The Fine Balance of Productivity When Working from Home
Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2020 by The Office Zen Master — No comments
Whether you normally work in office support or are currently temping, the chances are you’re still doing it from home. You’re no stranger to homeworking now, but you may have started finding that the boundaries can become blurred. You may also be starting to feel a little burned out.
Homeworking is hard
Images of Netflix and laundry days may have danced through your mind at the thought of homeworking — until it became your reality. Now you’ve found that it poses unique challenges. If you’ve started to feel the burn-out, it’s time to take a look at some of your boundaries, habits, and processes.
The work zone
The biggest issue with working from home is that there isn’t a clear work zone unless you make one. You need to have a dedicated workspace at home, one purely for work. The same boundaries need to apply to your working hours.
Treat your work zone like the office: Go to it and keep work there. It needs to stay tidy and professional — if your boss was able to teleport and see where you work, would you feel ashamed of it?
Routine is your friend
In a typical office support job, you arrive at the same time, on the same train, and follow the same routine. At home, we tend to shun routines. However, the result is that you can end up working longer hours yet somehow get less done.
Create a routine for your working hours and stick to it. Get out of your weekend mode and into work mode. Make sure domestic tasks, childcare, and distractions don’t impinge on that time.
Homeworking can feel lonely. You’re there at your laptop clicking away for several hours with minimal or zero interaction with another human being. Without being completely in touch, you may also go a long way down the wrong path, wasting time.
Make sure you welcome connections with your colleagues and managers. Chat, reach out, report, and respond.
Without the external influences of colleagues making comments, commutes feeling more tiring than usual, or meeting your friends after work, mental health problems can creep up on homeworkers. Check in with yourself each day to see how you’re doing. Go for a walk and reflect; the movement will do you good too. Eat healthily, imagining how your most judgmental colleague would comment on that stash of junk food if you were in the office.
Look out for blurred lines
When you’re working from home, it’s very easy for the lines to become blurred. You need to be vigilant. Blurred lines are the fastest route to unproductive days. Multitasking never works the way you think it will. Instead, you need to focus on work during work time, and home during home time.
If you find yourself balancing your laptop on your knee in the evening whilst trying to watch TV, or getting off a Zoom call to empty the dishwasher, the lines are blurring.
Be honest with yourself and your colleagues. Many businesses are starting to consider safe ways to bring employees back into the office. If homeworking has been a challenge for you and you feel that you’re more productive in the office, then say so. Even if you have to remain homeworking for the foreseeable future, your employer will be able to help you make the necessary changes to get you back on track.
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