With the current state of COVID-19 and the recent announcement from the UK government – advising businesses to adopt a work from home policy if possible – many companies in the UK followed suit, to ensure their workforce is safe.
In the end, without people, there are no businesses and without businesses, economies slow down.
Although working from home is not a new concept, it might be new for those who were never able to work from home before or who were doing it sporadically.
So, how can you ensure you keep the productivity levels high when staying at home? In other words, how can you work at home without succumbing to the obvious distractions – TV, bed, sofa?
Here are some tips to help you keep focused during these challenging times:
- Get in work mood. The best way to do it, is simply by keeping the same routine as if you were going to the office. Get out of bed, take a shower, brush your teeth, prepare breakfast, get your coffee/tea/water intake ready and off you go!
- Create a workplace at home. This is a dedicated space in the house that you know is just for work. Ensuring that you have this space will keep you focused and in control. You will be able to differentiate ‘work time’ from ‘chill time’ when you’re done with work by the end of the day. My recommendation is to keep your work area tidy and nice – just as if you were in an office, so it is easier to motivate yourself to work. If you need to invest in equipment, then do it. It will be beneficial in the long run – if you need to work from home sometimes in the future.
- Keep a to-do list. If you were already a ‘to-do list’ kind of person, this won’t be any different, but if you were not into the habit before, then now it is a good opportunity to start. Why? Because this will again help you keep focused when distractions at home appear. If you have a Microsoft Office Suite, try Microsoft Planner. Otherwise you can try Trello or Asana – they both come with free basic packages. You can also keep your team collaboration on track there.
- Keep the line of communication open. Being connected is important – especially if you’re already experiencing anxiety or worries due to the situation. In order to keep interactions going and the same sense of togetherness, make calls using video – where at all possible. Keep your line of communications open, in whichever message platform you are using – Flock, Slack, Skype for Business or Google Hangouts. Be reachable.
- Take breaks. One of the common mistakes of being at home for some of us is not getting breaks in. You get so used to just getting going that it’s easier or more ‘productive’ to stay at your desk. It’s important to keep active – even if you’re on lockdown. You don’t want to become sedentary or a ‘desk potato’. Do that home workout in the living room, open windows frequently to change air. You can also turn some house chores into breaks such as washing dishes, doing the laundry or going to the shops for house essentials in between meetings to keep you moving.
Denisse Diaz works as a Marketing Director for London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) and London Academy of Trading (LAT). She has over 11 years’ experience in marketing specialising in Digital Marketing & Strategy. She has a track record of effective leadership, having managed and coached teams of 10+ world-wide, from junior to management levels.