Recent world events have spurred the previously slow trend toward working from home into an avalanche. The most current numbers from Gallup indicate that 45% of full-time employees across the country work either part of the time or entirely from home. Whether you are new to the work at home experience or are an old hand, it's always good to check your work-life balance and improve your at-home routine.
Why Having a Routine Is Imperative To Success
A work routine helps you focus. Focus makes you more productive. When it comes to productivity hacks, the first one on the list should be establishing a routine for the day.
Routines also give your day and your week direction. They enable you to plan to complete tasks that take a week or longer. Most importantly, routines allow you a fraction of control that helps you stay on target in times of stress or unpredictability.
How To Develop a Daily Routine
Remember as you develop your routine that it is a work in progress. You are allowed to reassess periodically and discard what isn't working. As you learn more working from home tips you'd like to try, you can add them to your routine. Flexibility is key to developing a routine that works for you.
Think about the way you move through your day. Do you need frequent quick breaks to run around the block? Do you need to rise early and get started right away, or does your body take time to get going in the morning? Do you like to work into the evening, or is 5:00 quitting time? Answers to these questions form the outline of your routine.
What Does Your WFH Routine Need
Of course, every work routine is different, but work from home essentials can include:
A set-aside space for your work. This can be a home office or a desk in the corner of your kitchen.
Limits. Allow yourself off-work hours and leisure time.
Social interactions. Working from home can be isolating and lonely. Take a yoga class or go to the dog park. Connect with people in person.
Items that are beautiful to you. Put a houseplant on your desk or a painting above your computer. Make your work-at-home environment inviting.
What To Avoid While Working From Home
Working from home often sounds like a dream come true. However, some pitfalls can make it unsuccessful, such as:
Failing to plan for child care. If you have young children at home, they will still need supervision during your work hours. If you can provide it, great, but if your job requires hours online in video calls, you may need a daycare.
Not approaching it like a regular job. If you were in an office, you wouldn't disappear in the middle of a nice day to play golf. Please don't do it while working at home, either.
Failing to set boundaries. Because you're at home, it can be easy to let your job bleed into your weekend or your off-hours. Close the laptop and figuratively "go home" for the day.
Forgetting to invest in yourself. Go ahead and get a nice desk. Upgrade your WiFi. Buy the comfy office chair. Your comfort matters and will make you much happier in the long run.
How To Optimize Your Routine
Now that you know routines are important and what to avoid, it's time to make your routine the best it can be. Consider these seven ideas to help you power through your workday more quickly and efficiently.
Have regularly scheduled breaks. They can be just five minutes. They can be a snack break or a yoga stretch break. Whatever you choose, it can help restart your brain and lead to clearer thinking.
Exercise every day. Walking, biking, or running, it doesn't matter what the activity is. Working at home encourages a sedentary lifestyle that isn't good for the body or the brain. Just 30 minutes a day will help.
Take care of self-care. Start your day with something that makes you happy. It could be meditation or reading a book, for example. End your day with another activity that feeds your inner life.
Look at the bigger picture. Take a moment each day to look at the remainder of the week. Are you on track to finish all your weekly goals? If not, what needs to change?
Start planning the night before. Before bedtime, write down any ideas you have for the next day's tasks. Purging them from your brain in this way often helps you sleep better.
Begin your day with the most significant tasks and most important meetings. That way, you ensure that they are completed, and you can experience less stress moving into the afternoon hours.
Keep consistent hours. Start at the same time each day and end at the same time each day. Set alarms for yourself if necessary. Before your workday starts, perform consistent getting-ready tasks, such as showering and dressing. When your workday ends, leave your workspace. You're done.
The Final Touches
You have a routine, and you have a workspace. This is an excellent beginning to your work-from-home career. Are there other steps you can take to make your job enjoyable? Absolutely. After you have the basics in place, you can explore additional options.
If your workspace does not have an attractive background and you do a lot of video conferencing, you may want to have a virtual office background. With Zoom Virtual Office, you can choose a background that makes you look professional on camera regardless of the actual state of your workspace.
How old is that computer? You can start your job with an older model, but eventually, you should move up to the latest version. As online employment becomes more common, newer computers can better handle the demands of video feeds and massive downloads.
Remember that your routine is yours, and you can change it. Continue to learn about new ways to improve your workplace productivity.