Whether you work from home fulltime, once a week, or just every once in a while because of a virus outbreak, you’ll know how great working from home can be andhow happy it can make you. You save time not commuting, you can work in your pyjama’s, and on top of that, there’s a range of free tools and apps that make keeping in touch with clients and colleagues a breeze. But you’ll also know how challenging it can be to work efficiently. If you aren’t careful, domestic duties and distractions can cause you to accomplish far less than you planned.
Here at Brainbridge, we’re firm believers in the importance of having fun, having a change of environment and mixing things up. But we’re also experts at promoting productivity and efficiency among our team. So here are some top tips for working from home more efficiently.
DRESS LIKE YOU’RE AT WORK
If you want to work in sweats or pyjama’s all day, you can. But we don’t recommend it. Even if you won’t be meeting with another person all day, wearing your pyjama’s can make you feel sluggish, sleepy and unmotivated. We suggest keeping your regular routine when working from home. Dress just as you would for the office. This helps you to prepare psychologically for work and makes it seem like another day in the office, even if you will be working from your couch!
But hey, if you want to wear your Star Wars themed onesie, we’re not going to stop you!
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A DEDICATED WORKSPACE
While it might be tempting to work from your couch, you’re unlikely to get much done. We’re not saying you need to spend a fortune designing a home office, but we do suggest working from a designated room, desk or chair. This helps signal to your brain that it’s time for work and will help you feel more alert and organized.
PLAN YOUR WORKFLOW
Staying focused while working from home can be extremely challenging. It’s easy to feel confused and overwhelmed by what you’re doing and it can be hard to get problems unstuck, especially when you’re used to interacting with colleagues on a regular basis. We recommendDavid Allen’s Getting Things Donefor working efficiently and effectively from home. His simple “do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it” rule will help you power through your email inbox, set goals and plan your workflow.
The cornerstone of Getting Things Done is to plan out your day in chunks of time and set yourself regular breaks. With a properly planned workflow, you’ll have set times to work and set times to relax. This will get your efficiency levels through the roof. Trust us!
KEEP THINGS TIDY
Nothing breeds inefficiency like having a cluttered, messy workspace. You’ll either lose important documents in the mess or, worse, you’ll procrastinate on work tasks in favor of cleaning it up. We’ve all been there.
When you work from home, you have to be your own janitor so make sure you set up a daily schedule. We recommend cleaning during your set break times. It helps to take your mind off work and gets you up and moving around. Or just don’t make a mess, it’s all up to you.
STAY IN THE LOOP
The best part about working in an office is the potential for collaborating and socializing with others. That’s the real reason Google famously offers its employees free food. Long lunch lines and plenty of dining tables help great conversations to flourish and thisinspires innovative thinking.
So we suggest that you check in with your colleagues every once in a while. Fortunately, there are many great tools for staying in touch. You can tryTrello or Asana for project management,AppearIn for video calls, andSlackfor keep in touch with your team.
MANAGE DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS
It’s a lot easier to get distracted at home when there are no eyes on your screen except your own. However, digital distractions such as notifications and the temptations of checking out social media need to be kept in check sometimes.
If you feel like the temptation is too strong, we recommend proactively limiting screen time for certain websites or applications. Or you can even take it one step further and use apps likeFlipd, a research-backed productivity app that helps track your progress, block distractions and stay on task.
SEPARATE YOUR WORK TIME AND YOUR PERSONAL TIME
If you have a strong work ethic, you may feel guilty about working from home and feel the need to over-prove yourself by working harder or longer. This is a big no-no; working from home is still a normal workday, it’s just from a different location. When it’s the end of your workday, just stop. Don’t work too far beyond what you planned out of guilt or fear. Keep a good work-life balance and call it quits for the evening instead of burning the midnight oil.
This is especially true when you don’t live by yourself. Your roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, dog, cat or whoever is living with you will be thankful because you’ll be much better company.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY HOME IF YOU DON’T WANT TO
Unless you’re in quarantine, there’s no rule that says you have to stay at home all of the time. Try to mix things up and take a break once in a while. There are plenty of possibilities such as coffee shops, libraries, and even co-working spaces that you can try.
The best co-working spaces have been designed to help encourage you to work more efficiently. You’ll find an assortment of different formal and informal working spaces, including meeting rooms and concentration pods. Most co-working spaces offer free trial passes or low daily rates, so what’s stopping you? Getting out of the house every now and then may be just what you need (but maybe wait until the Corona storm is over ;-)).
You can become fantastically efficient at working from home if you follow these pointers. We’re confident that organizing your workflow, setting your break times and dressing for business will see your work output go through the roof.