Technology is constantly changing the way in which we work; and no doubt, it’s been the driver for moving workers out of the office and into their homes, to do their job. That’s why as a bunch of virtual workers we weren’t surprised to hear that a recent study found that homeworking has increased by 75% in the last decade.
The study also gave some handy tips on how to stay focused when homeworking. It prompted a virtual discussion in our Microsoft Teams channel to find out how we all stay focused, motivated and productive when working within the confines of our homes. Some of us are lucky to have furry friends to keep them company, but having some ‘pet love’ isn’t the only way to stay a happy homeworker…
Our top tips for homeworking:
- Avoid becoming house-bound. Start your morning with a walk to blow the cobwebs away. Pep yourself up at lunchtime with a potter. And, if you hit a wall, pound the streets for a few minutes to get back on track.
- Kick-start your day by writing a to-do-list…at the end of the previous working day or first thing in the morning. It will help to keep you focused.
- Feeling overwhelmed with your workload? Do the harder stuff at the start of your day. That way you’ll feel you’ve achieved something, and your day will become easier.
- Don’t let yourself get lonely. Radio is a great office buddy to keep you company. Or make yourself a playlist or listen to podcasts.
- Keep your spirits up by rewarding yourself with treats. Like a cup of tea or coffee for a job well done. And, don’t feel guilty about taking a five-minute break to pop the laundry on…remember how productive you are without the office distractions!
- Don’t become a lone ranger. Yes, an instant message to a colleague may suffice but give them a call if you’re in need of a chat. You’ll feel better and that’s what technology’s for – to connect and communicate.
- Don’t miss out on that Friday feeling. Treat yourself to an indulgent breakfast to see in the weekend, just like the office workers!
- If you’re a leader managing a virtual team, make the most of technology to bring your team together with weekly individual and team online huddles. And, use video as it engages people.
- Don’t fall victim to becoming the building’s door answerer and let your home phone ring through to voice-mail. Otherwise, you get interrupted, lose focus and become distracted.
- Feeling stressed on your own when something at work goes wrong? Breathe in for four, hold your breath for four and breathe out for four. Do it a few times and your heart rate will lower, and you’ll feel calmer.
- Set yourself up in a designated space and always work there. It keeps your ‘work hat on’ so you’re more productive and separates your work life from your home life.
- Marie Kondo isn’t a sensation for no reason! A clutter-free life brings you joy, so keep your working area tidy. The saying goes: ‘A tidy desk makes for a tidy mind’. And, that drives productivity!
- Set yourself working times. Otherwise, your day will be a long one as it’s too easy to just keep going, especially if you have Office 365 apps on your mobile phone. Remember the saying ‘just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should’!
- Put your office to bed at the end of the day. Close everything down, tidy up and walk away into your ‘home space’. To ‘shut down’ you need to literally shut your physical space down.
- You also need to signal the end of the day, beyond closing your PC. Go for a walk or to an exercise class. Try and step outside to get some fresh air. Digital detox and say: ‘good-bye work … hello evening’.
Without a doubt, the thing that makes us happy homeworkers is Microsoft Teams. We can quickly contact each other, chat, and share our thoughts. The emojis and GIFs express how we’re feeling … and it’s our Friday Team Huddle with a mid-morning cuppa that bonds us together.