Working from home can be difficult. You might have thought that you’d enjoy it. You can get your work done in the comfort of your own home, able to access your kitchen and whip up Michelin star lunches whilst cutting out all of your commute time. We’re a few working days into this lockdown and it has become clear that this is not the case.
Working from home is very different from working from your office. It is not, as you might think, your average workday but in a different environment. There are new rules, a lot of distractions, and even more emails. Video chats and conference calls consume your day, whilst everyone on your team tries to scramble together and evenly distribute the workload. Your laptop is not as fast or powerful as the desktop you’re used to. And there isn’t anyone sitting next to you to get a second opinion or a cup of tea from.
To keep on top of all your tasks, you are going to need motivation. By keeping yourself in that mindset of work, it is possible to maximize productivity whilst also keeping a healthy work-life balance. These top tips are a sure-fire way of keeping motivated whilst working from home and will get you on your way to entrepreneurial success.
1. Create a Home Office Space
One of the first things you need to do is set up a distinctive workspace. Not your sofa. And not your bed. If you haven’t got a desk or an obvious working area in your home, clear a space at the table. You need to keep this area as clean, crisp and distraction-free as you can – just like your office.
To make it feel like you are at work, with your team, set up a group chat or email thread with them. Try and find something that you would usually do, or discuss, together. Perhaps it is getting your morning coffee or catching up about a series you are all watching.
Quadrant2Design’s marketing team has a daily motivational calendar on their station in the office. When it was announced that the UK was going into lockdown, they decided to give one member of the team the responsibility of reading and reiterating the quote to everyone else. By doing that, they’ve managed to make their homes feel even more like the workplace as their colleagues are always interacting.
2. Stick to a Routine
You don’t have to travel to and from your office. This cuts out a lot of time in the morning but that doesn’t mean you should throw your routine out the window. Routine is important for motivation. It gives you loose deadlines and helps you establish goals and work at a productive pace.
The last thing that you want to do is get up at ten to nine and go to your computer. Stick to your routine as much as you can. Wake up, get ready for work and have a coffee. Have lunch at the same time and make sure you are away from your computer and any other screens. Set yourself goals – by lunch I will have achieved X amount of work, by the end of the day I’ll get through my to-do list. Working in this way, with a scheduled routine is proven to keep you motivated and will help you establish a work-life balance. This is one of the key strategies recommended to any goal setter, so why not start today?
3. Wake Up Early and Get Ready for the Day
Establishing a workday routine is important, but you need to make sure you are ready to seize the day. One of the biggest mistakes that people who work from home make is not getting ready for work as if they were getting ready to go to the office. Okay, so you probably don’t need to pack a bag, put your shoes and coat on and prepare your lunches. But it is important to present yourself as if you were going to work, just to get you in that mindset.
Wake up and jump in the shower. Put your work clothes on and get ready as you normally would. If you usually listen to the radio on your way to work, put that on as background noise. It’s amazing how these small changes can affect your mindset and prepare you for the working day ahead.
4. Take Regular Breaks
When you are in the office, surrounded by your colleagues, you are probably taking a lot of short breaks from your work without realizing it. Just saying hello to someone, answering the phone or helping someone solve a problem they’ve got gives your mind a rest from your work.
You should aim to recreate this environment at home as much as you can. But without people around you to distract you and give your brain a minute’s rest, it can be hard. You should find something that takes your mind off of your work and your eyes off the screen for short minute bursts. Maybe get a word search or puzzle book and give yourself five minutes out of every hour to work through as much as you can. Just these short breaks will increase your productivity and stop you from getting headaches from staring at your screen.
5. Eliminate Distractions
Last but by no means least make sure you are eliminating every possible distraction. That means no TV on in the background. No friends or family members sat next to you at the table. And no social media. Although it’s hard to eliminate your phone whilst working from home, because it’s essential to keep in touch with your team, it is worth putting a block on notifications. That way, you won’t find yourself scrolling through your Instagram feed for half an hour when you just wanted to see who liked your selfie.
By creating a home working environment, you should be ensuring that there are as few distractions as possible within the space. Stop being addicted to Facebook! The typical distractions (TV, social media, housework, etc) can all come once the working day is finished. This helps you establish a difference between being at work (even within your own home) and not at work.
Summing It All Up
With these handy tips, you should be able to be as productive at home as you are in the office and feel accomplished at the end of each working day. In these unforeseen circumstances, it is important to keep a touch of normality in your life. However, it is also important to look after yourself and your mental health. Communicate with people as much as you can. There are lots of apps that make it possible to have video conference calls and group chats. We can get through this isolation if we all do our bit to help each other.
Natalka Antoniuk is a content writer for leading exhibition stand company, Quadrant2Design. She is an expert in live marketing and uses her knowledge to help people choose sustainable ways to showcase their brand.