Under normal circumstances, only about 5% of the U.S. population works from home on a regular basis. But thanks to the recent coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans who don’t usually work from home are being asked to do it.
If you’re one of them, you may have been excited about the idea of working remotely at first. But now that you’re actually doing it, you might be finding that it’s a lot more difficult to get your job done when you’re at home as opposed to at your desk at work.
There are some tips that you can put to good use to keep your productivity levels high while working from home. Here are five tips for transitioning from an office desk to remote work amid the coronavirus outbreak.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace for Yourself at Home
If you’ve never worked at home before, you might be tempted to set up shop at your kitchen table or, worse, on your couch when it’s time to sit down and work. This is not a good idea.
Instead, you should go ahead and create a dedicated workspace for yourself somewhere in your house. In a perfect world, this would mean setting up a home office. But if this isn’t possible, creating a workspace in a quiet corner of your house will do the trick.
If you try working remotely at your kitchen table or on your couch, you’re going to find yourself surrounded by way too many distractions (more on these distractions in a minute!). They’re going to slow down your productivity and make it hard for you to focus.
By creating a dedicated workspace somewhere else, you’ll be able to sit down at your computer every morning and get to work without a problem. You’ll also find it easier to disconnect from your work at the end of every workday.
2. Make Up a Schedule for Yourself Every Morning
Regardless of whether you’re working in an office or at home, you should always try to make up a schedule for yourself every morning so that you know what you have to get done on a given day. It’s especially important to do this when you’re working remotely.
If you attempt to do remote work without a schedule, it’s going to be easy for you to get sidetracked and lose sight of the things that need to be done. Before you know it, it’ll be 5 o’clock and you’ll have a to-do list with a lot of things that still need to be done on it.
By making up a schedule for yourself, you’ll keep your day moving along and ensure you’re knocking things off your to-do list. You’ll also make time for things like lunch, virtual meetings, etc. You can record your planned schedule in a bullet journal or daily planner.
This is one of the top tips for working at home. Without a schedule in place, you’re going to struggle to find your footing while working remotely.
3. Limit the Number of Distractions Surrounding You
As we mentioned a moment ago, you should create a dedicated workspace for yourself at home to eliminate a lot of the distractions you’ll face when working from home. You won’t have to worry about the TV distracting you when you’re not sitting on your couch in front of it.
But there are other distractions that might prevent you from getting your work done at home, even if you have a dedicated workspace all set up. Your kids and your spouse, for example, might not think twice about bothering you when you’re working from home.
It might not be possible for you to cut off communication with your kids and spouse completely after switching to remote work during the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are being forced to quarantine themselves with their kids and spouses at this time.
But you should speak with your kids and your spouse about limiting the number of times they bother you throughout the course of a workday when working from home. Consider setting up some kind of system that lets them know when it’s OK to come and ask you a question and when you need them to leave you alone so that you can work.
This is often easier said than done. But if you’re going to be a productive person while working remotely, you’re going to have to limit the number of distractions that you face.
4. Find Reliable Ways to Continue to Communicate With Your Coworkers
When you’re working in your office, communicating with your coworkers is easy. In most cases, you can do it by swinging by their desks to talk to them.
But when you’re working remotely, it can be challenging touching base with your coworkers about projects you’re working on. It’ll be up to you—and your company as a whole—to keep the lines of communication open.
You and your coworkers can communicate through:
- Phone calls
- Conference calls
- Video conferencing
- Instant messaging
Whatever you do, don’t stop communicating with your coworkers just because you’re not sitting in the same office as them anymore. That could cut into your productivity and slow your projects down.
5. Step Outside and Get Some Fresh Air Every Now and Then
We know that we’ve talked quite a bit about limiting distractions while working remotely. It’s essential for you to cut out as many distractions from your workdays as you can.
But it’s also essential for you to get outside every so often so that you can get some fresh air. You’re not going to be doing yourself any favors if you get into the habit of sitting at your workspace for hours on end every day without getting up and moving around a little.
Stepping outside will get your blood flowing and help you clear your mind. It’ll also make you so much more productive when you go back inside and get back to work.
Working Remotely Can Be Every Bit as Productive as Working in an Office
It takes some people longer than others to transition from working in an office to working remotely. You might not be as productive as you normally are when you first start working from home.
But by using the tips found here, you should be able to keep your productivity levels high throughout the workday while working from home. These tips will help you find your groove when you’re working remotely.
Learn more about improving your productivity day in and day out regardless of where you’re working by checking out the articles on our blog.