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7 Tips for Staying Productive Whilst Working From Home

White woman with blonde hair sits in front of a large computer screen in a working from home setting. She reaches for a second screen to her left.

Working from home can be quite a challenge, particularly staying productive when it’s not an approach to work your used to. Our working from home tips will help you stay productive and remain in tune with your wellbeing.

1. Set a working from home routine that works for you

Establishing a solid working from home routine will help you maintain productivity. It might seem like a great idea to roll out of bed and stumble to your laptop five minutes before work starts, but there’s a reason you don’t do that when going into a workplace.

Eat breakfast, have a cup of tea, feed your pets, and get everything switched on ready for the day to start. You could turn your morning commute into a walk, listening to your favourite podcast or radio station and enjoying the many benefits you can have from being outdoors.

There is also merit in setting up an end of the day routine, where you make a conscious effort to switch off from the day. That might involve physically switching everything off and putting your work equipment away, or perhaps mark the end of the day with another walk outside; the more vitamin D we can get the better, especially in the winter months.

Make sure you maintain regular working hours and try hard not to work beyond those hours. Working from home means there is very little physical separation from work, affecting out mental separation too. Keeping to your set hours and having a set routine will help maintain those boundaries.

Whatever your routine, make sure it works for you and revise as and when you need to.

2. Create an effective workspace and culture in your home

Best case scenario when you’re working from home is to have a dedicated space for working that means you can shut the door on your work and create that boundary between home life and work life. A whole room might not be possible, but a dedicated workspace will definitely support your productivity. Invest in a desk if you don’t already have one, and make sure your seat is conducive of a safe, ergonomic working environment.

If you share your home with another person, it might be worth laying out some ground rules to ensure neither of you are disturbed from particularly important tasks or meetings. Take time to discuss each of your needs and be respectful during the working day. But also, enjoy the extra time you get to spend with your loved one at lunchtimes; a lovely perk of working from home.

Related article: 7 tips for virtual meetings and online collaborations

3. Set boundaries and stick to them

Breaks were important before the pandemic, and now they’re really important. We would take breaks in our workplace: stopping to chat to a colleague, going to get a hot drink, having an impromptu meeting with your team. There’s no need to stop that good habit now that you’re working from home.

We’re spending inordinate amounts of time staring at screens since the pandemic and our eyes and wellbeing need the break. For your eyes, follow the 20-20-20 model, and every 20 minutes, look at a distance of at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

For your wellbeing, take your lunch, the whole of it. Better yet, leave the house during your lunch break to enjoy the benefits of spending time outdoors. If you work from home, you can find yourself not leaving the home for prolonged periods of time – make leaving your home part of your routine.

If you find your boundaries slipping, and you’re not giving yourself the breaks that are needed, check in with yourself and see what you need to change to make sure your breaks happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you start to feel the effects of burnout, as this is a sure sign you need more boundaries in your working from home life.

4. Consciously make effort to connect with colleagues

Working from home can feel incredibly lonely. But it doesn’t have to. If you’re finding you’re forgetting to socialise with your colleagues unless it’s in a meeting, schedule in socialising time on a weekly basis – a Friday afternoon is a great time for this. Spend half an hour catching up with your work pals with little to no shop talk.

Don’t be afraid to contact your manager or HR to ask for what you need. Yes, doing that digitally might seem strange to begin with. But you should be provided with everything you need to get your job done effectively, and that includes wellbeing support.

If you’re lucky enough to still have face-to-face time with your colleagues, make the most of that. Nothing beats time in-person and setting up a schedule for when you do that will help you feel less alone when you’re working from home.

5. Get to know your working from home self

Working from home is a big change for some people and you need to get to know the good and bad habits your working from home self falls into.

Work out when you are most productive; for some this will be early in the morning, for others it will be an hour after their first coffee. Whenever it is, schedule your most important tasks for that time.

For ultimate productivity when working from home, it might help to plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time. Make a list of your tasks and decide your order and how long each one will take. You could even match your music to the task at hand – there are lots of playlists available on YouTube and Spotify designed specifically for concentration.

6. Enjoy working from home

Working from home has made working life a lot more accessible for many, and it comes with many other perks. You can bake on your lunchtime, you miss the stressful rush hour traffic, and your favourite mug will never be used by another! Enjoy the joys of doing your job from the comfort of your own home.

7. Be kind to yourself

A lesson for life; be kind to yourself. Working from home is a big adjustment, and whilst it comes with lots of perks, it can also be difficult to draw boundaries between home and work. Get into a routine of checking in with your state of mental health, and never be afraid to ask for help. Burnout is a very real problem, especially now that we’re digitally signed in for huge amounts of the day.

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