How To Make Remote Working More Productive
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Remote work is convenient because you do not have to commute to work and deal with all manner of obstacles along the way. However, it comes with its challenges because you are operating in an environment that is not designed for office work. The problems range from encroachment by pets and children to social media and nagging callers. This post shares tips on how to remain engaged and make your home office productive.
Create a home office
Your home is not designed for work as most of the spaces do not conform to conventional office settings. Reserve some area that will serve as an office. This environment should be isolated from the other rooms and free from interference and distractions. If you have children or a spouse, inform them that this is a private space that they cannot access during office hours. If you do not have enough room for an office at home, you can rent office space in a suitable location near your home. Select a facility with adequate communication infrastructure and an office atmosphere, such as a public library. Some people find it easier to focus on external environments than at home. You may be such a person who gets stimulated by the movement of chairs and people around you. An outside office also reduces the urge to procrastinate by completing household tasks such as mopping your sitting room. After reserving the space, spruce it up with all the equipment and furniture you need to work efficiently and comfortably. Collect all the computers, software, stationery, and video conferencing equipment you will need to work without disruptions.
Eliminate all the distractions
Remote work gives you the freedom to engage in all manner of activities. And because you are alone, you may be tempted to seek company by logging in to social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. If you are active on these platforms and have a huge following, it can be hard to resist the urge to engage in chats and similar activities. Social media is a major drain on your productivity.
To keep your home office productive, avoid carrying your private phone to the workspace. Limit connections to formal office communication channels such as email and slack. But if you insist on having your phone, turn off all notifications and limit calls to essential communication. Log out of all social media accounts and remove bookmarks or any other settings that allow you to access them instantly.
Structure your day
Working remotely means that you are in control of your time and work schedule. However, this freedom can be your undoing. To avoid losing focus, create a program outlining your working hours and prioritizing tasks. Develop a work calendar with reminders about important milestones and events. The work plan will help you identify all the resources you need to complete your work on time. It will also help you remain focused and motivated to handle your duties diligently.
Understand your body
Your energy levels fluctuate rhythmically during the day, depending on your natural predisposition. These fluctuations do not seem to matter at the office because your body has become accustomed to the work environment. However, these cycles are more influential at home because home designs are more natural than office designs.
Try to understand how your body works and schedule work to coincide with your most productive intervals. For instance, if you are a nocturnal, schedule complex tasks or those that require creativity to nigh time when your energy flow is highest. Use day time to complete mundane tasks that do not require much mental input. Some people get stimulated by music or open spaces in nature. If you are such a person, select the type of music that works best for you and play it in the background.
Take scheduled breaks
If you are a workaholic, you may be tempted to work for long hours because there are no formal breaks at home. However, breaks are important for keeping the home office productive and avoiding burnout. Schedule your breaks after every 3 to 4 hours so that your brain can have time to digest the tasks you have started and recover some energy. It is also during breaks that you come up with new ideas or creative ways of solving a nagging problem.
However, avoid engaging in addictive activities such as social media or watching TV during the break. Instead, take a relaxing walk in nature or practice relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. You can also go out for a cup of coffee. Such activities allow you to relax without distracting or reducing your motivation and focus.
Arrange your meals in advance
Remote work may tempt you to take breaks to prepare or source meals because there are no formal restrictions on such activities. Cooking or ordering food drains on your time and energy, especially if you complete them in the middle of a work schedule. Always prepare or order your meals in advance. If you have children, make arrangements so that feeding them does not become a distraction. This approach makes your home office productive by channeling all your productive energies towards essential tasks.
As much as working at home is prone to distractions, it can also lead to burnout. Remote workers do not have a HR department taking care of their work-life balance. You can be tempted to work for long hours, especially if you are in an hourly or incentive-based job. However, working long hours drains your mental energy and is also detrimental to your physical health. Working for long hours disrupts your sleep patterns leading to mental disorders associated with hormonal imbalance. Long work hours may also cause aches and strains because some parts of your body are overstretched. The best approach is to have a timer for each session so that you follow the regular work hours. Make sure that you work for an average of 8-9 hours a day or 40-45 hours per week.