Four tips to help make working from home more productive

For some people, working from home was a dream come true. For others… not so much. Sure, you can drop the early morning commute, crammed into a train carriage like a sardine. But the social butterflies out there will be craving having someone different to talk to every day.

And there’s one big curse of working from home that we all have to admit: sometimes it doesn’t even feel like work. And that can affect our productivity. Can you say you’ve been giving it your all while you’ve been working from home? Some of you might, but we imagine plenty of you know the truth – it’s just not the same.

Remote working has had an impact on our productivity. According to this report, it’s only a 1% decrease, but that tells us something different. We could be more productive if we just changed our way of thinking. Think about how high it could be if instead of working from home we were home working.

It sounds identical, but it’s a subtle difference. Home working is when you treat your work at home as you would if you were going into the office. You might have dropped that terrible commute, but there are still ways you can prepare yourself for the working day. Here are four ways we think you could change your approach and be a more productive person.

Tip #1 – dress for success

We’re not about to tell you to put on a suit and tie while you answer emails at your dining table. But it’s all too easy for us to roll out of bed in our pyjamas and spend the day like that. The problem is you aren’t putting your mindset into work mode; it’s still in lazy bed mode.

The best thing you can do is mimic your routine for work. Set an alarm, have a shower, potentially even some breakfast, and get ready for a day of work. You don’t have to wear business casual, but put something on that feels more appropriate. It’s about changing your mindset so your body feels ready for the day ahead.

Tip #2 – treat it like work

This is a follow on from the last tip – act like you’re at work. Give yourself a structure, even if you’re working outside of the usual 9 to 5. Take breaks when appropriate, including a decent lunch, and don’t let yourself get distracted.

That’s the hard part. Social media is a huge distraction – a third of people think it’s the biggest one out there and that includes parents with kids running rampant. And that’s saying something. Another part of treating it like work is to give yourself a new ‘commute’. This should just be a buffer space before and after you work to adjust to the next stage of your day. You could go for a walk in the morning or do a workout – something to help with the transition from bed to work.

Tip #3 – create a dedicated working space

You need to find a way to separate work from leisure and this is an effective way to do it. By creating a dedicated space, you section off a zone that is work only. If you have an entire room with a door you can use, even better. The door acts as a psychological barrier, allowing you to segregate the two parts of your life easily. It’s also a good way of blocking out the kids and the dog when you need a convenient excuse. It might not work at 7 p.m. though when you really want to escape.

Not everyone has that luxury – that’s fine. Use a spare desk or your dining table. Just somewhere that, when you sit down, you know you’re at ‘work’. That means no looking at the laptop in bed or on the couch in front of the TV. Those are leisure zones and you’ll be all too tempted to stick on Holly and Phil’s gurning faces while you’re answering emails.

Tip #4 – communicate with your colleagues

A good way to keep your head in the work zone is to talk to colleagues about it. For one, it’ll help if you come across any issues. You might not be able to walk over to their desk and fire a question at them, but there’s nothing stopping you from picking up the phone to do it.

But more than half of employees feel more disconnected when working from home. Your morning Zoom calls can serve more purpose than organising the day – they can help people feel connected. It looks after their wellbeing and will positively affect their work. You can just have a casual talk about what you did last night. Not that anyone has any interesting stories about what they did these days.

By communicating clearly and effectively, you can keep your mind on work and deliver your best. With these four tips, you can put yourself in the right frame of mind and actually get some work done. People are already expecting working from home to stick around and if it does, we all need to be ready to approach it in the right way. And, if at the end of the day, you want to change back into your PJs, we won’t judge you.

One distraction you don’t need is a constantly ringing phone. If you’d rather just get on with work, doing what you do best, you can leave the phone calls to us. Our telephone answering service gives you the extra pair of hands you need. 400 of them, in fact. Get in touch on 0345 056 8888 to find out more.