Forgetting the classic 9-5 and putting on computer restrictions could be the secret to being more productive when working from home, according to career experts.
With millions of Brits now regularly working from home, office furniture retailer, Furniture At Work, has gathered together advice from several experts on maintaining productivity in the home office.
Rather than the usual cliches to help you concentrate, the experts have focused on some more unusual options for those who’ve tried everything across two years of the pandemic – with some surprising suggestions.
- Take a break every hour
Working from home can make some workers feel like they need to do more to prove they’re working. Lee Biggins, Founder and CEO of CV-Library, suggests: “We advise taking a five-minute break at the end of each hour. This will help you concentrate on your daily tasks, while still giving you a much-needed breather. After all, even your office-based colleagues will stop for a tea break.”
- Forget the structured workday
Having a hectic morning with the kids? Then start your day late and work into the evening. Planning your work around your life and not the other way around is key. Liz Sebag-Montefiore, Executive Coach, Career Coach and Director of HR consultancy 10Eighty, says: “It’s important to support different working patterns. Employers need to think about what can be adjusted in the workplace to reduce stress e.g. flexible working hours.”
- Do more of what you enjoy
Biggins offers: “When you’re done with your working day, it can be really easy to focus on all the other jobs that you need to do around the house. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore other activities that are good for your mental health.” Take some time out to do a workout, go for a walk or watch your favourite TV show, and if you need to do that in the middle of the day, that’s fine too.
- Ask for computer restrictions
Many work computers will have restrictions on things like social media. If yours doesn’t then consider asking for them or adding them to remove temptation. Biggins recommends: “If you’re easily distracted by social media or surfing the internet, you might want to ask your company to provide a laptop with restricted Internet access. We know it can be tough to avoid Netflix when you’re working from home and using a restricted access laptop will help keep you on track.”
- Plan fun activities ahead of time
Giving yourself something to look forward to can help increase motivation. If you have children at home, plan in some fun activities with them to keep them distracted when they’re bored. Louise-Deverell Smith, founder of the flexible working platform Daisy Chain: “Why not plan out several days’ worth of fun activities in advance? Let the children know the plans so they can get excited.”
A spokesperson from Furniture at Work commented: “As frustrating as it may be, many people now find themselves working from home again based on government guidance. As we all do our bit to help in the pandemic, we know those same old difficulties around motivation in your home office are likely to rear their head. That’s why we wanted to offer some solutions that differ from the clichés and help workers change their mindset. So, take a break, plan a weekend away and work the hours that fit your life, you could find it changes everything.”