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How to Stay Productive When You Work From Home

Working From Home

Working from home means that all the chaos of your home (pets, family members, kids, and kitchen noises) is part of your entire workday.

Self-Discipline, concentration and work ethic are needed to successfully navigate this process.

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How to Stay Productive When You Work From Home

How to Stay Productive When You Work From Home

https://medium.com/@alexandersanto7/how-to-stay-productive-when-you-work-from-home-bd75e65ce6d5

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Key Ideas

Working From Home

Working from home means that all the chaos of your home (pets, family members, kids, and kitchen noises) is part of your entire workday.

Self-Discipline, concentration and work ethic are needed to successfully navigate this process.

Working is From Anywhere

WFH (Work From Home) eventually means you are working from coffee shops, parking lots, from your car while driving, and almost anywhere you can log in to your laptop or communicate on your phone.

No one knows where you are and what you are doing, and that can be an advantage, but also can be misused. 

Start Early and Mimic Office Time

The schedule that makes you start early, and mimic the office hours works best, as you end up being free earlier too. However, night owls may find working at night to be more productive or comfortable for them.

Maintaining a schedule in a routine, while incorporating regular exercise with it, works best.

Set Time Constraints

Set pre-determined completion targets and time constraints to finish up your work, otherwise, you will get distracted and the time it takes to complete your work will start to inflate.

Social Interruptions

Your family and your friends will not understand why you would need to prioritize work, or at what time. They can ask you for the (never-ending) tasks around the house, or come for lunch.

You will need to repeat to them that your work priorities and say 'no' quite often.

A Space at Home for Work

Devote a space solely dedicated to work, maybe a desk or a room converted into an office.

This will train your brain to stay on your assignment when you start to work, creating a physical boundary.

Getting in Work Clothes

It is common advice to get up, shower and dress for work, in your work clothes. This too creates a form of mental transition for you.

If on some days you feel you are better off in your nightclothes, working in a relaxed manner, then, by all means, do that. It is better to do what works best for you.

Your Communication is Your Life-Line

Clear communication is the life-line of remote working.

Physically, a WFH employee or a freelancer is not part of the office team, so the daily emails, chat or phone calls are the ways to represent oneself. Use these tools in the best possible manner.

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Daily Morning Huddle with Coffee Chats

An informal daily huddle where everyone is face-to-face in a virtual meeting, holding a fresh cup of coffee is a great way to start the day with purpose and energy. It requires everyone to wake up early, get dressed and make a cup of coffee.

A morning routine is great for productivity too.

Dance Parties And Music Playlists

Infusing music and dance in your breaks can add a sense of pleasure in the otherwise dull and drab routine, enhancing the immediate virtual surrounding of the extroverts.

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Psychological Effects of Working from Home
  • Loneliness and isolation. And loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms like random pain.
  • Anxiety and pressure. The bounda...
Symptoms of Depression
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even with unimportant matters.
  • Loss of interest or happiness in activities such as sex or hobbies.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy for even the smallest activities.
  • Increased cravings for food.
  • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Avoiding people.
Take Care of Your Mental Health

...while working from home:

  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling your tasks (and breaks) will help you to mentally prepare for the day.
  • Have a dedicated comfortable workspace, with a door that closes, preferably.
  • Fight the urge to stay sedentary and schedule active time to get your heart pumping.
  • Foster social connections (on the phone or via the internet, if physical contact is not possible).
  • Learn to say no. Know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload, and don’t extend yourself beyond them.
The shared context

For the whole idea of remote work to actually work, you have to develop a remote culture for your team.
And that means having a shared context: everyone plays by the same rules, you have to ...

Working from home misconceptions

Working from home does not mean you are a remote worker. For a lot of people “working from home” is synonymous with not really working, but instead sitting at home in comfy clothes and doing anything but working. Because no one is really watching you.

Rules for remote work
  • Assume remote, even if you have only 1 person that is not coming to the office. So make sure to share all the information from meetings in a written format.
  • Have a private, quiet, dedicated space for working in your home. Preferably with a door that closes.
  • Have the right digital equipment.
  • Over-communicate.
  • Make sure you get to actual meet your colleagues face to face.
  • Have a time overlap with your team.

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There is a sudden shift towards remote working in workspaces all across the world, with many people abruptly thrust towards it without warning.

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Mimic Your Office Culture

For many of us, the office becomes a fun place due to a sense of community, purpose and fun interactions that make up an office day. To try and mimic your office culture virtually:

  1. Set up Slack channels for water cooler conversation
  2. Schedule virtual movie days, when the same movie is streamed with the chat option on.
  3. Try to recreate virtual versions of what employees miss the most in office, like a coffee break, for instance.
Being Social While Remotely Working

Being social at office lubricates official conversations and the work itself. The more we spend time with colleagues having non-essential chatter, the easier our work becomes with them.

It helps to be creative and infuse fun into a virtual interaction. Any official conversation, like a manager meeting his subordinates in a one-on-one meeting, can start by asking about the person’s life (something unrelated to work), so that a connection is built.

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Personal Connection

A sense of connection and belonging are sentiments that are helpful for building “affective trust” – a form of trust based on emotional bond and interpersonal relatedness.

It vari...

Statistics On Remote Workers
  • Loneliness was reported as the biggest downside for 21% of remote employees, and one of the reasons that makes them more likely to quit.
  • Most remote managers say they’d be more inclined to stay if they had more friends at work.
  • Individuals who have 15 minutes to socialize with colleagues have a 20% increase in performance over their peers who don't.
  • Positive social relationships are correlated with better life expectancy.
Dynamic Icebreakers

If your icebreaker questions are intriguing, cheeky, humorous – the answers you receive will be, too.

Many remote teams will kick off their weekly meeting with an icebreaker question or insert it during their morning stand-up meeting. Even more popular is asking a series of icebreaker questions during the onboarding process when hiring someone.

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The Other Side

Studies on long term work-from-home workers found that lack of interaction with colleagues and the lack of an office vibe can result in a disconnection from the outer world, leading to isolation.

Working at Home

Pitfalls of working from home: 

  • Mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Feeling isolated
  • Less self-discipline
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unable to keep the boundaries between work and life.

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Getting an early start
Getting an early start

Plan your morning the night before and stick to your plan. 
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Deciding where to work
  • If you know you’re more likely to work from home, invest in comfortable furniture; you feel good it will inspire you to get work done.
  • If you want to join a local co-working space but are intimidated by the price point, ask about smaller memberships to start.
Prioritizing tasks

Don’t let your skepticism about productivity hacks get in the way of finding a technique that suits you and helps you get things done.
If you’re still having a hard time identifying priorities, try working backward by identifying work that’s definitely not a priority. Eliminate those items and assess what’s left.

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Your work style
Your work style

Your work style is the way that you go about your day-to-day tasks on the job.

Everyone has his or her own working style, or strategy for optimally performing while at work...

Independent work style

Independent work styles are efficient, disciplined and productive. They like to follow their instincts and see where they take them.

Visionary and entrepreneurial types often have an independent working style. This type is also often found in creative or scientific fields.

Cooperative working style

Those that identify with this style are organized, strategic and collaborative. They are diplomatic and are typically excellent communicators.

They are often found in relationship-oriented roles like human resources and in leadership roles. Account executives, HR directors, and project managers are often known to have a cooperative business style.

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The new normal

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Clear communication

The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.

To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.

Treat it like a real job
  • Don't lounge around in your pajamas. Treat it like a real job.
  • Create a space exclusively for work that is removed from distractions, just like you would at your office desk.
  • Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand when you're 'at work.'
  • Bookend your day. If you can't enter and leave a physical office that creates more precise boundaries, use psychological transitions like a 20-minute coffee in the morning, then exercise right after work.

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Unintended consequences
Unintended consequences

As we face weeks in lockdown, we seem to be sitting a whole lot more. Sitting for over six hours for days can cause a set of health problems. It can create cardio-metabolic problems and create i...

Schedule “movement breaks” 

Set a timer once an hour to remind you to move. Get up and move your body, walk up and down the stairs, or take a brisk loop around the block.

The movement needs to be reasonably active and needs to get you out of breath. Afterward, you will feel more productive.

Find an activity you love

Most people can find an activity that they enjoy. It could be walking the dog, doing pilates, or playing in the garden.

Find the activity you like and get value from and do that.

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