Working from home – how to make it as productive as possible

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I know I’ve written about working from home before, with some tips on how to make it work – but I thought I’d re-visit that post in light of the recent Coronavirus advice for people to stay at home if they can. With the rise of people self isolating and working at home, I thought I’d write a post on how to make it as productive as possible.

Firstly, working from home is as productive as you allow it to be. Personally, I find that I’m more productive at home than I am in an office. The added flexibility of being able to work different hours, or to take your breaks when it suits you, and not when the communal kitchen is empty, or timing your lunch break so you don’t have to risk sharing the lift with Keith from Accounting, are all huge plus points.

On a serious note, though, it CAN be distracting. You’ve got all your creature comforts right there with you – so a bit of self restraint is needed for sure.

It’s important that you make an office space. Of course, this is only a temporary measure, you may not have the luxury of a home office to isolate yourself in away from the distractions. The kitchen table will probably be your go-to desk. Try to avoid sitting curled up on the sofa, or in bed. You’ll never enter a working mindset if you’re too comfortable!

Remove the immediate distractions. If it means spending 15 minutes doing to laundry or the dishes, then do it. It’ll clear your mind for the rest of the day. But limit your time on these tasks, because before you know it, it’ll be lunch time, and you’ll have achieved very little! You have to be strict with yourself.

Don’t cancel your childcare! We have both sets of Grandparents come round during the week to look after Grayson whilst Ashleigh is at work, and I’m at home working. Just because I’m home, it doesn’t mean I’m looking after Gracie. The Grandparents take on all the chores – they do his lunch, they change his bum – they let themselves in and out of the house as they please. Basically, it’s as if I’m not here, and they stick to that. Grayson knows I’m only upstairs, but he understands I’m working. It’s important that you lay down those boundaries pretty early, or you just won’t be able to get on with what you’re being paid to do! Also, ensure your mobile isn’t on mute, and that you’re visible online if you use Skype etc. Letting people know that you’re around, and available, is really important.

Make sure you try and stick to a routine. It’s too easy to work through lunch, or keep working long in to the evening. Make sure you remember that you’re still “on the clock” so to speak (if your job is like that, mine is quite flexible, which often means evenings and weekends of work in lieu of nipping off a bit early during the day for whatever reason). If you normally leave the office at 5, then close your laptop at 5 and forget about work.

Finally, enjoy it. Working from home is, despite some peoples opinions, a real luxury. If you’re not lucky enough to do it often, then embrace this opportunity, and make it work. It might open the door to a more flexible working environment in the future.

I’m sure this will all die down in a couple of weeks, but for now, let’s be realistic and take the steps we need to take to ensure we control the spread as much as possible, without panicking.

If you, like me, are a full time work-from-home(r), then please share your tips and advice in the comments for others to see.

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