How to Stay Focused When Working From Home (infographic)

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have found themselves working from home this year, and this great shift in working culture may not be such a temporary change. It’s looking increasingly like working from home will continue to be part of the ‘new normal,’ as people are seeing some advantages to remote work.

For some, it still just feels safer to stay out of shared work spaces, especially if it’s not really necessary to be present in person at work. For others, the appeal of working from home as a more long term option is keeping them indoors. Working from home has the benefit of spending more time close to family, cutting out a time-consuming and costly commute, and having more control over the working day - from flexible schedules to more relaxed work attire.

However, the freedom that comes with working from home is joined by some particular challenges. While your home is your sanctuary, the place you relax and spend time with loved ones, it can also be a source of stress and distraction when it becomes your workplace, too. How do you find the right balance between work life, and home life?

How do you make sure you can stay on-task when you need to, and switch off when you’re done for the day?

If you are worried about staying focused and productive when working from home, don’t panic. You are not alone. While this is a new challenge to many workers, there are also many seasoned home workers who have useful expert advice on making the most of your at-home working life.

Time Management

If sticking to a 9-5 pattern works for you, then by all means stick with that. However, working from home means that you have the flexibility to arrange your working day according to the schedule that makes the most sense to your specific working style. What times of day do you feel most focused, creative, or sociable, for example? There’s lots of information about how people’s productivity can be attuned to natural circadian rhythms, which could help you tailor your routine to suit your needs.

Workspace

Creating a working environment that helps you to focus on your work with minimum distractions, is really important. If possible, assign a specific room as your ‘office’ space or, if you don’t have a whole room free, adopt a quiet nook or corner of a room with as little ‘traffic’ as possible. If you can, keep the door closed, or use a ‘do not disturb’ sign to deter human distractions from housemates, partners, and children.

It really helps to establish a consistent work space that you can associate with work, so that you can ‘leave the office’ at the end of your working day, setting a clear boundary to balance work and life at home. Situating yourself by a window to have natural light, and adding a little greenery with a low-maintenance succulent plant, can have a positive impact on your mental health, stress levels, and productivity.

Technology

Wifi is the new bottom line when it comes to the fundamental needs of the modern home office. Whatever field of work you are in, you are going to need a strong and reliable internet connection. This is even more important if you are sharing your connection with another adult working from home, or children who need to get online for their studies. Think about getting a wifi repeater device to boost your signal around the house.

Digital distractions are a major challenge to anyone working online, but especially so when home-working, since it can feel socially isolating working alone. Try to be aware of distractions from messages, notifications, and social media, and consider using time-controlled apps to restrict your exposure to beeps throughout your working day.

Communication

While too much online chatting and scrolling can be a huge time-drain, it is still important to feel connected to other people. Colleagues are often also friends, and checking in with each other can really boost morale, show solidarity in isolation, and feel part of something. Bouncing ideas off and collaborating with other people is great for productivity, too.

Exercise

Although getting out of bed can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle, the commute from bed to home-office desk is hardly a workout. When your job involves sitting at the same chair and focusing on a screen for hours on end, you can start to feel disconnected physically. It’s important to take care of your health, and remember to move around from time to time. Even a brief period of exercise can help get the blood flowing to your brain, sharpen your focus, and refresh your energy.

You could set a timer to remind you to take a little walk or do a short routine of stretches every hour, or set aside a chunk of time to do a proper workout, some yoga, or some light cardio activity. This could be at the beginning or end of the day, or during your lunch break - remember that working from home means that you have the freedom to decide how to spend your time, so don’t forget to make healthy decisions.

Take a look at this smart infographic by Headway Capital for some more useful tips to help you make the most out of your time working from home.

Productive remote workers do these 8 simple things every day (infographic)

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