With the coronavirus pandemic, most have been forced to work from home. Working from home is not everyone’s cup of tea. Hardly any face to face interaction can make one feel less motivated and lethargic. You don’t have the fun office banter that keeps a place lively. You don’t have access to a tea or coffee machine for a quick reboot – you have to make your own. You don’t have your co-workers to vent and ideate a challenging work situation. Work from home is indeed not everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t worry, all is not lost. I am here to share with you best practices to effectively work from home.
I have been working from home for the past 4 years now and so have tried and tested a lot of things. I share with you the best practices to work from home that ensures productivity, efficiency and relaxation.
Best practices to effectively work from home:
- Time: Maintain good time discipline. Maintain your working hours. Your brain has been trained to be productive at certain times, don’t lose out on the natural productivity clock that has got ingrained in you over the years. Don’t skip on that post-lunch walk you are so used to!
- Place: As far as possible work in the same room. Create a workspace. Proper stationery, chair, a table just gives that bit of edge. A coffee scented or citrus-scented candle helps set up a productivity zone.
- Dress for work: Dress for work and not relaxation. Wear ironed T-shirts. Your home may not have 24-hour air conditioning and formal clothes can get a bit hot for you. Wear clothes as per the climate but just ensure they are well ironed. Nothing like wearing a crisp white T-shirt. You will feel the shift in energy.
- Team meetings: Try to have video team meetings at a regular time. Seeing faces always helps! Communicate more. You don’t have to restrict it to emails, pick up the phone and call your team members.
- Food & Beverage: Maintain your lunch, snacks and dinner hours. Avoid stocking your pantry with junk food. You can finally kick off the biscuit habit. Keep fruits handy. An electric kettle and tea bags are good ideas for a quick energy boost. Prepare your lunch before the start of your work hours – don’t cook during your office hours.
- Exercise: Now that commute time is out of the window, you have been blessed with the gift of time. Get onto an exercise schedule. The release of endorphins via exercise is vital for your mood and productivity. This could be the perfect time to inculcate a habit of 20 mins exercises every day – something that you can do even after you start going to the office.
- Be balanced: Don’t start doing housework during your office working hours and don’t start doing office work during your house chore times. It’s very tempting to do a load of laundry – instead, read up on articles related to your work. It’s tempting to finish a bit more work and postpone the house chores to tomorrow – Maintain a healthy balance. Allocate time slots and stick to them.
- Keep distractions to a minimum: Lack of everyday accountability is a freeway for unproductive habits. Just because no one is watching you, don’t watch Netflix! Lack of human interaction can tempt you to watch a lot more TV shows in the background – this is a distraction waiting to culminate into an unproductive habit. If you start feeling bored, choose to read a work-related book or audit a course on Coursera to enhance your skills.
Working from home can be a challenge especially for extroverts who draw energy from human interaction. The above best practices can make your work from home less stressful. You will figure out what works best for you in a week or so.
Be safe everyone.