As working remotely becomes the norm for many who work desk jobs, you may wonder how you’ll stay focused on work while you’re away from your normal office environment. While working from home has its perks, it’s important to remember that it may take more motivation to stay focused on the "work" part.
If you’re new to working from home, or if you’ve worked from home before and just couldn’t stay focused, here are a few tips that might help.
Start your day just like you are going into work
It’s important to stick to your daily routine as much as possible. Try to get up and start work at the same time you normally would. Get ready for your day just as you would if you were going into the office. Of course, the occasional pyjama day is fun, but keep in mind that changing your work routine could throw off your whole schedule over time and make it harder to adjust when going back to the office. Getting ready for the day also gives you a sense of purpose and provides you with a little more motivation to get things done.
Dedicate a space for work in your home
Whether you live in an apartment or house, it’s important to find a space in your home that you can dedicate as a workspace. It should be as free from distractions as possible. If you have a smaller space to work with that doesn’t allow you to be free from all distractions, it might help to make some rules for yourself while you’re working. For example, keep the TV off or keep the couch off-limits. Your set-up should be as close as possible to how you’d work at the office. Make sure you have a desk or table to work from with a decent chair and proper lighting.
Plan your workday
If you’re feeling lost when you sit down to do your remote work, try planning out your day and block times for specific tasks, including when you’ll take your breaks. This allows you to set mini-goals that you’ll work towards during the day. You can use your Google or Outlook calendar to do this. You can even share your calendar with your colleagues and managers so that they know what you’re up to when they can’t physically see you at work.
Take time for a midday break
Rather than taking more frequent breaks throughout the day, try to reserve 30-60 minutes somewhere in the middle of your day to have lunch, get some fresh air, to stretch or even exercise. It’s important to take a break not only to clear your mind and refresh but also to keep physically active and stay healthy.
Stay connected with work peers and supervisors
Perhaps one of the most important tips for working remotely is to make sure you stay connected with your co-workers and manager. It’s important for making sure you’re communicating your work progress, but also for socializing with your team. Make sure you have regular one-on-one video meetings scheduled with your manager. To keep socializing with your colleagues, try scheduling video coffee breaks with them. There are many online collaboration tools out there that allow teams to hold a group chat and make video calls all in one app.
Pick a time to end your day and stick to it
Working from home also makes it easier to access your emails and work during times you wouldn’t normally be working. Make sure you decide when to end your workday and pack up your work so it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your evening. It’s truly important to still have work/life balance even when you’re working from home.