More and more South Africans are working from home or working remotely. This has obvious advantages, like not having to waste time sitting in traffic.
However, it also comes with some challenges. A home environment is very different from an office space, and it can be difficult to stay focused.
No matter what work you do, try these tips for working more productively from home.
1 | Create a routine
Often, one of the perks from working from home is having a more flexible schedule but it still helps to start with a basic routine to give your day structure.
2 | Have a dedicated workspace
It’s not always possible to have a separate office but you should at least have a dedicated desk for your computer and paperwork.
3 | Invest in ergonomic furniture
It’s worth investing in a certified ergonomic chair and possibly even a standing desk or ergonomic keyboard if you’re going to be spending a lot of time at your desk.
4 | Keep your desk tidy
A cluttered or messy desk can be a distraction. Try to keep your desk clear of unnecessary paperwork, files, empty coffee mugs or anything else that might get in the way.
5 | Use task management software
Online apps that help you manage and track your tasks, such as Trello, can be a lifesaver. At a glance, you can see all your current tasks, their deadlines and the order of priority.
6 | Consider time tracking
It doesn’t suit everyone, but some people like to work with a time tracker such as Toggl. This is particularly useful for freelancers who bill by the hour.
7 | Schedule a day for meetings
Where possible, assign a day of the week for meetings. This way, you’ll know ahead of time which day you’ll have less time for other tasks and you can plan around it.
8 | Check your email at specific intervals
A common trick for avoiding distractions is to only open your email every hour. This way you don’t stop what you’re busy with to read an email that might not be important.
9 | Avoid social media
Social media is fairly addictive and scrolling through your various timelines can eat up a lot of your day. Log out of your accounts and remove visible bookmarks to avoid temptation.
10 | Work hours that suit your body clock
Working from home allows you to work during your most productive time of the day. Some of us are morning people while others work better in the afternoon or evening.
11 | Take breaks from your screen
Staring at a screen for hours on end is not good for our eyes or posture. Take multiple short breaks throughout the day to stretch and walk around a bit.
12 | Create the right ambience
Some people like to listen to music while others prefer complete silence. Find out which mood you prefer and recreate it for your work environment.
13 | Minimise distractions
This can be tricky depending on your home situation but try to keep kids, pets and roommates out of your workspace while you’re working.
14 | Try working offsite occasionally
Working from home can feel isolating sometimes so take an occasional day and work somewhere else. Coffee shops, the library or business centres are popular options.
15 | Turn off notifications
Some notifications are too important to turn off but try to minimise the number of pop-ups and push notifications you receive while working.
16 | Make calls at a scheduled time
Phone calls can end up taking more time than you thought they would so try to set aside some time, preferably towards the end of the day, to get them all done.
17 | Avoid unhealthy snacking
Having a kitchen full of food only a few steps away can result in some bad eating habits. Keep healthy snacks at your desk and avoid big heavy lunches which can sap your energy.
18 | Drink plenty of water
It’s common to forget to drink water when working which can lead to headaches and lethargy. Keep a reusable water bottle on your desk to remind yourself to drink.
19 | Take your lunch break
It can be tempting to work through your lunch break when you’re very busy but your lunch break is important for recharging and refuelling to avoid burnout.
20 | Try to take a mental health day occasionally
It’s very common for all workers to experience physical or mental burnout. Take a day or half-day and go and do something to take your mind off work and deadlines for a while.
21 | Focus on one task at a time
You may have a very long to-do list but trying to do too many things at once just results in a long list of half-completed tasks.
22 | Have a filing system for documentation
Working from home doesn’t eliminate paperwork, unfortunately. Set up a filing system specifically for work documents so they don’t get mixed up with personal documentation.
23 | Use offsite storage
Clutter is the enemy of productivity. Instead of having boxes and files with documentation and archives lying around, store these items securely in an offsite storage unit.
At XtraSpace, we offer clean, secure self-storage units that are ideal for storing furniture and other items, so you can create a neat, uncluttered home office – one that helps you work more productively from home. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.