6 Actionable Tips to Improve Productivity When Working from Home

The work from home lifestyle has a lot of allure and many things going for it. It has also been forced upon millions of people because of the COVID-19 enforced lockdown in various parts of the world.

Working from home entails certain changes in lifestyle and habits to ensure productivity, health, and a work-life balance. Those who can successfully meet the challenges of a physical, mental, and attitudinal shift will discover that working from home can be a very fulfilling and enriching experience.

Here are six important habits to inculcate in order to maximize productivity when working from home –

1. Follow a routine

In an office, the routine is decided by the job, and you must adhere to the routine. One of the biggest challenges of working from home is to follow a routine that allows for a set amount of work to be completed each day. The self-discipline required to follow a routine is what will determine your success as a work-from-home employee. The freedom of not having a boss physically present to keep tabs on you, the myriad distractions online and offline, and the autonomy to get up from your chair and take a stroll are just some of the distractions that need to be overcome. Once a routine is established, it needs to be followed such that you’re able to fulfill professional responsibilities and do your bit at home by picking up the kids from school, taking the pet dog out for a walk, grocery shopping, and sundry other things. It all begins with following a routine.

2. Have a dedicated and comfortable workspace

The workspace must be optimized for work. This means that apart from having all the essential equipment for work along with proper lighting, it must also emit those vibes that it’s meant for work. When working from home, if you cannot maintain the sanctity of the working area and it ends up getting used as a multipurpose space then it can lead to a dilution of the focus and intensity with which you wish to work. A dedicated workspace will put you in the right frame of mind to get started and get things done. At the same time, the working space must be comfortable to enable maximum productivity for the time you put in working. A comfortable working area will keep joint and back issues at bay. Once these develop, productivity can fall.

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3. Take Breaks

Breaks from work serve more than one purpose. These are an opportunity to stretch, rest your eyes, move your joints, chat up family, finish a chore quickly, take a walk, or just relax. The gap between breaks and the duration of the break will vary with the person. Some of us can sit at the computer for two hours and then maybe take a 10-minute break; others may require a 5-minute break every 40 minutes. Finding the right balance between stretches of focused work and a rejuvenating break can add to productivity in a big way.

4. Prioritize work and set targets

You must develop the ability to grade jobs at hand based on importance and urgency. This is of particular importance for freelancers who may juggle multiple gigs at a time. Some may be important to the client while others may be important to the freelancer because they pay well or because these may be long-term opportunities. Prioritizing the day’s work and setting targets allows you to meet deadlines, contribute as a team player, and adhere to a routine. Without achieving or meeting daily productivity targets, a work from home employee or service provider cannot hope to fulfill monthly or annual objectives. A good way to meet targets is to do the difficult and more challenging work when you’re at your best. A morning person works best before noon.

5. Watch your health

When working from home and not having to commute or walk in the office, it is very easy to let go of your fitness. If you’re working from home, you need to put in extra effort to retain and if possible, build on your health. The opportunity and time are there, you will have to conjure up the self discipline to ensure that you don’t gain weight, lose muscle, or develop work-related conditions such as plantar fasciitis. You can do more than one thing during the course of the workday to stay fit. An early morning jog, stretches during the course of the day, neck rotations even when seated at the workstation, yoga, or even a hearty chat with friends and family will serve as excellent tonics, mood boosters, and deliver therapeutic benefits.

6. Learn

Whether you’re a coder, an academic writer, a graphics designer, a voiceover artist, or a manager in an MNC, you need to keep your skills sharp in order to work with maximum efficiency and continue to command a price that’s fair compensation for your skills. Knowing your way around PowerPoint, Zoom, MS Excel, or even having some hardware skills can help you do more with your time. Spare time to learn about ways to perform to the best of your ability.