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At the moment, with the threat of COVID19 hanging over us, it seems as if the whole world is working from home. Of course that is not the case; many people are providing essential frontline services and are extremely deserving of our thanks. 

For the rest of us, the most helpful and safe thing we can do is to stay home and take our work with us. Which leaves us questioning, what effect will this have on our productivity?

Everyone has a different way of remote working, some are familiar with it and others might be trialling their first time working from home right now. To try and make things a little easier we've put together 5 top tips for successful and productive homeworking:

Start early 

It's great to avoid a lengthy and stressful commute to work, but a lazy start can turn into a lazy day. Days can often begin with sitting and staring into space whilst pondering on where on earth to begin for the day.

Writing out a to-do-list the day before is an easy way to set out what needs to be accomplished the next working day. Many people are most productive in the morning and the pride of ticking off your checklist before it hits your lunch break can spur you on for a busy afternoon.

Choose a designated work space 

Only few are lucky enough to have a physical office at home. Your space doesn't have to be a desk but sitting somewhere other than your bedroom helps you to associate a different area with work. Perhaps a place at the kitchen table or breakfast bar, somewhere upright helps you get into the working day.

Don't think that you should be glued to the space you pick. Instead treat it as your focus area, if you're about to have a daily catch up meeting or need to proof read a piece of work, why not do these somewhere comfortable or outside? A change of scenery is always refreshing but when you need to concentrate use your home work-space.

Organisation is key 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when working from home, especially when it’s not part of your normal working life. The best outlook is to think like you’re at your work desk and keep on top of your workload. Identify what tasks you have to do and dedicate your time accordingly.

Organise your schedule, prioritise work tasks and of course build in the regular breaks you would usually take. A good idea is to use your outlook calendar to set reminders and start/end times for online meetings and tasks you need to complete. Many people often find they get things done quicker this way.

Temptation, concentration and procrastination

It’s really important to recognise procrastination when you see it. It’s so easy to think I’ll just spend 10 minutes on my phone then begin work, or I’ll put this TV show on in the background. It's not just social media and TV that can tempt you either, you may find yourself doing household tasks.

Before you know it you've cleaned your entire bathroom, checked Facebook for far too long and watched god knows how many episodes of a TV programme without realising and been totally distracted from your work.

Make it difficult to be distracted whilst you work, disable your notifications and switch off your personal phone. Stick to your usual work routine to give a sense of normality and if you've found your dedicated home work-space then it should be easier to focus.

Use the technology available 

Remote working can often be less stressful but over a longer period of time it can become lonely. Without regular contact and input from our colleagues we can lose sight of our shared goals and start to feel cut off from the bigger picture. Having the right technology for working from home is really important.

There's plenty of tools out there that can minimise this, use Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business for remote tele-conversations. Don't cancel what would've been a face-to-face meeting, instead use Zoom for conference video calling and remote meetings.

A good idea is to have a team conversation on WhatsApp to stay in the loop with your work friends. We all love lunch time chit chat and this is something that can be done through our phones instead, plus your colleagues are more likely to respect your working day. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone when working from home, your team are only a message away!

 

We hope that these tips have helped you settle into your new working from home life, but during these times it is also vital to ensure our mental health doesn’t suffer. It’s important to know when your working time ends and your relaxation time starts; here are some top tips for looking after your mental health in the weeks ahead!