March 26th, 2020
A Teleworkers guide to maintaining productivity
By Sarah Berry - Community Manager
The world has changed. 2020 had so much promise and now we’ve had to reshape the way we look at work completely. With most companies transitioning to a teleworking model, there will be and has already been, a significant disruption in productivity. The companies that have leant on remote working or flexible office hours historically are much better suited to accommodate a dramatic shift, the magnitude of which I haven’t seen in my lifetime.
For some workers, myself included, the teleworking landscape is not new. People have transitioned standard workdays to be outside of the office, either from home, co-working spaces or hipster cafes. With this lifestyle being popular for some time now, there is plenty of great advice on how to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life. I have summarised the most important ones below.
Create a work location
Whether you have an office at home or a make-shift on your dining table, create a space that is dedicated solely to work. You must resist the temptation to work from a laptop on the couch or worse, in bed. This is not only detrimental to your health, but mentally you are starting in the negative, making you less productive. The cognitive shift from ‘on fire achieving goals’ to ‘this is where I normally binge-watch three seasons and a family value meal’’’ is staggeringly quick.
Optimize your workspace
Optimizing may be harder currently, but you should try to make your new workspace as ‘optimal’ as possible. Use a comfortable chair, raise your screens, use external keyboards, good lighting. The more comfortable you are in this space the more focused you will be on working. But more importantly, one crucial point that is handed down from generation to generation; do not work in your PJs. You’ve already decided your commitment from the get-go.
Have your shower. Brush your teeth. Put on casual work clothes. These physical steps do trigger parts in your brain to help get you in the work mindset.
Schedule your workday
Don’t change too much! Make sure you keep that alarm, if it was 5:20 am before you started working from home, keep it that way. Maintain the same regiment that you operated on when you weren’t teleworking. This will be important for you to stay in a work-focused mindset and to create that atmosphere throughout your house.
This is crucial at both ends of the workday as well, maintain a strict start and finish time. Just because the laptop is there, doesn’t mean you’re on the clock. Shut down all your tabs, press the off button and cultivate that defined work/life balance.
Maintain your To-Do List
The management of your task list becomes paramount when there are fewer people involved in the day to day proceedings. Keeping your most important tasks top-of-mind and in your queue will help keep you on track in the days and weeks ahead. Try and put the highest priority and most challenging first every day. Get them done before your brain realizes and kicks in those ten fantastic valid excuses to procrastinate.
Further, lists are a fantastic way to help decrease anxiety! Every part will help over the coming months.
“Organize and contain a sense of inner chaos, which can make your load feel more manageable.” – Psychology Today
Act more healthily
A lot of us will now have a terrific opportunity to be more active than usual. I, for one, am much more comfortable doing ten push-ups at home compared to in the office. The Heart Foundation of Australia recommends that you should get up from your desk every thirty minutes, this means you will have ample opportunity to do some light exercise. Also, the time saved in your commute and getting ready for work can be reassigned to something more movement-based.
Couple this with a healthy diet and you will keep your energy up throughout the day.
However isolated you are, you should always stay connected. Start creating the habit of regular communications with your friends, family and also your co-workers, ensuring that you’re not doing everyday solo. Your business probably has an instant messenger but if not, get one going. You can have a more personable, casual chat through a messenger that you can’t through email. Plus GIFs are more socially acceptable.
Following these steps and recognizing how you work at your best, will help increase your productivity while teleworking.
And if all else fails, there’s now an abundance of time to prank your flatmate.
Keep calm and stay safe (flatmate).