With almost the entire world under the COVID-19 pandemic siege, companies have had no option but to shut their glass doors and allow employees to work from home. It has been a restless few months for all of us and even more so for those people who are not truly accustomed to getting their work done from their humble abodes. With the widespread pandemic showing no real sign of slowing down, it is not difficult to realize that companies will be forced to allow their workforce get their jobs done from their living rooms (or bedrooms!) at least for the foreseeable future.

Amidst the utter disorder and confusion that working employees are going through, there’s a lot of stress and anxiety adding to the pile. With work now shifted from cubicles to online datasheets, and the manager still screaming through his incessant emails, it is proving to be a tough balancing act juggling work and household chores. In this article, we’ll set to provide pointers and some nifty tricks you can immediately incorporate in your daily schedule to ensure that you are as productive at home as you were in office.

1.  Get ready for office:

This may come across as silly but getting into the mindset of going to your office (even though in reality, you are not), will give you a great head-start that will see you pull through the day. As someone who has been an employee for a company and has stuck to a certain schedule of leaving home and heading to work in the office, not getting ready for your “home-office” will leave a feeling of emptiness that will take its toll on your work.

Getting ready for work will trick your mind in thinking that you are actually going to your workplace and the transition from home to a home-office will be much easier to manage.

2. Create an office environment:

We humans don’t like change and we tend to stick to what we’ve moulded ourselves into. When you’ve worked at your office cubicle for years on end, not having that physical place to do the job you do, doesn’t feel alright. Countless people struggle heavily when their workplaces get shifted and they start feeling a bit disconnected. You can overcome this to some extent by having a dedicated workspace in your house that is meant strictly for work.

It can be a separate room if you have spare one on hand, or it can be as simple as a distinct corner that nobody except you are allowed to occupy. Making such a clear demarcation between home and work will make you more productive in that particular workspace. Tricking your mind into thinking which space is personal and which one is work, will immensely benefit in getting the most out of your job.

3. Set a time table:

I know this can be greatly varied amongst people depending on the kind of work and profession they’re in, but if your work allows flexible availability, setting a time table for yourself will be a big plus. As mentioned above, it is all about having a mindset of going to your actual place of work and since you’ve been confined at home, you’d still be better off sticking to a schedule and to get your job done.

As a web design company, we have folks reporting to us remotely. We do not like to micro-manage and have given complete freedom to set their own work schedules and timetables. Setting a comfortable pre-determined schedule is infinitely better than doing the same amount of work spread over the entire span of the day. When you can simply create a timetable and define your working hours, you give yourself the rest of the day with your loved ones and to pursue personal goals.

Scheduling your work and sticking to it will improve your work productivity.

4. Keep track of your time:

Since working from home for an extended period of time may be a new journey for most of us, it is easier to get lost amongst the myriad issues that spring up during the course of the day. I agree that it is painstakingly difficult to focus entirely on a set timetable which you enthusiastically created. This is why one needs to keep a close eye on how you spend those precious hours meant solely for work. There are many apps on the market today that will make it easier to keep track of where your time is spent and where it could have been put to better use.

Clockify and DeskTime are two very popular time tracking software applications that have heaps of features such as automatic time tracking, cost calculation, custom reports etc., which will increase your overall productivity by taking if off your hands. Make use of such applications that will benefit you in creating more time for yourself and to then allocate to issues needing your attention.

5. Chunk your work:

This is a personal favorite of mine and it works wonders. Although there is no empirical data but it is commonly estimated that the attention span of a human mind is between 10 to 20 minutes. This means that if you are working on a project that demands a lot of mental muscles, it is highly likely that you will start getting frustrated and jittery by spending long hours over it, at a stretch.

An easier way for you to go about is to divide the entire leg of work into bite sized smaller tasks that are much easier to pay full attention to. This way, you’ll get your work done without taking on extra mental burden and minimize the risk of burning out. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

6. Reward yourself:

I’m truly amazed by how little people are appreciative about themselves. When you’re provided with certain tasks and you happen to complete them correctly within the given deadlines; that calls for some celebration, doesn’t it? Well, I don’t know about you but I celebrate the smaller things in life as much as I can and the feeling of positivity and motivation keeps me going for more.

The rewards do not have to be spectacular either. We’re not speaking about trophies and certificates. They can be as simple as rewarding yourself with the packet of cookies that you’ve been eyeing or just a plain cup of coffee to keep you fueled for the next challenge. Your rewards should be defined by your motivation to complete the work at hand and moving on to the next one.

Keeping your sanity and working from home is a line that needs to be cautiously toed. It is extremely easy to get caught up in household chores and let work get affected. This is especially true today when we’re all confined to our homes where everything begs our limited attention. I hope this article gave you some food for thought on how to approach work while at home and not tank your productivity down the drain.