This article is part of a larger remote work series that focuses on working from home solutions and best practices. View the link to see more useful content.
There are many perks to working from home - flexible work hours, comfy shoes, a pantry full of snacks and no commute - but we’d also be lying if we said there weren’t any distractions that went with it.
Maybe your eleven-year-old needs help with long division, or your furry best friend won’t get off your keyboard. Or perhaps it’s the afternoon slump and your bed is calling… and just in the other room!
Whatever distractions you’re battling while working remotely, here are seven productivity hacks to help you stay on task and meet all your deadlines before it’s time to clock off.
1. Go easy on yourself
It might seem odd to start with this, but it’s worth acknowledging that we’re living in strange times. A global pandemic, massive hits to the economy, social distancing and self-isolation… This is not the normal context for remote working and it comes with a lot of added stress.
Make sure to take care of your mental and physical health while working at home, and if you’re managing remote teams, remember to prioritise workplace wellbeing, as well as productivity. And if you really just can’t focus today because there’s a lot going on in the world right now, remember that it’s okay to take some time out.
2. Schedule your time and stick to a routine
Experienced remote workers recommend scheduling your time throughout the day and sticking to a routine. Aim to start at the same time in the morning and take lunch around the same time. Set specific times to check your email and social media, and block out chunks of time to knock certain tasks off your list.
Don’t forget to schedule in proper breaks as well. Make sure you’re actually stopping work and doing something relaxing instead, like reading a book, chatting with a friend, watching TV or going for a run or walk.
Lastly, don’t give into the temptation to switch between work and home tasks throughout the day. While you’re ‘at work’, you’re at work—not fixing the leaking tap or rearranging the furniture in your living room.
3. Identify your most productive times
Not everyone is a morning person. Identifying when you’re most productive during the day will allow you to schedule your most demanding tasks for this time. Ask yourself two questions: When do I have the most amount of energy and concentration? When do I have the fewest interruptions and distractions? Once you have the answer, optimise your schedule to take advantage of it.
4. Use time management tactics
Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique? What about the 2-Minute Rule? There are numerous time management tactics out there and these are two of the best.
The Pomodoro Technique involves picking a task and setting a timer for 25 minutes (one Pomodoro). Work solidly, without giving into distractions, and then when the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break to do whatever you like. Repeat and after four Pomodoros plus breaks (approximately two hours), take a longer break. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done!
The 2-Minute Rule is even simpler. If a task takes less than two minutes to complete, do it straight away.
Start putting these tools into practice (and any others that work for you) and you’ll be flying through your task list in no time at all.
5. Switch it up with a change of scenery
A change in work environment can help to reset your focus and boost productivity. Spend an hour working in your backyard if the weather’s nice, or at the dining room table, instead of your home office. If social distancing restrictions have been eased, try working in a cafe for the morning or afternoon.
6. Declutter your workspace
A cluttered workspace could be increasing your level of distraction, hampering your creativity, causing you added stress and generally slowing down your work pace. Keeping your workspace tidy through regular cleaning and organising will help you to stay on track when working—just don’t fall into the trap of tidying as procrastination!
7. Use the right IT tools
Managing distractions is hard enough even with the right IT tools, so if technology is a continual source of frustration, of course your productivity is going to take a hit.
According to Damian Huon, General Manager from A Kyocera Group Company, Huon IT, providing the right IT tools is critical for companies if their employees are to be engaged, effective and empowered in their role. As a multi-disciplined IT firm, providing technology, strategy and support, they’ve been helping businesses implement the right IT solutions during the coronavirus crisis.
“Tools which allow staff to feel connected with each other and still part of the team are key,” he explains. “We recommend enabling group instant messaging chats, regular video calls for face-to-face contact, real-time collaboration and co-editing of documents, and targeted improvements to network speed, security and redundancy.”
Microsoft Teams has been a key tool that they’ve set up for many customers. The Team Hub allows staff to publish their status, access company resources, like news updates, instant chat, video call and share documents easily.
Contact Kyocera to understand how we can be a strategic partner in your journey to remote week. Through our partnerships we can help you set up all your remote working needs to empower your team to be as productive as possible during this time.
For more information on working from home best practices, visit our Remote Working Hub.
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