In the age of advanced technology that we’re in, working remotely with the use of our gadgets is not really new to many of us. However, as the world struggles to deal with the global pandemic we all know as COVID-19, our usual office work routines have changed tremendously. As governments all over the world impose home quarantines, it seems like we’re all forced to work from home.
Sure, it may sound all easy and comfy – but is it really? Our dear home has all sorts of distractions to hinder us from being productive – that cozy bed that lures you to just lie down and stare at the ceiling, your Netflix subscription with all your favorite films and TV shows, and of course, if you’re already a parent, your kids can take your focus away from work! Working productively can sure be a challenge with these things in mind. But you can definitely make it work if you’ll consider these clever strategies for working from home.
1 Select a quiet and consistent workspace – away from distractions
Before the spread of the coronavirus, one can just freely head to a quiet café or a shared workspace to do some remote work. But with the home quarantine being imposed, your choices are now limited within the premises of your home. Choose the quietest room in your house and set it up neatly as you would your office space. If an extra room is unavailable, it can be a corner in your bedroom or living room. No need for a grand makeover! Just as long as it’s an area that can let you focus.
2 Get Organized – provide consistency, set up your files, stock your work area with necessary supplies
We tend to just leave everything scattered thinking that ‘we’re just at home’. But believe it or not, it makes a world of difference if your workspace is neat and organized. It gives you a clearer perspective and saves you time as well. Imagine looking for that piece of document in a messy pile of papers and folders – it’ll take you forever! Give your desk as much space as possible. For your files, have them neatly placed in a file organizer or book stand. Sort them according to a category, may it be alphabetically or according to urgency. Also, make sure to stock up on office supplies. Note that it’s different to ‘hoarding’ office necessities. Just stick to what you really need, otherwise, it’ll only end up as additional clutter.
3 Establish a reasonable schedule and allow breaks
Yes, you should be strict when it comes to your working schedule, but this doesn’t mean that you will force yourself to work without breaks in between. Don’t be too hard on yourself, be reasonable and realistic with your schedule. It doesn’t have to be an 8-hour run just like how it is in your office. What’s important is how you make a structured schedule and set goals along with it. Don’t hesitate to sneak in an episode of your favorite Netflix show once some of your goals are met! Be goal-oriented and maintain a healthy work balance.
4 Use a planner
May it be a virtual planner that can be accessed in just a few taps or that good old notebook planner, the goal is to get your thoughts organized. As mentioned in #3, it’s important to set goals along with your structured schedule. Your planner is where these goals will be produced and listed. One tip is to have a dedicated section wherein you can randomly write all your ideas while the rest is where you organize all these ideas. If you’re using a physical planner, sticky notes and markers can come very handy here, too! This will surely optimize your work from home setup.
5 Make a list
“Isn’t my planner just the same as my To-do list?” Well, not entirely. While you can have both in the same place, it’s still ideal to have a separate list for your day to day must-do activities. Your daily to-do list will not be solely comprised of work, but also other chores you need to do for the day. It’s also a great way to help you evaluate how productive your day went. After all, this checklist will also show you what needs to be improved in order for you to manage your time even more wisely. Here’s a tip when making your To-do list: Sort them according to urgency. Which ones need to be done first? This will help you to avoid procrastination. Work from home is all about deadlines after all, so priority management is the key.
6 Over-communicate with colleagues
Communicating with your colleagues is a way to brainstorm ideas and therefore enforce creativity. It’s much easier to do so in personal meetings done in the office but now that we’re on home quarantine, staying connected can be a challenge. That’s why it’s very important to make sure that you keep each other updated about the progress of your work. Videoconferencing is preferable but of course, it’s not always possible to do it for long hours. You can also do so using email, phone calls or through virtual workspaces like Slack or Asana. Besides, isolation can truly take a toll on our health, both physically and mentally so keeping a consistent communication line with your co-workers is also a way to keep your social life active.
7 Remember, everyone’s situation is different. Just relax and go with the flow!
The beauty of working from home is its flexibility. There are no strict rules here and it isn’t something you need to do by the book. These strategic tips we shared only serve as a guide, but on how you carry it out solely depends on you. Work at your own pace and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. This way, you’ll be able to work productively and creatively while keeping your physical and mental health at its best state.
How are you currently coping with your work from the home setup? We know we all have our own clever ways to make the most of our work routine at home. Got anything to share with the world? Leave a comment below and let us know your tips on how to optimize your work from home setup!