Everyday it’s becoming clearer that the new way of working will continue to include more remote and hybrid working than in the past. Some people love the flexibility, some people hate it. But working from home is here to stay, and it presents different challenges than working in an office.
Staying productive can be much more challenging when you are working from home rather than working in the structure of an office environment. The key to staying productive at home is staying motivated and prioritizing your work-life balance.
We’re big proponents of working from home. Here are some strategies we use to stay productive and make it work.
When you work in an office, everything is already neatly organized to help boost productivity. But of course, when you’re working from home, you have the opportunity and the challenge to create a workspace at home that helps you stay focused while encouraging a balanced use of your space.
So yes, maybe when the pandemic first hit, it was ok to set up your laptop on a cluttered kitchen table.
But if consistent remote work is going to be part of your own personal ‘new normal,’ then you owe it to yourself to set up a dedicated workspace that is organized with all the tools you need to do your work. Personalize it and make it attractive, too, so it’s a place you’re happy to be.
While you’re at it, get your digital files in order. We really like to use Asana to manage projects and workflows.
And if you are running a business or start-up from home, then remember that there are tools like virtual accounting that can help keep your finances organized, too. Trust us: everything seems easier when your finances are in order.
Stay Connected to Your Team
No one really works well in a complete bunker, at least not all the time. While we all need focused time for our personal projects, we also need opportunities to collaborate and, critically, ask questions and get support. Talking with your team regularly will help ensure you’re on track, doing the right work, and keeping up with everyone else. It will also help keep you motivated, which goes a long way towards staying productive.
So, if you’re a workplace leader, make sure you’re working to keep your remote team connected. And if you’re a team member, ask if you have can regular, quick check-ins if you don’t have them already.
We’ve also created a list of our favourite apps for keeping remote teams connected, which you can read here.
Focus on Outputs, Not Clocking In
One of the great things about working from home is that you often have the flexibility to set your own schedule! You’re no longer tied to a desk for a set number of hours, and required to sit there – whether or not you’ve finished your work.
So, make sure you understand what’s expected of you, and focus on getting your job done efficiently and effectively. You’ll feel better and you’ll work better. For managers, keeping expected outcomes at the forefront of your mind and providing the flexibility for split shifts or condensed workweeks is a great way to retain staff and remain competitive in today’s talent market.
Take Breaks & Take Care of Yourself
Like our Founder and CEO Alexandra Dawes, CPA shared in her tips to avoid burnout as a business owner, it is so critical that you take breaks. Needing to take breaks is not sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a sign that you’re taking responsibility for your own well-being – and therefore, for your productivity as well.
Work-life balance can get a little tricky for some people when they’re working from home. While the flexibility is great, many people feel pressured to work around the clock, worried that people will assume they’re lazy or not really working if they’re not at the office. And it can be hard to separate your work life from your home life when they’re all done in the same spot.
You’re not a machine, so don’t treat yourself like one. Take care of yourself. This includes staying connected both to your team, like we’ve covered, but also to friends and family outside of work. Celebrate your accomplishments and go easy on yourself when you make those inevitable mistakes. Take breaks, and give yourself permission to turn off your email at the end of the workday.
Because ultimately, the key to be a productive is being calm, well-adjusted, and focused, whether you’re ‘on the clock’ or not!