|March 31, 2020||Comments Closed|
As businesses everywhere roll out mandatory work from home policies, amid the spread of COVID-19, it’s realistic to assume that, for many, working from home will be the new normal for quite a while.
For many professionals, working from home means figuring out how to get things done in a new environment – one that might not lend itself to productivity. I’ve been working from home for over 15 years and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Here are five common mistakes that can make working from home a challenge.
Establish your morning routine, and include your daily exercise. Get dressed. You don’t need to dress up like you’re going to the office, but don’t work in your pajamas either. Maintaining a grooming routine will lift your mood, make you feel better and help you be more productive during the day. It’s also ok to break up your day by going for a walk and taking care of personal errands.
You need to set up an area dedicated to work. It can be a spare room, the kitchen table, or even a corner in the bedroom. It doesn’t have to be fancy – just a place where you can layout your work and have some privacy.
This can be challenging if you share a household with others. To make it work, you need to establish some ground rules. For example, the hours you will be working; on and off times for television and music; Internet access; and the sharing of your workspace – especially if you’re working from the dining room table.
You need to establish a daily schedule to get your key activities done. Don’t try to replicate your regular office pattern. Instead, set your priorities, and block-out or ‘chunk’ time for your most important tasks. When you work to complete your priority tasks each day, have clear guidelines and stick to them; when you’re done, you’re done.
Don’t try to work a full 9-to-5 day, as you would in the office, but maintain regular hours. Limit your work on anyone task to no more than 45 minutes. Schedule a 10 to 15-minute break every 45 minutes or so, and get some fresh air, do your stretches, or take a walk.
Don’t shortchange yourself; regular breaks will help eliminate boredom.
Do not each lunch at your desk; instead, take a regular lunch break and eat your lunch outside if you can.
To block out noise clutter, turn off the TV and, if necessary, use noise-canceling headphones or background music.
Don’t multi-task. It simply does not work and causes more clutter.
When you’ve finished work for the day, clean your workspace and put everything away. This will help you start the next day with a clear mind.
The right tools will maximize your productivity. Check with your employer regarding a printer, keyboard, mouse, chair and software. Also, you should have an Internet back up plan just in case things slow down. Consider using your mobile phone or a portable WIFI.
Finally leverage technology such as Zoom, Skype and Facetime to connect with clients and prospects, meet with colleagues and, of course, check up on friends and family.
Bottom line: You might be working from home for a while, but if you avoid these five mistakes there is no reason why you and your business cannot continue to thrive and grow.