7 ways to improve productivity while working from home
Since the nation was put into lockdown on 26 March 2020, many South Africans who could are now working from home. We’ve all had to rethink the way we do business and set up a work-from-home office (if you didn’t already have one).
As this is fast becoming the new normal, here are some ways to improve your productivity while working from home.
1. Create a routine
With no more need for a commute, the rush of getting dressed and time needed to prepare your breakfast and lunch, it’s easy to fall out of a routine, become lazy and start working in your pajamas. Which is why it’s important to maintain a structure while working from home in order to keep track of your tasks.
Set your alarm to wake up at the same time each day. Take a shower, get dressed and make yourself a delicious cup of coffee, tea or healthy smoothie. When you enter your home office or “work zone”, get into the right mindset by checking your emails and staff communication. By creating this routine, you’ll be able to define your working and leisure time better, resulting in a more productive day.
2. Let natural light in
While working from home you might find you have a better opportunity than the office to work with natural lighting.
Natural sunlight has proven to have a variety of health benefits that include improved sleep, a better mood and mindset, as well as providing the essential Vitamin D to keep your immune system strong. All these benefits allow you to enjoy a more productive day as you’re well rested, positive and healthier.
3. Buy a plant
Adding a plant to your work-from-home space will not only supply you with more oxygen and help purify the air, but can also reduce your stress.
As many of us are finding ourselves under more pressure, your stress levels are most likely going to increase. Research has shown that when plants are present, people are less stressed and experience lower blood pressure.
Introducing a little potted plant to your work space won’t just help you feel more relaxed, but it can also make you more efficient – improving your productivity by 15%.
4. Remove clutter
You may be finding yourself at a less conventional desk while you’re working from home, it could be the kitchen counter, dining room table or even a coffee table. With your new work environment, it’s just as important to keep your work area neat and tidy like you do at the office.
Remove any unnecessary clutter that will distract you and incorporate pencil holders or storage boxes to keep your pens, pencils, headphones and documents in one place. This will not only improve your productivity during the work week, but will ensure your work won’t spill over into your leisure time at home.
5. Take little breaks
Without the need to walk a short distance to the office bathroom, get up and chat to a colleague or pop out to grab something for lunch, most people will find that they less regularly move away from their screen while working from home.
It’s therefore important not only to your health, to prevent eye strain and back pain, but also to your productivity to take a few short breaks throughout the work day. Keep your body moving and give your mind some time to rest with a walk around the house and garden, some quick stretches or head to the kitchen and make a good cup of coffee.
6. Be organised
Time has become almost an abstract construct during this period, with each day blending into the next as the life we’re used to has changed. With that being said, it’s become crucial to keep a checklist, diary or calendar while working from home so that you can be both organised and ensure tasks are completed.
By keeping yourself accountable with a physical goal tracker and to-do-list for each day, you’ll be able to know exactly how much time and effort is needed to be productive.
7. Invest in your back
Working from home has probably become more of a lifestyle staple than you had first imagined, and you might suffer it’s long-term effects if you are not properly prepared for it.
So, it’s in your work and body’s best interest that you invest in a proper chair. Upgrade whatever you’ve been sitting on for a comfortable ergonomic office chair, complete with adjustable seat height, back rest, arm rest and lumbar support features. Less back pain will help make your day a lot easier to get through and improve your productivity.