How to Maximize Productivity In Your Workspace When You’re Working Remotely
During this time of uncertainty and chaos, it can sometimes feel like an ever-culminating cloud of darkness and stress has taken up a permanent residence above the dining room table that has now also become your make-shift office. Between your overheated laptop, scattered papers, and countless cups of coffee (or perhaps what claims to be “calming” tea) your typical escape from your nine to five has somehow morphed into a “work away from work.” Settling into this transitory state where the line between your home and work life has become temporarily and disturbingly blurred can be unsettling and overwhelming. While the duration of this peculiar situation is indefinite, we do have some tips for setting yourself up for success in the present with a newly amalgamated working and living space. Our new reality doesn’t have to seem as bleak if we only seek the glimmers of beaming normalcy and positivity that cut through the darkness.
- Choose a workspace that effectively simulates your office experience
Whilst working from home it is important to create a separated working environment in order to place yourself in the best mindset for productivity. This means choosing a place to work that is far enough away from your bed that it can be disassociated with the sensations of rest and relaxation and realign more with the grind of conference calls and answering emails. If you don’t have a desk in your living space, choose a set-up where you can sit up straight and where you can replicate your regular office set-up as closely as you can—the dining room table, the kitchen counter, or even the coffee table are all viable options!
Truly simulating your office experience also necessitates setting up your work materials in a way that mirrors your setup at the office. By placing your laptop and papers where they usually would be in your office, you can help your mind place itself in the right position to be as productive as you are in your office at your dining room table.
- Adhere to the structure of your typical day at the office
It is as important to organize your time in a way that replicates its distribution in the workplace as it is to organize your physical environment. Without the typical cues of physical communication and in-person meetings, it can be difficult to know when to stop and move on to the next thing before you’re left burnt out and dry of all inspiration and motivation. This is why it is important to stay on a schedule that closely resembles how you would usually spend your time in the office. Allocate your various tasks to different time stamps throughout the day on a working checklist or calendar and leave time for your lunch break where you usually would in the office. It is also important that you “clock in” and “clock out” at your usual times in order promote a focused and productive mindset that will keep you buoyed amidst the world of distractions that your home presents.
- Actually take those scheduled breaks!
Although it can sometimes be hard to pull yourself away from the turbulent flow of work, it is important to take at least those few minutes of respite to avoid being swept over the edge of overworking. For many full-time employees in the U.S., an hour for lunch and at least two 15-minute breaks seems to be the effective standard for balancing time for work with time for breathing. If you don’t give yourself the necessary time away from your laptop and phone, it becomes easier and easier to work yourself into an uninspiring fog for the duration of self-isolation. So avoid that dark space entirely and allow yourself the full time to remain in repose after hours of work to stimulate even more insightful contributions after you’ve given your mind (and yourself) the time it needs to breathe!
- Set some rules and regulations for your new “officemates”
Another challenge to working remotely manifests in the people with whom you now have to share a workspace with. Make sure that that everyone who happens to now be working from home understands the boundaries that are in place in this new office setup. Every person who is working within the home should have their own workspace (if that is feasible) or should at least acknowledge that there is a set time for where the environment needs to be quiet and free from distractions. Remember: when doubling as a home and working environment, there is a time for living and a time for working that should not merge in this situation.
- Keep it positive!
It’s easy to fall in line with the infinite onslaught of negativity on social media that condemn our reality to the realm of darkness and despair, but if we cannot even imagine a better future, we will never be able to create one. So, lastly, it is important to remember whilst our present situation necessitates self-isolation and working remotely that this time is merely another chapter in future history books. Time continues its steady forward motion and just as women have done for decades upon decades, we will persist in our work efforts and positive affirmations (even if we have to do it at our coffee tables).