2020 has been a major shakeup for millions of employees around the world.
The societal changes prompted by the current health crisis has seen a near-universal shift from offices to working from home, and it looks like the flexibility is here to stay.
But while the lack of a commute and greater control over your environment might be welcome, working from home can still be a tricky beast. It’s often hard to keep yourself motivated – and easy to fall into a productivity slump.
Here are five tips from Will Capper, co-founder of job search engine DirectlyApply on how to keep your head in the game while working from home.
1. Dress up
One of the benefits of working from home is that most of the time you won’t be needed to wear anything specific if you’re not on a video call. Some may have started wearing pyjamas or tracksuits for the comfort.
But you can also give yourself a sense of focus by dressing yourself professionally, even if only some of the time. A tidy shirt or a sensible dress can make you feel like you’re in the office and put you in the right headspace to get some work done.
2. Set priority to-do lists
Your calendar might list out your work for you, but there’s a clearer satisfaction in being able to tick something off your to-do list. At the start of your day, consider writing down everything you need to get done, and as you go through, make sure to tick it off.
It can be a great feeling to tackle each item and even more so when you get to see that the list is getting shorter, and finishing it brings a more definite sense of closure than just waiting to clock off at the end of the day – which also has the benefit of keeping a boundary between your work and your home life.
Task lists are also very flexible to how you work or how you want to work – you could order them based on priority to make sure you get the important stuff done first, or you could intersperse tougher jobs with easier ones to keep yourself in a comfortable rhythm. Find a pattern that works for you!
3. Don’t expect miracles
While it’s important to keep working, both for your livelihood and to keep a semblance of normality during this tough time, you also need to remember to go easy on yourself.
The current health crisis is taking a toll on everyone’s mental health and between that and the uncertainty involved, you shouldn’t expect your productivity to match what it might have been before working from home.
Make allowances to yourself in terms of expectations and remember to focus on what you do achieve rather than what you don’t, to keep your mental health in the right place.
4. Should you be considering a new role?
It might not be an ideal time to consider changing roles, but if you’re finding that working from home is making a hard job impossible or an unpleasant job unbearable, companies are still hiring and it is still an option to look for a new opportunity.
If you’re thinking of moving roles, ensure you apply to companies that mimic your personal work ethic and culture, and avoid applying for job adverts that use a lot of jargon or even set gender bias expectations – it’s important to remember that even amidst a pandemic you need to prioritise being able to exceed in your career over accepting a job for the sake of a fresh start.
5. Take small and frequent breaks
Productivity doesn’t rely on working every single second you’re awake. Sometimes your brain might need a few minutes to process a new idea or refresh itself after a tough piece of work.
It’s good not only for your mental health but also for your physical health to get up from your desk and walk around for a few minutes every so often. This is even more true without a commute, as you’re likely to be moving less on any given day.
Make sure to take care of yourself and focus on what you can achieve to get the most out of your day – keeping the right mindset is key to keeping your productivity up!
This article first appeared on Your Coffee Break.