day or foreseeable future at home, the truth is that it comes with its own set of challenges, especially if you’re a working parent, a house sharer or your spouse is off too. Whatever your situation, we’ve got helpful guidance on how to be productive when working from home.
- Home office ideas
- Working from home tips
- Working from home with kids
- Mental health and physical health
- Remote working
First off, you need to make sure you have the right setup for productivity at home. Here are some useful home office setup ideas for you to get started:
- Create space. Depending on your home environment, make sure there is a clearout of clutter and designate a corner, room or desk for your workstation. Optimise space, if you only have a small, cupboard-like room, clear the curtains, bring in more light and attach wood planks on the walls to form a corner desk
- Keep it minimal. Nobody likes a mess on their desk. Just like the office, keep your desk tidy and to the bare minimum so you’re not easily distracted. A clear space gives a clear mind
- Go hygge. Working from home is the perfect environment for hygge office design. Make your corner or space cosy as well as professional. Add a throw, pillow and rug to make yourself more comfortable as you work
- Go greener. Bring some plants indoors to brighten up the place, especially where there’s natural lighting. Plants are great for making air cleaner and increasing oxygen which is beneficial for your lungs and overall health
- Get arty. Make your space motivating by adding inspirational art or quotes on the wall around your desk. You want to make your desk inviting and a positive place to go to, to help you get in the work mindset
- Make a schedule and stick to it
Use document tools you would normally access at work or opt for free resources like Google Docs or Sheets to create a home timetable and calendar. Print a few copies out and put them on the fridge, your desk, the wall and in your notebook/diary. This will help you stay on track and if any additional work drops in, you have your calendar and tasks up ready.
Now you have your home at your disposal, it’s time to get creative. Working from home means we can utilise our own environments for our own work advantage. Working in an office comes with its boundaries, for instance not everyone wants to listen to your niche playlist or interesting podcast. As long as it’s not too disruptive, put on a playlist to help you work. Or put on a podcast to catch up on things, you can learn more about a topic you’ve not had time for whilst cracking on with your work tasks. Win-win.
Whether you’re taking a call or video conference, if you have pets and kids around, you may need to intervene and answer the occasional question. Ok, thousand if you’ve got little ones. Make sure you test that mute button and get in the habit of using it so you don’t end up blasting a telling-off to your boss!
4. Work on your wellbeing
Make sure your mental health and wellbeing are still looked after by giving yourself regular breaks. At work, we’re used to coffee breaks, chats with colleagues and time allocations but working from home can make us easily forget these. Book it into your routine and make sure you schedule breaks to focus on things you love and take advantage of being at home. Either go out into the garden with a book, do some quick exercises, take the dog for a walk or schedule in some pet time!
5. Avoid slobbing
While it may be tempting to stay in pajamas all day as dressing to impress goes out the window, this can influence how we go about our day and work. Go for comfortable loungewear that you could still wear to the shops so you’re in more of a work mindset. Wearing comfortable or sporty gear is good for easily transferring to exercise and activity time in between tasks. Also, try to avoid the couch and use your desk if you have one as it’s much more motivating and keeps the sloth mentality at bay.
6. Get healthier
Now you’re away from work, you’re probably away from local fast food places that you’re accustomed to visiting for your lunch breaks. Also, unlike an office, there’s nobody in your house tempting you by asking everyone if they fancy a pizza or McDonald’s run. Being at home means you have your own kitchen and healthier foods to hand. Now there’s more time in the day without the dreaded commute, so use this time for meal prepping and baking to make your diet significantly healthier.
7. Use online video tools
Being out of the office doesn’t mean you have to cancel meetings. With so many tools for communicating, we can now have Google Hangouts, Skype calls or video calls on a range of apps for free that allow for group meetings. Look at your calendar and make sure to contact any colleagues or clients you have upcoming meetings with to advise on how best to go about communicating.
8. Set boundaries
Depending on your hours, you may have to work at home whilst others are in the house. This is where you have to set boundaries for family members or housemates. Having your timetable posted around the house will help show others when you’re working and not to disturb. Of course, now you’re not restricted to the standard nine to five. If you have small children, work during naptime or after they have gone to bed so you’re fully enjoying your daytime together.
9. Plug in
If it’s hard to keep noise down, plug in with earplugs or headphones so you’re not easily distracted. Especially if you live in a noisy household, earplugs can help cancel out noise or it may be better to tune in to that podcast you’ve wanted to listen to, the radio or music playlists. Whatever helps you work, plugging in is a great way to help you focus on your work.
10. Use every room, and your garden
Using your home as an office comes with its perks. If you find yourself stuck in a creative rut or getting writers’ block, take a walk around the house, get more active or get out into the garden to become more inspired.
For those of you who have children, taking care of them can be stressful at the best of times. When you need to work from home, it suddenly reaches a whole other level. Having a timetable and sticking to it couldn’t be more important. You have to be realistic and schedule time in for spontaneous disruptions as well as planning in time to take care of them or check in.
Depending on their age and your work, you could have them become little apprentices for the day and make it fun for them to help you sort files, research or give them house jobs. Just because they are off school, doesn’t mean they have to be off learning. Make them feel valuable and valued; children like responsibility and being trusted with important jobs.
Set clear boundaries, use rewards and discipline just like you would normally for meals and bedtime for instance. If they can’t help out with your work, then use online education resources to plan a learning routine for them to work from books, printouts or a computer or tablet. Make sure it isn’t all computer or screen-based and mix the learning up by setting up active learning, like Lego! What kid (and adult) doesn’t love Lego? Use the house for learning; what calculations can they do with household items or what art can they create? There’s so much creative potential that children are brilliant at harnessing if they’re given the opportunity.
Working from home in isolation can be difficult when people are away from socialising, office conversations and demotivation can quickly set in. That’s why it’s important to keep social and keep communications going. Use apps or just your mobile to host group video calls and WhatsApp to quickly share updates and fun conversations. A meme or gif goes a long way and maintaining that connection and support system can improve staff morale still.
It’s vital to take care of yourself and schedule in time for your mind and body. The NHS advises that we should be getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week and 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. This can be split up by doing 30 minutes of activities a day and mixing between the two types of exercise. You are guaranteed to feel better after exercise as your heart rate increases and endorphins are released, meaning the effects on the brain are just as beneficial. Being able to work from home, means you can easily make time to get active using the comfort of your own home.
All you need is just a little bit of space and you can even use furniture to help with certain exercises or even the garden if the weather’s nice. There are tons of apps and online videos you can use to follow workouts. If you’re with kids, Change4Life offers amazing advice, activities and recipes too so you can create a healthy routine for them to keep them occupied.
Where meetings are scheduled, businesses are setting up video conferencing and utilising technology with emails and phones rather than face-to-face meetings, as well as letting employees take work laptops home. This means staff can set up work calls wherever is convenient to not miss out on important client or colleague conferences. It doesn’t always have to be at home, as staff may need to travel to a relative’s house or somewhere important. Allowing remote working is a productive solution for many businesses during troubling and uncertain times and is becoming part of many contingency plans.
Many businesses that work well when offering employees the chance to work from home are ones that serve SEO, PPC, content marketing, digital PR and social media marketing and our services are nested under all of these. If any of our employees need to travel to clients far away or networking is added to their schedule or more flexibility is needed due to circumstances, remote working works for us as we can still continue providing the same, exceptional service to all our clients without having to compromise.