Working from home is the new normal in the current work climate. Companies are doing what they can to keep their employees safe and many have been pleasantly surprised by the experience. Working from home was once a foreign, even undesirable thought for workers and most certainly companies in the corporate world. But why? Anyone who previously worked from home has already been using the advanced technology available to us for visualizing connecting with coworkers, easily sharing information, and staying organized.
At first many people were apprehensive of the productivity they would receive after releasing their employees from their in-office work desks to their living room couches. However, instead of the expected dip in productivity many companies experienced a surprising increase!
Some people do not like working from home, especially right now when there is the addition of multiple work-from-homer’s in the house and home-schooler’s in the house. And then some have realized they never want to go back! Even with the stress of the pandemic there has been relief from the normal stressors like commuting, squeezing in appointments or errands on a lunch break, taking time off to sit home with a sick child, spending too much money on coffee and meals, and cramming in family dinners!
Whichever person you are, we all can benefit from a few tips to increase productivity.
- Probably most important is sticking to a schedule. Set normal work hours for yourself even if it varies from day to day. With work and home overlapping it can be hard to maintain a work-life balance. Let everyone in your work community and in your home know when you will be working and when you will be with family so that everyone has set expectations of your time.
- Set some rules for your work time. Like we said before there may be multiple work-from-homer’s and home-schooler’s in the house with you. Make rules for meeting times, including no interruptions, no loud noises, and no visual interferences. This will help you and your work mates stay focused on your tasks and also allow others in your house to experience the same protocol.
- Schedule your breaks and use them. Continue your work break policy at home by taking a lunch break away from your desk, and a 15 minute walk to get some fresh air. (Fresh air is always great for productivity— that boost in oxygen and sunlight does wonders for the brain.)
- Feel comfortable asking for help! Whether you need assistance on a project, technical support, or a simple question answered, feel comfortable seeking that attention from your employer or other coworkers. Taking that social interaction out of the work day can have a negative impact if your job requires a team effort. Schedule a morning kick-off call, dedicate a time slot for assistance, or have organized quick communication (such as Slack) for all employees to utilize.
- “Show up” to your meetings by being on-time and being active in the conversation when possible. Extend extra kindness at the beginning of meetings as you would walking into a conference room. Say hello to everyone who joins and ask them how their day is going or what they are doing this weekend.
- If you are not feeling well and your company has sick day policies. Take the sick day. You won’t get much done if you are feeling ill, so take the time to get better by focusing on your health needs.
- Be extra positive. When giving feedback virtually (especially without face time) try to be overly positive. Quick to the point answers are helpful but can also be interpreted in a negative tone. Use the exclamation point and emoji next time.
- Seek improvement whenever possible. You may already be doing that by reading this article! Take advantage of any company provided training, watch instructional videos online, read articles and helpful content about your industry. Just because you are home doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. Your improvements will still be noticed by your employers and your career can still grow!
- Appreciate the perks of being home. Start a load of laundry, prepare a healthy meal, sit with your child, or whatever it is that being in an office prevented you from doing during the week. Feeling productive in your LIFE and WORK will benefit everyone.
- Don’t get down on yourself. You may feel like you aren’t doing enough, or being the best employee you could be. Reward your hard work and acknowledge when you need to be doing better in some areas.
I think we’re all amazed how productive we can be from home! Getting all your work done and not having to wait till 5pm to strike to be productive in other areas of your life is truly having a work-life balance. Enjoy this new age of working from home!