Staying Productive While Working From Home

Karen Mosier, Research Coordinator and Navigator, University of Saskatchewan

   

With the stress of everything related to the Covid 19 pandemic and all the changes associated with working from home, many of us needed to change our habits and routines to make working from home a success. Although we all face unique challenges due to our diverse personalities, unique lifestyles or different job requirements, many of the basic issues we face as remote employees working from home are the same.

Here are some suggestions to help you be more productive while working from home:

  1. Have a designated workspace
  • Having a designated spot in your home will help you focus
  • Make the best use of your available space
  • Take control and make your workspace comfortable, fun and stimulating
  1. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for What You Need
  • Make sure to request all the equipment that you will need to do your job
  • Get the right monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair, printer, software, and so forth to do the job comfortably
  • Make sure that your space is ergonomically correct to avoid workplace injuries
  1. Take regular breaks
  • Get up from your desk regularly and go outside to get some sun and fresh air
  • Regular short breaks can help promote mental clarity and increase your productivity
  • Book yourself two 15 minute coffee breaks and take your lunch break
  • Don’t shortchange your breaks (especially your lunch break). Use a timer to signal when it is time for you to return to your desk
  1. Use music to boost your productivity
  • Use music to your advantage to make your work more enjoyable and productive
  • Certain types of music such as classical and instrumental music have been shown to increase productivity and keep your mind sharp
  1. Keep regular working hours
  • Keep a strict schedule with your meetings and team calls within your work schedule
  • This doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible with your schedule but a regular routine is necessary to help you focus and avoid bad habits that can erode your productivity
  1. Set Rules with the People in Your Space
  • If you have children and they come home from school while you are still working, let them know what they can or cannot do during this time
  • Purposefully divide up domestic labor. Don’t let others assume that you will automatically do it just because you are home - your productivity may suffer
  1. Stick to a morning routine
  • Your morning routine can have a positive impact on your productivity throughout the day
  • What in your day indicates you are about to start work?
  • Sticking to a plan for your morning day in and day out will have a positive effect on your work habits and your mental outlook
  1. Keep connected
  • Social interactions are important to your mental health whether you are working in the office or working from home
  • Use technology to stay in touch with your co-workers, family and friends e.g., chat channel

  1. Get Out of the House
  • Get outside as often as you can but of course maintain social distancing
  • Avoid cabin fever as you are now spending a disproportionate amount of time at home
  • Just like when you worked in your office, it is always good to get away from your workspace and out of the building at least once a day e.g., go for a run, take out the recycling, take your dog for a walk
  1. Put Away Your Electronic Devices
  • After a reasonable day’s work, shut down your computer or put away your laptop just like you would store away your work tools after working on a build site
  • Keep any sticky notes or other work reminders out of sight to keep them out of your mind and help you relax

Working from home doesn’t mean you have to lose your connections with your coworkers, family and friends. Be innovative and use technology to keep in touch. Be creative and don’t let your home working arrangements make you feel confined or douse your peace, happiness, or tranquility. Keep things in perspective. Find the opportunity in the difficulty during an uncontrollable situation and accept whatever is beyond your control.

REFERENCES                                                                         

  1. Jonathan Bacon. Forbes. Seven Tips for Staying Productive While Working From Home. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/04/30/seven-tips-for-staying-productive-while-working-from-home/?sh=68b10cb5380e
  2. Jill Duffy. PC Mag. 20 Tips for Working From Home. https://www.pcmag.com/news/get-organized-20-tips-for-working-from-home
  3. Bryan Robinson, Forbese. 9 Tips To Be Productive While Working At Home During COVID-19. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2020/03/14/9-tips-to-be-productive-when-working-at-home-during-covid-19/?sh=4a14047c5a38