So, you’re working from home but you’re not as productive as you would like to be. Or maybe, you’re not getting anything done at all! Working from home requires a different set of skills and strategies than a traditional office setting, so you may need to adjust accordingly. Here are 5 pitfalls to avoid if you want a productive work-from-home experience.
Working in Your Pajamas
Working from home is synonymous with working in your pajamas, or that’s what many will want you to believe. However, if you want to be productive, you have to ditch the jammies, get a shower and change into decent work clothes. This ritual of preparing for a workday just like you would if you went to the office is one of the most important steps you can do for your productivity. It gives you a mental jumpstart for a productive workday. It also ensures that you won’t be caught off-guard if the boss decides to make a surprise video call.
Working on the Couch
Another common misconception about working from home is that you can work on the couch, on your bed, or a hammock in some tropical island. However, if you want to really get down to business, avoid the couch at all costs. Get yourself a workstation, whether it’s a small table and-chair combo beside your bed or a console pushed against the wall in the living room. To be productive, you need to be in the zone and it can be hard to do that if you are sitting on a comfortable couch that is more suitable for afternoon naps than serious desk work.
Working from home doesn’t mean that you’ll have limitless hours to work. The best way to handle work from home tasks is to strategize just like you would in the office. Doing the easiest job first, doing the most important tasks when you’re in the zone, and taking time to do the usual tasks like answering emails and sending out memos at the end of the day can ensure that you get stuff done when you need to ‘clock out.’
Neglecting Outside Communication
Going dark is one of the worst things you can do when working from home, whether you are managing a team or part of one. Constant communication is essential especially if members of a team can’t see each other because they’re working from different locations. Be easily accessible and train yourself to answer calls, direct messages and other types of communications based on urgency. If it’s urgent, get back to the sender right away. If not, file it under your To-Dos for the end of the day or the next day.
Not Getting Enough Sun
Working from home makes it easier to neglect things that are useful for your health, such as working out and getting enough sun. If your space is small and you don’t have that much access to sunlight during the day, it is important to consciously make an effort to go out and get some sunlight. Sunlight helps produce Vitamin D, which plays an important role in keeping you awake and alert at the right times during the day.
Sitting Down for Prolonged Periods
It’s easy to go overboard with work when you’re at home. You can be sitting down for three hours before you even noticed that all this time has passed. Prolonged periods of sitting have been found to produce the same negative effects on the body as smoking. Use a standing desk so you can switch between sitting down and standing up with ease. Schedule alarms that tell you to stand up and stretch every hour or every 45 minutes. Break up your workday with a 20-minute stretching session or a walk around the apartment or your house to get the blood flowing again.
Working from home is the new normal for thousands if not millions around the world today. However, it is not all about comfort and flexibility. If you want to remain productive you need to have a plan of action, you need to prioritize tasks, and you need to know how and when to take a break. Take these tips in mind the next time you sit down in front of your computer to get started on another day’s work.