How to be productive from your home office

Ashton Bryce By Ashton Bryce

7 April 2020 //

Most of us are working from home for the first time ever. Some of us are doing it more than we normally would, while for some this is business as usual. For those of you who are first timers it can be quite a daunting experience and can take some getting used to. At Raw Ideas, we introduced a semi-flexible structure that allowed 1-2 work from home days a week towards the end of 2018. Suffice to say, it was a decent trial run for the enforced isolation we're all now enduring. 

Here are some of our learnings and ways to make home a suitable place for work.

Create a dedicated work space

If nothing else, it's important to have somewhere to work. Even if it's one end of the dining table, have a place you know is yours to sit with your laptop and get stuff done. If you have children at home it can be hard but set some boundaries and even wear headphones to block out any distractions. If you only have a laptop it's important to look after your hands and wrists and (if possible) get a mouse and keyboard. Laptops are not designed for prolonged use and can cause some long term damage if used improperly. Stack some old books or boxes up as a stand for your laptop in front of you. Some useful tips about ergonomics can be found here.

Give yourself regular breaks

It can be easy to stay in one place, especially with no reason to get up and move. Typically in an office, you're either walking to the printer or going to a colleagues desk for a chat. Incidental breaks that don't happen if everyone you need to communicate with is in the virtual world. Fitbits, Apple watches or even phone timers can be a good way to remind yourself to move.

One way to do it is follow a 50/10 method by working for 50 minutes, then taking 10 minutes off to stand and stretch your legs or give your eyes a break from the screen. It can help to increase focus as you know there is a 10 minute break coming up.

Stay in contact with others

It's important to maintain some form of contact with colleagues. Not only for sanity sake but to ensure tasks are not falling by the way side or that assumptions are being made about work is that is being done. Productivity tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Discord (to name a few) are great at maintaining regular contact throughout the day, setting up groups or channels to keep everyone on task.

Set goals

It can be useful to set some goals for your week and then break them down into bite sized daily tasks which can be checked off a list. This great blog post by Margaret Kelsey tells us how much our brain loves checklists. Marking something as complete - big or small - offers significant psychological benefit and makes us more likely to complete the checklist than if we didn't have one in the first place. Breaking down a complex and complicated week into daily tasks and completing them can deliver a dopamine hit from your brain, which gives you a good feeling and encourages you to keep going.

 

 

Ashton Bryce By Ashton Bryce

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