If you are like me and spend a good portion of your week working at home, then you’ll know how easy it is to get distracted and finish the day wondering if you managed to achieve anything important (or sometimes anything at all!). Recently I’ve been looking at ways to improve my own, and my team’s, productivity when we are working at home and I’m happy to say we’ve found some hints, tips and tricks that really do help.
I’m now able to focus on the work that matters, avoid distractions and get twice as much done in the same amount of time. I’m not perfect, and occasionally I do fall off the wagon, but if you follow these simple strategies to boost your home office productivity I promise you’ll see improvements.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace:
Designate a specific area in your home you use when working (hint: not your bed!). This separation helps establish a clear boundary between professional and personal life…and means you are not tempted to put the washing away when you are working on a difficult project.
2. Ergonomics Matter:
Invest in a comfortable ergonomic chair & an adjustable sit/stand desk. Get your posture right, and spend time setting up your workstation (I highly recommend the Desky Elite ergonomic chair, which is probably my best work investment ever!)
3. Create a Daily Plan (& stick to it!).
Personally, I like to do time blocking which involves splitting the day into chunks of time and allocating a specific amount of time to each of the tasks you need to get done. That way you don’t end up tweaking a page on your website for 7 hours and having no time to work on anything else.
4. Avoid Distractions:
Identify potential distractions and address them. Turn off non-essential notifications, mute your personal phone, and establish boundaries with family members during work hours. My mum now knows that just because I am at home doesn’t mean I’m available at 11 a.m. to pop over a ‘quick’ cuppa!
5. Use the Pomodoro Technique:
Break your work into 25-minute focused sessions followed by a 5-minute break. After completing four cycles, take a longer break. This technique maintains your focus and boosts productivity.
6. Take Regular Breaks:
Don’t underestimate the power of breaks. Short breaks throughout the day help prevent burnout and improve overall productivity.
7. Stay Hydrated and Nourished:
Keep a water bottle and (healthy) snacks to stay hydrated and maintain your energy levels, otherwise, it’s far too easy to raid the pantry at 3 p.m. when hunger strikes!
8. Get your lighting right.
Move your desk near a window to benefit from natural light (natural light has been linked to improved mood and enhanced productivity). Also invest in light fittings and fixtures to ensure your home office is bright enough, especially on cloudy days, to reduce eye strain and promote focus.
Limit Social Media:
Set specific times for checking social media and stick to them. Aimless scrolling can consume a considerable amount of your productive time (trust me I know!).
Working from home can be lonely and interaction with your team helps you keep motivated and on track. Use virtual meetings, chats, and emails to maintain connections and stay aligned with your company’s goals.
Review your day before you close your laptop and start the long commute from your home office to your home! Write down your achievements and record you went off track. Make your plan for tomorrow now so you can start the day on the right foot tomorrow.
Improving productivity at home, or in the office, is a journey of trial and error, and there’s no one-size-fits-all ‘answer. However the tips above have worked well for me and my team, and others we’ve shared them with, and I hope they’ll help you too!