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It was quite a dream for some of us to have a chance to implement the home-office model into our jobs. With the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, many companies all over the world took the necessary measures and encouraged their employees to work from their homes. Now that many people have the opportunity, it is started to be questioned in terms of productivity and communication.
It started as a temporary measure but we don’t know if the case will be permanent for some of us, so better we all make the best out of it, right? If you are already an expert remote worker or a freelancer, we know you’ll be fine as usual. However, in case you are reading this post in your pyjamas, snuggled up in bed, you better keep reading.
It might sound simple but, it is definitely a crucial starting point for your home-office adventure: create your workspace! Having control over your workspace is a blessing if you were not happy with your surroundings in the office, so enjoy having the flexibility now. One of the biggest advantages of home workers is that they do not have to follow the existing rules in the offices.
It can even mean an end to the office temperature wars, can you imagine?
Maybe for the first time in your life, you have the ultimate control over your working environment. However, although the home environment provides great comfort, this comfort can sometimes have negative effects on productivity.
To start with, leave your bed and change your clothes, even if it’s only to impress yourself or your cat, and move to your workspace to start doing your job. If you don't have a study room, you can always create a makeshift office by choosing a corner for yourself and build space dedicated to work there. Even if it’s just half of a table anywhere in your flat or house, you will see working from a designated place will be much better than working from the sofa or bed. Spreading on the sofa makes it difficult to concentrate, don’t you agree?
If you already settled your working space, including your computer, you should move on to the step of arranging your table in a way that does not reduce your job motivation. A working environment that will allow you to have needed materials right at hand, namely the table layout, will have a positive effect on working hours and increase your motivation. So make your home office work for you to be able to work in it!
Very crowded and irregular tables, on the other hand, can negatively affect your productivity. We strongly recommend that you avoid such arrangements in your office as they create eye strain and an overwhelming work environment.
The most tempting part of working at home is to be able to determine your own schedule and hours. Even if you were told to have the same work hours as before, you should be careful: working from home can be pretty deceptive.
The point to be noted is that the concept of working hours disappears as the borders are removed at home. It is fairly important to set the hours if you want to make a start and end to your work because otherwise, if working from home is just to open your computer, you can spend the whole day working - or easily end up not working at all.
Again, leave your bed before making any encounters with work-related content. If you think answering your e-mails quickly from the bed will save you a nice breakfast later, you might be very wrong. What if the first thing you see, before even getting into the work mood, is something that can make you feel under pressure? Don’t jeopardise your mood for the rest of the day in the first minutes. Keep doing your usual routine.
Think about it: you might have saved at least an extra hour by not commuting on the way to your office. Dedicate at least half of it to yourself before answering your first e-mail. Have a coffee, take a shower, spend some time with your family or your dog, do some exercises and start your day with positive vibes. If that means spending time in your bed with your pyjamas on, that’s also fine if it works for you better, but continue doing your normal routines to wake up your mind.
Although working at home might seem to work freely and uncontrolled, the situation should be the opposite. In fact, home workers need more discipline than office workers. Because of the comfort of the home environment, there’s a chance that you can fall off the track. That can even lead to having longer working hours, which will affect your performance in the long term. In order to prevent burnout, you may want to start your home office schedule with a full focus on productivity that helps you to finish your tasks in small amounts of time.
You should set the working hours that work best for you and your company, and ignore the situations that will interrupt your productive working time. Creating a workspace, scheduling hours using time management apps, and even dressing like in the office are the first steps of a disciplined working process.
Think about the objects and situations within your home environment that might prevent you to stay focused and create a disciplined program to avoid those distracting factors. Check out some productivity tools that can help you to keep your schedule running.
Unless you have an insane superpower of multitasking skills, whatever the conditions, don't turn on the TV. Yes, it sounds attractive, but don't forget that this can ruin your whole working day, especially with all the news circulating nowadays. Not just Netflix (you didn’t even think about it, did you?) but even music with lyrics can easily distract you. Know yourself and stay focused!
As we have stated at the beginning, working from home is a blessing - if you know how to do it properly. If you think you may struggle to adapt your work routine to your home office, prioritise making yourself happy in the beginning. In the end, your mental clarity is the most important tool you have. Surround yourself with things that make you happy and follow the tricks mentioned above to prevent the possibility of burnout and even depression.
Take breaks! Don't forget to have lunch and to stay hydrated. You may find yourself sitting in the same place for hours and hours, super focused on a task without anyone chitchatting around you. However, that might be a disadvantage. Knowing how to stop working at the end of the day is just as important to start with it.
Respect your working hours and don’t overestimate your mental strength. If you have a garden or indoor plants at home, you can use this time to take care of them as well. Soil and plants always relax people. These are not distractions, but good examples of efficiency and well-being. As long as you know how to balance the two, you can feed two birds with one scone.
All these house tasks you were doing after a tiring day at work will be done when you are handling them being productive doing home office. Now you can start getting excited about all the free time after work!
Last but not least, stay social. If talking to your friends, colleagues or friends makes you happy, take the necessary time to stay social to get rid of the sense of being isolated. We all need it, so spread positivity!
All in all, we all are experiencing a novel situation in our lifestyles, and all we can do right now is to make the best out of it. This is a challenge that forces us to be more flexible, and, after all, it might not be all bad in terms of change in the business life scenery.
Don’t give up on your dreams and continue to plan your future as usual. Stay tuned, try to be more adaptive and focus on career opportunities that can be brought by these new changes. Use your free time by being productive during your work hours for your advantage. Work on your CV, create online networks (it’s totally safe) and develop your soft and technical skills during your free time!
This blog post was brought to you by Blu Selection, an international recruitment agency based in Barcelona connecting motivated international candidates with multinational companies.
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