With the outbreak of COVID-19, a lot of us are faced with self-isolation and remote working. The impact can be felt across many businesses in the UK, including the further education sector, as many colleges are having to close the doors to both students and staff. But it doesn't have to be a bad thing; there are many ways in which you can make working from home, suit you and your organisation. Below are our ten top tips for maximising productivity and maintaining a consistent routine when working remotely during these unprecedented times.
Working from home can be extremely challenging when all you have is your own company, which is why it is essential to stay in contact with colleagues when working remotely. In our current times of social distancing and self-isolation, there are plenty of ways to keep in touch, whether it's over Skype, through emails or by phone.
Choosing a dedicated workspace, preferably away from communal rooms and any potential distractions, is always good for your productivity. Doing so, allows you to differentiate between a workspace and a place for relaxation, in turn making it easier to switch into work mode once you enter your allocated area.
When you are working remotely, it can be tempting to shift your hours around to suit you more. However, maintaining a regular 9 to 5 working pattern is a good practice as you'll be available during the peak times of the day and it helps to keep some consistency in your everyday routine.
Understanding your pattern of behaviour when it comes to work is very important when planning out your day to day tasks, it can help you to work smarter and not harder. Scheduling your workload around this information and prioritising the most strenuous tasks during periods of high productivity would mean you accomplish a lot more, a lot easier; the less demanding tasks are what is left to deal with afterwards.
When you go into the office, you usually carry out a typical morning routine as well as your daily commute. They are both useful for waking you up entirely and getting you in the right headspace for the day. A common mistake when working remotely is that some just roll out of bed and start working in their pyjamas, not allowing their body and mind to adjust fully. Why not go for an early morning walk or do some exercise during this "commute" period as this will help you to wake up, as well as being good for your mental and physical health.
Mental and physical wellbeing while working from home is paramount. As working and living in the same space can be difficult, and it is easy to start feeling overwhelmed. So it is vital to get out of the house during your allocated breaks to experience a change of scenery so when you do go back to work, you feel refreshed and ready to continue with the day.
If you are self-isolating, so can't leave the house (For obvious reasons), there's plenty of free online resources to allow you to exercise in your home. Remember to turn off your computer screen and put your mobile phone on silent to avoid any work distractions. After all, your health and wellbeing are more important than any email that needs actioning urgently.
For those who are house sharing or now having to homeschool their children, you must make others aware of your working pattern to reduce interruptions and distractions. It can be hard enough as it is to stay focused when working remotely, so you don't need the added stress of trying to usher people out of your workspace.
For those of you with children at home now, please remember that if you colleagues hear them playing in the background this is nothing to be ashamed off, there will be millions of us in the same boat in these unprecedented times.
Planning out your daily tasks can be very useful in keeping on top of your workload. It allows you to work through tasks but more efficiently as you spend less time deciphering what exactly you need to do, enabling you to stick to time frames and routines that bring out the most productivity.
The last thing you want to happen is that you sit down at your desk on your first day of working remotely and realise that you're ill-equipped. Make sure everything that you need to work effectively from home is in your possession to avoid delays.
As we know, working from home can become challenging. You need to take regular breaks to not burn out. Being in front of a computer continuously all day isn't good for your health, mental wellbeing or productivity. Remember to give yourself a break!
Good luck to everyone working from home during this period, try to stay as motivated and productive as possible to maintain a sense of normality. Working from home is what you make it!