The best way to organize yourself at life and work is building habits that allow us to do whatever we need in an almost auto-pilot mode.
There are different studies about how much humans take to develop a habit but the range is known to be somewhere between 21 and 66 days.
However this powerful tool is a double-edged sword. Acquiring the wrong habits can be detrimental, and worse: It will be difficult to change later on, since our human brains are wired to preserve them.
This is why it is important to ensure that we develop the right habits while we Work From Home (“WFH”).
Despite it is entirely possible onboarding an employee remotely with the right tools and techniques, many companies still prefer to onboard the employee on-site, and after some weeks, they start letting the new employees increase their WFH time.
In those cases it is important that in the transition from on-site working to WFT happens naturally and that the maximum number of positive habits are built.
So what are the best hacks to be productive while working from home?
Here you can find some tips on how to work effectively on WFH-mode. This guide is to try and help you to adapt to the new requirements, doing your work from home.
Use transition rituals to help you switch on and off
Set up a routine in the morning and keep your habits at the beginning of the day:
- Have a strong breakfast, or have a moment to sip your favourite coffee and pastries, just as if you were about to start the commuting.
- Choose comfy clothes, but try not to deviate from the usual dress code of your company.
The image we project to others, also has got an influence on ourselves. Studies say that if you feel comfortable with how you are dressing (that means both comfort and looks), your confidence increases, and that confidence is essential to make our job right.
- 30 minutes before your work schedule starts, open and read your task list of the day. Now, as your day has not started, spend some minutes by reading anything which motivates you (preferably while drinking your coffee!). For example, if you are into IT & Tech, read the latest achievements and business ideas from the most innovative companies. Let yourself get full of the same energy that has inspired so many others to excel at their jobs and now, go back to your daily task list and start cracking it down!
Once you are done with your daily job after finishing your journey, or when you are in the midday lunch break, try to disconnect.
For example, take a chance to read, do some exercise (you probably are aware that there are multiple Apps that are offering routines to do sports at home for free), or share moments with the people you live with or with your colleagues for a video call informal coffee (make sure you have your cameras on!).
Or if you have just finished a hard day, do something more relaxed like watching your favorite show, go out for a walk with your pets, or play some video games.
Spaces at Home
Set fun areas vs. Work areas
Whenever possible, try to use separate spaces at your home to split the areas where you usually work, from those where you usually have leisure time or where you sleep.
Choose the most comfortable space for you and set it as your work space: Ideally, that should be a spot with natural light and ventilation, but also with possibility to regulate the temperature when you need to.
Interaction with Family Members or Flatmates
Define rules with your family or flatmates to avoid interruptions while working.
If you do not have enough space at home to create two separate working spaces, then it would be a good idea that you try to agree on rules when one has a call, the other one will momentarily keep working from another area (even if it’s a “Fun area” as it is only temporary).
If two or more of you are having calls at the same time, try to agree in a friendly way who will move temporarily and switch roles next time.
If working from two different areas is not possible, remember to put on mute when you are not talking in a meeting to minimize background noises.
If you are having a video conference, tools like Microsoft Teams have an option to difuminate the background, that is a good idea too, in order to avoid distractions.
Anyhow, remember that as WFH is becoming the new normal, many people are in the same situation. So try to normalize if someone passes by the webcam, or if they need to stop for a second if their pets or children have caused a small mess!
Tips to be on WFH
Strive to avoid any distractions and keep focus in your work; for example, make sure your work space is as organized and clean as possible or have all the devices that you need to work on the table.
Just like in the office, you will need to take some breaks during your journey. It is a good practice that you try to plan those in advance, or that you always have them at preset intervals.
Stand up from your chair every now and then. If you have a space where you can get fresh air, like a terrace or balcony, go there when you need to catch a breath.
Keep your agenda up to date. Leave blank spaces in your diary so that you can focus on topics that require deep-work.
Try to stick to your planned journey without unnecessarily extending your working hours just because it feels easy to do so, once you are at home already.
Like doctors say, have proper rest with the right amount of sleeping hours. If for some reason you cannot make it in a day to get eight hours of proper sleep, use a sleep calculator to plan your waking up times in a way that does not tamper with your natural sleeping cycles.
Keeping the right mood levels
In normal times, working from home is a pleasure, but when this is not a personal choice, but a reaction from a force majeure situation – even if temporary – it would be completely normal to feel troubled.
Rather than trying to escape from those concerns, gently face them by reminding yourself to act upon what you can control, and accept there are things that none of us can influence.
Keep a healthy network with other colleagues or professionals of your field to stay connected with others. This will cover what you need at different levels, as people will be able to help you in different fields according to their expertise. Some people will be able to give you technical advice, others will be good at providing tips to stay healthy, and others will be the go-to person when you need creative solutions.
There is an expert for everything and keeping your network will be helpful for you, and for others (you are also an expert yourself in an area!).
Assume that there is good intention in others when they try to reach out to you.
Emphasize positive aspects and try to generate confidence to bond with the rest of your team.
It is difficult to convey tone in written language, so the lack of personal contact can generate sensitivity and misunderstandings. Sympathy, patience and kindness are needed when working on remote, and those will be paid back by your colleagues, who will try to show the same good manners to you.
Also, do not forget about ergonomics (read more here)! While working from home, you need to ensure you are comfortable enough to spend a long time working with all your focus, so you want to have the right positioning, and ergonomic materials to allow you to keep your productive flow.