I’ve actually worked from home for almost 2 years and it definitely takes a bit to get in a rhythm. Here are some interesting WFH (work from home) stats from Q1 of 2020… pre-coronavirus apocalypse.
Remote Work Stats
- 40% of people feel the greatest benefit of remote work is the flexible schedule.
- 16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers.
- Companies allowing remote work have 25% lower employee turnover those that don’t.
- 76% of workers would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours.
- People who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive.
- The number of people who work from home has increased by 140% since 2005.
- 4.3 million people in the USA work from home at least half the time.
The numbers don’t lie. We are progressing towards a remote working world and for many of us right now, our home has become our office. So how can you succeed in this new setting? Holly Reisem Hanna, the founder of The Work at Home Woman blog states, “Individuals need to learn best work at home practices, like setting office hours, having a dedicated office space, avoiding home-bound distractions, and actually dressing as if you were going to an office,” she says. “This will help keep your mindset sharp and focused.” With that said, here are some corona proof tips on how to truly succeed while working remote.
Don’t Stay in Your Pajamas
My day goes 1000% better when I get ready for the day and plan outings. I’ll plan a lunch outing… or a lunch take-out pick up outing as of this week… and make sure I have scheduled breaks throughout the day that get me out of the house. These could be going to Starbucks and getting a drink, or taking 15 minutes for a nice walk outside. A change of scenery gives me the new energy I need to continue to be productive.
Create a Dedicated Work Space
Experts suggest creating this space away from a bed or TV, or your fridge. Just kidding about the fridge part… but your work space should feel like a true work environment. When working from home, it’s important to have great WIFI and a great computer. Being tech savvy is key. Hanna says. “A broken down computer or Internet connection equals no work getting done, so you need to be able to navigate your way around tech issues and concerns.” Since you don’t have a coworker sitting next to you to help you with computer issues, become an expert through Google and YouTube. Learn how to self-sufficiently fix tech problems.
Plan Your Day
In addition to planning out your actual work load, it’s important to also plan out meal times, breaks, gym time, errand times, etc. I start work at 8, eat breakfast at 10 (that’s when my stomach starts grumbling), lunch at 12, break at 3 and then I head to the gym at 5. I love having an outing planned right after my work day so that I feel accomplished and get a change of scenery. Social distancing is making the gym a little difficult right now so opt for a jog instead. Hanna agrees that planning ahead is key. “Having readily available snacks for consumption, planning children’s activities or child care in advance, and having a separate office space can all help minimize distractions, but ultimately it is up to you to stay focused.”
If we aren’t careful, our phones can easily turn from useful tools into tiny monsters of distraction and mayhem. Having said that, a quick scroll on Facebook or playing 5 minutes of a game can actually rejuvenate your brain and help with productivity. So how can you find a balance? The secret lies in setting limits and keeping distractions to a minimum. Timers are your best friend when it comes to productivity. Set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes and just allow yourself to relax. Scroll social media to your heart’s content. Read funny memes. Play back your mom in Words with Friends. And then stop once the timer goes off. Return to work and limit distractions until your next scheduled break.
A great method to help you reduce mindless activities would be to keep track of your work-related activities for a few weeks. There are lots of great templates out there or you can just use your work calendar. Record your daily activities and then take time daily or weekly to analyze any wasted time. From there you can make plans to improve by using timers, scheduling set breaks throughout your day and limiting distractions.
Take a Productivity Test
We are all probably aware of what our distractions are when it comes to productivity, but do we know our strengths? What hours of the day are you most productive? What fuels your productivity? Positivity fuels productivity while negativity can send you in a downward spiral. Here’s a great test to help you understand your strengths. There are so many tests like this one on the internet so spend time each week taking a new one and learning from the results.
Disconnect From Your Phone
It’s amazing that we live in a time where we can essentially do all of our work from the small device in our hands. However, this constant access can make it hard to disconnect and recharge. So moral of the story, it’s important to consciously take time to step away from technology and decompress. Sometimes, I’ll leave my phone upstairs while I’m working downstairs. I find this allows me to get a project done with more focus. Then when the project is done, I can catch up on missed calls or texts. When you finish working for the day, don’t check your work email or apps… take a break.
Get Up and Move
This is personally my favorite method of improving productivity. It’s basically the same idea as standing up and walking to the water cooler, but it’s taking things a few steps further (literally). Studies have shown that daily exercise is one of the best ways to lead a healthier and happier life. You’ll benefit from increased memory, concentration and mental sharpness. An interesting study from Psychology Today suggests that those who make it a priority to exercise, earn more than those who don’t. Now this doesn’t mean you have to be hitting an hour long spin class every day. Maybe you just start with 3 times a week and focus on getting your heart rate up. Workplace success and exercise definitely are linked together.
Another side to this whole move your body thing is using exercise throughout the day to boost your productivity. I love to go on a 15 minute walk, get some fresh air, and then come back feeling completely refreshed. More and more companies are incorporating yoga rooms, treadmills, stationary bikes and more, with the intent of improving productivity. If you’re at home, there are hundreds of great online workout classes, yoga sessions and more that you can watch for free. Here’s a list of some great online workout resources… most of these don’t even require any equipment. One of my goals is to start incorporating a yoga stretch session in my afternoon routine.
Block out Time
Steven Sande, author of the Unofficial Apple Weblog, is a big fan of the technique, stating, “Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.” One of the best ways to increase productivity is by blocking out time throughout your day. It’s a tried and true method to help you avoid unhelpful multitasking and distractions. By planning out your time, you gain control over your day and can work accordingly. One of our favorite time-management methods is called the Pomodoro Technique. Basically, you break all your tasks down into 25 minute blocks of time. Between each break you give yourself a 5 minute break. And after completing 4 Pomodoro blocks, you give yourself a 20-30 minute break. Here’s a 5 step overview of how to implement the Pomodoro technique:
- Choose your task and total time allotted to accomplishing/working on it.
- Set a timer to 25 minutes.
- Work on that set task for 25 minutes, avoiding all distractions.
- Recharge by taking a 5 minute break.
- Complete 4 Pomodoros and then take a 20-30 minute break. You deserve it!
Some of the benefits to incorporating the Pomodoro Technique are: Getting rid of too much multitasking, increasing your focus, accomplishing more, avoiding the perfectionist mindset, building your concentration and decreasing your stress levels.
Don’t rely on your brain to remember all of the tasks and responsibilities you have. That’s too much to ask of one brain. Instead, make a list. Actually, make multiple lists for different areas of your work. Keep lists for various projects. Break down large lists into smaller lists. Make daily lists addressing the day’s most urgent items. Edit your lists. Make top priority lists. Keep lists of your routine responsibilities that you have to check off every day. Lists are your friend.
Wash Your Hands
Best of luck working from home during these uncertain times and we hope these tips help make it a great experience! We’re still working hard (from home) here at Lift Local and are here to help you with any marketing questions you might have.