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10 Tips For Working From Home

‘Working from home’ is the hottest topic in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A large number of companies have implemented work from a home policy which is a new reality, but it takes time to get used to. In the UAE alone, 70 percent of the workforce was restricted to their homes at the beginning of March this year. Even with the restrictions easing after the initial three months, things have not gone back to what they were and may never go back to it even after the pandemic is over. Working from home has been a mixed experience for employees, with most stating an increase in productivity and a few stating that an office environment is important to be professional and productive.

An interesting study conducted by Forbes Middle East showed that three-quarters of the respondents work as well or better at home, with 42 percent stating that they were as productive at home as at work and 34.3 percent showed an increase in productivity when working from home.

Working from home has its benefits from achieving greater work-life balance, increase in performance to business continuity but it also involves self-motivation to get as much work done as one would in an office setting in a given amount of time.

Working from home is a blessing in many ways, but it can become a problem if it is not managed well.

We will explore some useful tips on how to be productive when working from home. These tips will make sure that you are successful in getting your work done and maintaining your mental well-being.

  1. Have clearly defined working hours – Working from home is a commitment that requires discipline. If you want to be productive and get the maximum out of your time, then there is a need to have clearly defined working hours in place. If you feel that you are most productive early in the day then plan your working hours accordingly. In many roles, working involves other people as well where emails need to be responded to and meetings need to be held remotely within the working hours of the company. Plan your working hours as per your role and commitments.
  2. Set up a workspace – To be productive from home, the best thing to do is to set up a separate workspace where you are most comfortable and away from distractions to focus on your work. Establishing a designated comfortable workspace can help train your brain that you are in a place where work is done productively.
  3. Establish a work routine – Follow a routine when working from home similar to what you would follow at your workplace. Get up, get dressed, and prepare yourself mentally to start work. Make a schedule as you would in the office. Plan your breaks to allow yourself some rest time between your work and to ensure a fresh mind and energy to go through the working hours. Keep the housework for later as they are distracting and make you lose your focus and work rhythm.
  4. Design a process for collaboration – Working from home involves interacting with others, be it meetings, assignments, giving, or receiving feedback. There should be a clear process in place to collaborate with different people when working remotely. From using chat apps to meeting software, there should be a clear guideline for the various tools to be used for work.
  5. Prioritize your tasks – To be productive when working from home, it is important to learn how best to manage your time and prioritize your work. Spend some time every day before the start of the workday to organize your tasks and prioritize. Be objective and don’t plan more tasks than you can manage in the day.
  6. Use your peaks in productivity to your advantage – When working from home, it is important to identify when your energy levels, motivation, and concentration are high. Plan your schedule based on these factors to get the most out of your day and stay motivated. A task that is more complex and requires more focus and energy, schedule it for the morning. Spend less productive time on tasks that do not require mental effort.
  7. Communicate – With the new normal of working from home, there are many challenges that one is likely to face. The key to overcome these challenges is to communicate with your direct upline or your co-workers. Have a clear plan in place that lays out the expectations from you with regard to communicating regarding different aspects of work. This plan may evolve and change as you go along. Remember to reach out and ask for help. If communicating through video conference is the need of the hour then use that instead of email to avoid any miscommunication.
  8. Avoid distractions – Working from home can lead to developing some unproductive habits. Avoid social browsing, checking personal messages, and reading the news during work hours to be able to meet the deadlines. If you fear that you will give in to one of these distractions, use applications that can block access to social networks and websites during the workday.
  9. Use time management tools – Time management tools come in handy if you are struggling to stay focused on your task and being less productive. Tools like RescueTime and harvest will help in monitoring the amount of time dedicated to each task to help you discover how you lost time. TomatoTimer can be used to schedule the time of maximum concentration with breaks.
  10. Stay connected with your co-workers – To efficiently work from home, it is important to stay informed about any changes in the company that may impact your work. Line of communication should be kept open with your boss as well as your co-workers. This will not only help you in performing better but also help you stay connected and ease the loneliness you may experience when working from home. Scheduling calls at the beginning of the day to plan out the work with team members, catch up calls at the end of the day to see how far each of you has reached works well in staying connected.

Working from home presents an excellent opportunity to develop new professional skills that can help you in your current job as well as for the future. The benefits of working from home go far beyond just skipping the commute. You can focus on your professional life along with ensuring the welfare of your family.

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