For those who are not used to it, working from home can seem like a dream, but once domestic challenges (cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids and pets) start to mix with your work routine, productivity can start slipping. Here are some tips to ensure you and your team are making the most out of working from home.
1. Start each day with an online virtual huddle using the right platform
Working at home needs more clear communication and transparency. For you to catch up with your team and know the project updates, make sure to use the right platform according to your need and capability. Viber & Whatsapp are great for quick messages and updates, but for more robust discussions and catch ups, try video conferencing. With tools such as Teams, Zoom, Hangout Meets and Skype, it’s now cheap (or even free) to do video conferencing. Do make sure you have the team turn on their cameras to increase the interaction and avoid the temptation of drifting into other things during the meeting.
2. Set specific goals and weekly (or daily) work plans
With home concerns mixing in with work obligations, procrastination can start to set in. Our brain is not designed to handle too many tasks as multi-tasking can increase stress and creates pressure, and we don’t want that at home. In order to be productive, make sure to set a specific goal and commit to it. Check your progress and work on accomplishing specific goals regularly to keep you on track.
3. Have a professional, clear working space
While it's best to have a dedicated desk in a separate room, this may not be possible. If you have to work from the kitchen table or a shared living space, create a clear area so you can focus. In case of interruption, consult with the family or roommates over what's reasonable in terms of respecting everyone's space and managing the natural noise of daily life. Once the day is done, leave your working space and mentally and physically transition back to your home life.
4. Sharpen the Saw
The 7th Habit in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to ‘Sharpen the Saw.’ While working from home for extended periods of time, use the flexibility and lack of distraction to learn something new or sharpen your skills. Whether it’s online webinars or reading a book, these activities will help you become a better professional or entrepreneur.
5. Look after your energy
This final tip is relevant to us all, whether we're working from home or not. It is a proven scientific fact that stress and tiredness suppress our immune systems and make us more vulnerable to colds and viruses. Invest the 2 or 3 extra hours you would have spent commuting to more relaxing endeavors such as spending time with family, talking with friends or watching Netflix (in moderation) while also ensuring you get some extra sleep.
Working from home can increase productivity but only when done right. So ensure you have the right routine, the right tools and the right mindset.
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