Are you at home during this quarantine and want to improve your productivity? With the help of Sandra Rodrigues, a psychologist and consultant at FC & Integrare, we prepared practical and simple tips to help you out.
1 – Help your brain: Create processes and routines
The daily routine of drinking coffee and commuting to work helps the brain understand that a new day has begun. At home, these dynamics should remain the same. The brain requires certain routines for it to “think” the same way. Regardless of where you choose to work, be it the kitchen, office or bedroom, the important thing is to make sure it does not affect your productivity.
Beware of distractions: this is one of the biggest obstacles in home office activities and to avoid this problem, try to set apart specific times for other activities. For example: if you need to wash the dishes, do it after working hours.
Good news: a study conducted in the USA by Airtasker, an employment platform, with over 1,000 individuals shows the benefits of working from home. Data from the interviewed group indicate that their productivity levels were, on average, 10 minutes higher than employees working at the office. Additionally, those working from home report an average of 27 minutes spent with “distractions”, such as using social networks, sending messages and visiting websites, while at the office this number reaches 37 minutes.
2 – Choose a suitable work location
The environment you choose to work in should be at a pleasant one, with temperatures ranging from 20ºC to 25ºC. In addition, studies that claim that using low lighting improves creativity.
It is also important to be in a comfortable position, using a chair that allows you can sit for several hours without overloading your spine. Also have a supporting desk or table to place the materials necessary for your day’s work.
3 – Prepare a list of activities and put it on paper
Preparing a to-do list will help you get more organized, productive and motivated during these days of confinement.
Set long-term goals but list activities that need to be executed in shorter periods. Remember that, now, more than ever, it is necessary to take things one day at a time.
As you execute each activity, you will notice progress and become motivated.
4 – Set deadlines for your tasks
Working from home also requires deadlines. Don’t forget that it is healthy to take breaks that stimulate physical and mental rest.
Another tip is to create a shared agenda with your co-workers, so they know when you are available or not. If you have children, for example, you will need to include their routine in your schedule as well.
In addition, it is important to set aside time for friends and family since working from home does not mean working the entire time.
5– Stay connected
Using only e-mails, which is a key tool in daily corporate routines, as the main communication tool in home office activities is not enough as teams need to be in tune and connected. E-mail is important to validate or transmit general instructions. But if you want to ask quick questions, prefer Skype Business, for example.
Having brainstorming discussions or even formal meetings requires face-to-face conversations and video conferencing can be very useful. There are many free tools available on the market for this type of interaction.
6- Take strategic breaks
When you finish a task or notice that you are tired or tense, take a break, get up, stretch and have a cup of coffee or tea. Take deep breaths and try to relax your back and shoulders. Take the time to feel physically and mentally refreshed, but don’t extend your break to the point that you lose your productivity. This break should be equivalent to the ones you take for coffee and to stretch your legs at the office.
7- Limit cell phones and other sources of distraction
Identify the objects that distract you and limit their use: for example WhatsApp groups and other social media networks. Set times for you to use these channels instead of looking at them each time a notification appears. This distraction interferes with your performance.
8- Record important information
Create, either alone or with your co-workers, a recording method for important information that is clear and easy to find. Make sure that all team members have access to this information whenever needed.
Also try to share the results and the positive outcomes of the work being carried out as this will generate alignment among team members and keep everyone motivated.
Working from home allows everyone the opportunity to exercising self-management, responsibility and proactivity, including time management for tasks. If you find it difficult, seek help from colleagues or look for tools that can help make this easier. A free tool that works really well is Trello.
10- Personal and professional balance
At times like these, we need to seek a balance between personal and professional life more than ever. After working hours, try to do activities that you enjoy, start a new hobby, take on a personal project that had been put aside, chat with your family and friends, exercise and learn something new. In other words, use this time wisely so that you build new and better habits and feel more fulfilled at the end of each day.
Crises are difficult to handle but they also bring us opportunities to learn and grow. We will definitely come out of this process renewed and with experiences that may be very useful for our lives in the future. Take the opportunity and try to enjoy it!