Getting up or giving up: find out how to avoid significant traps of working from home and stay focused, productive and motivated for your job.
The novel COVID-19 pandemic has forced most companies to change the way they do business. Thanks to the development of technology that enables remote work, many employees have been working from home for years. Suddenly it became our new everyday life.
Work in pajamas used to be completely unthinkable, while today, it becomes a job description for many people.
Working from home is undoubtedly one of the most significant advantages regarding the flexibility of business in the 21st century, which was primarily brought by the IT sector.
In the last two months, many companies allowed employees to work from home due to the emergency caused by the pandemic.
There are many studies on this topic – one group of psychologists claims that people are more productive by working from home. In contrast, another group claims that this work can harm productivity and mental health.
The biggest myth about working from home is that people who work from home are lazy and do not work enough.
Just because they do not sit next to bosses or colleagues, skeptics assume that they do less work than employees who work in office conditions. This theory is not correct because various studies have shown that employees are often more productive at home than in an office environment.
Remote work certainly has its advantages – you don’t spend time traveling to work, you can sleep longer or enjoy a morning walk, but there are also challenges.
However, we can conclude that one of the coronavirus consequences will be precisely this planetary experiment – working from home.
The main question everyone who works from home is struggling with is how to stay productive within your own four walls?
Higher productivity and work performance
Some studies have proven that employees who work from home are more productive than those who spend time in the office.
There are two apparent reasons for this. One refers to the fact that employees have a greater desire to prove themselves to employers since they have no personal contact, and the other reason is less time spent talking to colleagues.
The benefits of working from home for employees seem obvious – less time and money spent on commuting, home-cooked meals than take-out, and the ability to complete home-based tasks during the workday, like laundry or signing for deliveries.
Flexibility improves work-life balance for workers, but it comes with substantial benefits for employers as well.
Working from home does take a certain amount of discipline. The most successful remote employees are those who take regular breaks, have set working hours, keep to-do lists and use other organizational tools.
Work when you feel most productive, depending on what type of person you are – morning, afternoon or evening.
Working from home gives you a little more flexibility to adjust work to your rhythm.
Home as an office brings many benefits
Working from home has many benefits for employers and employees.
The first and obvious benefits of working from home are that you don’t have to go to work and spend time traveling by car or public transport.
You can spend that “extra” time on a long sleep, have breakfast with less stress, or spend the morning with your family.
Remote work has more advantages over the office, including the fact that we have more free time. At home, we manage our productivity and time management.
Organizing life the way you want, reducing stress levels and indulging in productive deep focus work are benefits that we can experience while working from home.
Working from home also gives us a sense of comfort. For some employees, it is easier to start their work in the evening because they are the most productive during the night time.
This is not an option if you work in an office, on fixed working hours, so working from home can be a great advantage.
What do employees miss when they work from home?
Although it increases productivity, working from home can cause creativity loss and affect team cohesion, which makes communication and socialization difficult.
For example, Steve Jobs strongly opposed working from home, precisely because of the need for workers to be committed to the company and work together on problems.
Numerous studies have shown that, despite the many obvious benefits for workers, working from home negatively affects certain aspects of the work process.
The negative side of working from home is loneliness, which affects the decline in motivation. There is no chance for spontaneous conversation with colleagues and employees are limited to physical contact with people from their environment.
Also, it is harder for employees to balance work and free time, precisely because everything takes place in the same space.
If your family continually interrupts you and you do not have the right place in your home, the office is undoubtedly a better choice.
To make working from home more productive, here are a few essential tips:
Working from home brings with it much more flexibility during working hours. When we work from home, it is essential to preserve the work habits we have acquired.
Psychologists and doctors agree that routine has a positive impact on our health, stress levels, but also productivity.
Some form of routine gives us a sense of security and control over things we can control, such as waking up in the morning.
Don’t skip morning rituals
Humans are beings of habit, and morning rituals are proven to help us successfully prepare for the coming day. Perform your usual morning ritual.
Get up at the same time and do everything you usually do when preparing for the office. It will take you a few days to get used to it. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should skip your morning rituals.
Dress like you’re going to work
Working from home gives us the luxury of comfort. It doesn’t mean the right choice is to work in pajamas and home clothes because our brain equates them with relaxation and free time.
Put on some pants, a casual shirt or blouse and turn on work mode.
Determine the working space
When we work from home, the home environment makes it difficult for us to concentrate and focus. Cooking, cleaning, or ironing may suddenly seem like the most exciting activities in the world, making it easy for us to lose focus on work.
The first and foremost thing is to determine the space in the house that could serve as your office. When working continually from one location, our brain very quickly begin to identify it with work.
It should be a space that mentally prepares you for the work mode, whether it is a separate room or at least a table that you would use only for work.
If you are not able to separate your workspace from the common areas, we advise you to use headphones as the best solution.
Respect working hours
Working from home makes it very easy to “break” the bright line between work and private life and to lose track of time.
Just because we work from home doesn’t mean we have to work all day long. It is essential to know when to turn off the PC and have some quality time with our family or do outdoor activities.
Define the beginning and end of the working day
Although working from home offers a certain amount of flexibility, it is desirable to define the beginning and the end of the working day, even if this routine differs from the usual nine-to-five workday.
When our working day does not have a beginning and an end, it often happens that every time is working time.
Go for a walk
Staying in the fresh air has a lot of benefits to our work productivity. If you’re stuck writing a report and the words don’t “come out” quickly, maybe all you need is a short walk.
Devise a ritual that marks the end of working hours and stick to it. Turn off the laptop, go out for a walk and breathe some fresh air.
Keep in touch with colleagues
When working from home, it is essential to continually communicate with the team about your victories, challenges and priorities.
Working from home should not affect business meetings or communication with colleagues. Meet with your team or clients, quickly and easily via platforms like Slack, Hangouts or Microsoft Teams.
Our employees’ experiences of working remotely
For this blog post, we wanted to hear the employees’ work-from-home experience. We bring you a few that unite common opinions.
“I didn’t let my workday be any different from the office. I forced myself to work without even thinking about any breaks, or doing random activities such as going to the store, watching series or going for a walk within working hours.”
“I tried to get up at the same time every day. I set the daily tasks I had to do.”
“All the same, as if I were in an office. I haven’t changed anything too much other than the commute to work and the “clothes” I wear because I’m at home. I still worked the same amount of hours.”
“At first, I used some tricks to get to work from home. First, I tried the method with dressing up and make-up, as if I were going to work. After a while, I got used to the new way of working at home. But I was counting the days and looking forward to going back to the office and my old rhythm.”
“It was hard to catch the rhythm because I had problems with time organization. I used to work until 10-11 pm because I had a lot of distractions during the day (making lunch, cleaning the apartment, going to the store…). In the end, I caught the rhythm after three weeks. I started to wake up earlier and limited the breaks during work. In any case, working from home is excellent, but you must not relax too much because time goes by faster than in the office and you need to separate time for work and other activities.”
“It was great for me that I did not waste time on the trip or get ready for work. For a while, I practiced waking up earlier and having breakfast, drinking coffee with my family, and then starting to work. It was great that I had the opportunity to be with my family during lunchtime, and to recharge my batteries in nature. After a while, I fell out of the routine and needed more time to focus on work after a short break or activity. I was happy to get back to the office and have my daily rhythm again.”
Working from home is a good option for all those who need more flexible working hours. Also, when you work from home, there is no chance that your colleagues will disturb you in any way.
Many employers can also benefit if employees work from home – from reducing the cost of renting workspace to increased worker productivity.
The significant advantage is that you organize your time and choose how you will spend it, but always be sure to have an equally responsible approach to work.
The most important thing is to enjoy what you do. If you approach the job motivated, you will inevitably be fulfilled.
Surround yourself with positive people and be responsible to yourself and respectful towards your colleagues and employer.
If you are no longer productive at home or the new situation affects your business, we hope you find our tips helpful.
Remote work is a challenging transition for both you and your employees. Still, with an excellent team, you can continue to collaborate, grow your business, and connect with clients and customers.