Ditching the daily commute to work from home (WFH) has gone from a luxury to a necessity over the past two years. It comes with its perks – goodbye shoes and pants, hello fully stocked pantry on hand. But it also introduces a new productivity nemesis – you.
Without the strict switch into an office environment, it can be difficult to maintain focus and efficiency while working from home. There’s the lingering freedoms and distractions outside your door, and then the family members and housemates who provide an all-too-easy excuse to step away from the desk.
Lockdowns may soon be a thing of the past, but experts suggest working from home could be here to stay. So, how do we maintain maximum productivity while reaping the rewards of remote working?
At Wordly, we’ve been huge fans of the WFM movement long before lockdown made it mainstream. Over time we’ve nutted out the secret to distraction removal and workflow finessing.
Here are our top tips for working from home effectively.
Set Up a Good Workspace
Not everyone who was punted into the remote working landscape was blessed with the space to accommodate their new office needs. For some, it might be a few square metres in the bedroom, or a blank stretch of wall in the loungeroom.
Wherever you find yourself, setting your space up strategically is going to make all the difference to your ongoing productivity. It may cost you a bit more than the slapdash dining-table-desktop but trust us – it’s worth it.
Separate Your Workspace
Where possible, try and create as much of a distinct boundary between your ‘work space’ and your ‘home space’. Obviously, this depends on the space you’re working with. If you’ve got the luxury of separate room with a closable door – you’re in luck. For those working with a smaller area, try creating screening to your desk with plants, shelves or furniture.
It might seem like unnecessary hassle, but having a separate space helps kick your brain into work mode. Once you enter it, you know consciously that you’re there to work. It’s a little psychology manoeuvre to switch the brain from its relaxed home mode, into powerhouse corporate mode.
Invest In Your Working From Home Equipment
Just because it’s a makeshift home office, doesn’t mean you should forgo the luxuries of the corporate world. While you might pass on the dual monitor standing desk, a good desk chair is an investment worth making. Since you’re going to be spending all day in it, you want something that’s going to look after your back. The more comfortable you make yourself at that desk, the easier it’s going to be to stay on the grind.
On the topic of the desk, let’s talk height. Out of convenience most of us could probably get by using the dining table, a kitchen island, or heck – our laps. But if you want to set yourself up for a productive slog of work, ergonomics is going to be your best friend. In a perfect world your working from home desk should look something like this.
And lest we forget the power of good wifi. If you’re getting by on the dregs of an average connection, we strongly suggest giving your plan an upgrade. Again, it’s another cost, but it’ll save you several fits of internet-lag-induced rage.
Working From Home with Housemates and Family
Even the most resolute commitment to getting work down can come crashing down with a single interruption. Working from home often means sharing a workspace with people who are very much not at work. Whether it’s housemates, partners or kids, their free reign of the house can pose quite the threat to your productivity.
Here’s how to navigate it:
- Inform whoever you live with that when you are at you desk, you are technically ‘at work’ not ‘at home’
- Outline your work hours with your house members so they can pencil in interruptions accordingly
- Take scheduled breaks in which you can interact freely with your family or friends and enjoy the luxury of having them just beyond your office
Setting Boundaries with Work Hours
This one is a tricky one to get the hang of. It seems easy enough to work to your standard hours but having your work world sat right before you can inspire a mild case of work-a-holism. One quick email at 7pm quickly becomes eight emails and before you know it the sun has long set and you’re bleary eyed and knee deep in a task at 9pm.
Here are some ground rules we’ve found helpful for setting boundaries when working from home:
- Avoid going back to work once you’ve finished, once the laptop is shut, that’s it for the day
- Make sure you take regular breaks. This is crucial to maintain a healthy level of productivity for you brain to function within. This includes taking time to eat, move and switch off
- Use a timer on your breaks if you have a hard time returning to back to work
- Set regular work hours that work around your body clock – if you know you’re a powerhouse in the morning, lean into that
If lockdown has taught as one thing, it’s that lack of human contact can take a huge toll on our wellbeing. Working from home can inadvertently have the same effect.
Our top tip to finessing the WFH game is to pencil some human interaction into your calendar.
Go for a walk, grab a coffee or close the day out with a friend or family member. It’ll keep you sane and your mood high while making the most of the best part of WFH!