With COVID-19 spreading in countries throughout the world, companies including Amazon and Facebook are asking employees to work from home. Although telecommuting has been on the rise in recent years, the coronavirus outbreak may be a catalyst for dramatic change in the way we work. Now that working from home is more commonplace, employees and employers must ensure that productivity does not suffer as more employees work remotely.
Working from Home: Productivity Tips
Working from home has a lot of advantages, such as saved transportation costs and time commuting. But there are some downsides of remote work that can interfere with productivity. The following tips will help you stay productive while working from home.
Create a distraction-free workspace.
One of the greatest challenges in working from home is the presence of distractions. To ensure that you aren’t distracted from your job, find a place that is free of distractions. Ideally, you’ll have a home office. If you don’t have a designated home office, choose the most quiet room of your home and carve out a space to do your work. This room should have a door that can be shut to prevent the entrance of kids, pets and other family members. It should also be free of clutter or other items that could hinder productivity.
Stick to a regular work schedule.
If you work from 8 to 5 at the office, try to keep a similar schedule while working from home. The benefit of sticking to the same schedule at home is that you’ll be available to answer calls or emails from coworkers, supervisors and clients during regular hours. You’ll also be able to really enjoy your free time as you can leave the job behind when your designated working hours end.
Set a time limit on breaks.
It’s fine to take regular breaks. In fact, you’ll probably be more productive if you allow yourself a break every couple of hours. But while working from home a fifteen minute break can easily turn into four hours. When taking breaks, set a timer if necessary to ensure you get back to work within a reasonable time frame.
Check in with your boss and co-workers.
One concern your supervisor, coworkers, and/or clients may have about a work-from-home setup is the possible lack of availability and communication. When telecommuting, be sure to regularly update your boss and coworkers with necessary information. If you aren’t sure what communication is needed and when, ask your manager how he or she prefers to be informed about your progress and how often. Also notify coworkers of any information they may need to do their work properly. And if you have clients, stay in regular contact so that they don’t feel neglected.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
Since you don’t have to get up early to make the morning commute, it’s tempting to stay up late watching Netflix or browsing the web while working from home. However, staying up late leads means waking up later, which interferes with your regular work schedule. If you don’t make up those lost hours at another time, productivity may suffer. Therefore, you should aim to go to bed at the same time each night so that you’ll wake up on time and well-rested.
With the right mindset, working from home can actually lead to increased productivity. Working at home means less time spent commuting to and from the office, meaning more time for actual work. And the independence and autonomy that comes from working remotely can improve employee morale. As more companies allow remote work, employers must ensure that employees working from home have the right support while adjusting to remote work.
Read 5 Jobs for People Who Want to Work from Home for ideas on careers that allow for telecommuting.