Many of us were exposed to remote work for the first time during the pandemic. Some of you like it so well that you don’t want to go back to an office. Others struggle to stay productive while working from home.
There are ways to enjoy working from home without losing productivity to temptation and distraction. Whether you started working at home in 2020 or have been doing it for decades, we’ve got some helpful hints to stay productive.
Nearly all of us, when we go to work each day, have a set routine. We get up at a certain time, have coffee and breakfast, and get to work at the same time each day.
When you work at home it’s very easy to slide out of a routine and into a more free-flowing work day. Try to avoid that temptation.
That doesn’t mean that your remote work routine has to be identical to your previous routine. But settle on a time to get up, a way to get ready for your day, and a time to start work.
This is how you set yourself up for a productive day. It helps you get into the work mindset. Continue developing routines for the rest of your day. They’ll look different from your old routine, but they’ll keep you rooted in your workday.
Pro Tip: Avoid turning on the TV or taking a break to make cookies. Keep your work separate from your life. Set a time when your work day is over and stick to it. You don’t need working from home turning into living at work.
One of the best ways to maintain your routine is to have a dedicated space in which you work. But let go of the idea that you must have a traditional home office to be productive.
What you need is space where you have everything you need to do your job. For some of you, that means making room for multiple monitors, files, and other office equipment. Some of you need little more than your laptop.
Ideally, this space is something you can either walk away from or put away at the end of your day.
We don’t think enough about comfort in an office environment. An uncomfortable chair or poorly designed desk can leave you aching and distracted.
The same is true of working at home, but you have a lot more control. Take advantage of that control! You’re free to use any kind of desk you like, and any kind of chair.
When you set up your workspace, do so with comfort as a top priority. That doesn’t mean working from your bed (work/life boundaries are important) but it does mean you can choose your favorite chair.
You’re also free to use a non-traditional desk. Remote workers are turning in droves to lap desks for their versatility and comfort. Using a laptop computer at home poses challenges if you don’t have the perfect office desk. Has anyone ever had a perfect office desk?
With a lap desk, you can turn any chair into an ergonomically beneficial workspace that helps you maintain good posture, arm, and hand position.
One of our favorites for remote work is our Storage Lap Desk with a Sliding Lid. It’s comfortable and gives you space to stow accessories.
One of the biggest struggles for some of you as you made the abrupt switch to remote work was a home crowded with family members. It was hard to find the quiet you needed to get things done.
As you transition back to working some days at the office, it can be a struggle to establish boundaries when you work at home. Family and friends can make mistake your presence at home as availability to socialize or help with chores, schoolwork, and more.
The best way to avoid battles over your time is to have straightforward conversations about your workday. Remind people that your job hasn’t changed, only your location.
It is far too easy, in any work setting, to get immersed in a project and forget to take breaks. When you’re working at home, you don’t have the usual office signals that it’s time to rest your eyes and move your body.
If you need to, set a timer. Get up and get a drink of water, walk around the yard, or have a snack. Make breaks part of your workday routine. They’re important for your physical and mental health.
Remote work can be lonely. We’ve all spent enough time being isolated in the past few years to recognize that it is not good for us.
It is also not good for our productivity. In a Buffer Survey in 2020, loneliness and lack of communication/collaboration were the two biggest struggles for people working remotely.
You can tackle both problems by staying in touch with your coworkers. Make it part of your weekly routine to have some kind of contact. Depending on the conditions in the world that could mean going to the office for a meeting or activity or jumping on a Zoom call to coordinate a project.
We all need connection. Without it, our mental health, and our productivity, suffers.
Organization can be a struggle for remote workers without a lot of space. Productivity takes a hit when you spend all your time looking for the things you need to do your job.
Use a lap desk with interior storage to keep your phone, charger, notepad, and other accessories with you no matter where you’re working. You can move your desk to a more comfortable chair (or even a sunny spot outside) without leaving office essentials behind.
Remote work is not going away. A lot of us like to spend at least part of our work week at home. You can be just as (or more) productive from your living room as you can at the office.
Take some time to design your best remote workspace and routine to get the most of this new normal.