Life has changed dramatically in recent months, and many of you have had to adjust to working from home. As a company that has been home-based from the start and staffed with team members working across the country, we know a thing or two about remaining productive in this unique work environment.
The truth is, working from home can be a challenging thing, even for those of us who have always worked this way. Distractions are everywhere and it is easy to get sidetracked by the various tasks you have on your personal to-do list. And, let’s be honest, it is sometimes tempting to stay in bed all day.
As you continue to adjust to your current work environment, we want to share some advice on how you can stay focused and remain productive while working from home.
1. Create a routine.
Having a daily routine helps get your mind in work mode. When you establish a schedule with specific times to begin the day, take breaks and end the day, you are able to focus more easily. This allows you to replicate your office environment at home.
2. Create a space specifically for work.
Dedicate a room in your home as an office. Having a dedicated space will allow you to more easily focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by things going on in your home. It allows you to focus instead of thinking about all the things waiting for you outside the office.
3. Take regular breaks.
According to Forbes, without taking adequate breaks from work, employee productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance begin to suffer. Overworked employees often deal with chronic stress that can easily lead to job burnout. You don’t want to burn out, so take time for a few short breaks throughout the day. Go for a walk around the block, get a drink of water, call a friend to say hi … these are just a few ways to break up your day, and help you come back refreshed and ready to tackle the next task.
4. Get some fresh air.
Getting outside helps reenergize you and refocus your thoughts. So when you’re taking a break (see tip #3), we suggest going outside! Fresh air also affects your health. According to the Harvard Business Review, numerous studies have shown that the amount of ventilation, or fresh outdoor air brought inside, is a critical determinant of health. Good ventilation has been shown to reduce sick building syndrome symptoms, cut absenteeism and even reduce infectious disease transmission.
5. Get dressed for the day.
When you’re not going to the office every day, it can be easy to work in sweatpants. Take it from us, we know how tempting it is to stay in sweatpants when your co-workers won’t see you! But we strongly encourage you to get dressed for the day, even if it’s just jeans and a t-shirt. Getting ready for the day can help you feel like you are prepared to take on the day! It can also help get your mind in work mode. Typically, the process of preparing for work helps us go through the motions and prepare for the day ahead, but establishing a new routine can sometimes free up more time and inspire productivity, according to The Today Show.
6. Define your office hours.
Set a time every day that is dedicated to working. For some, this could be 9-5; others may only block off a few hours, depending on their situation. Regardless of the hours you set, stick to them. Do not work earlier than the start time, and end your day at the time you designate. Keeping set hours helps you focus and stay engaged during the day. It also helps avoid burnout. Studies have shown that people who work from home often work more hours and take fewer breaks than when they go to an office. It’s important to establish these office hours so you do not overwork yourself.
We understand that working from home has its perks and challenges. But believe us when we say you can be successful at it. We’ve been doing it for the last 30 years! While we wait for things to get back to normal, we hope these tips help you create a focused and productive work environment.
Megan grew up in Castle Rock, Colo. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and minors in global business and non-profit from the University of Northern Colorado. Megan is BluePrint’s materials coordinator and social media manager. She works on website updates for clients and manages their social media platforms, as well as gathers materials for publications. Learn more about Megan.
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