HOME OFFICE PRODUCTIVITY – keep working from home fresh and exhilarating
December 8, 2020
by Doug Mintz, Owner
CPOF Inc – Cubicles Plus Office
With so many employees now working from home indefinitely, many are finding it harder to concentrate at the same level of intensity when they first started the practice. Initially workers were excited about working from home and were team-motivated because of the necessity to maintain workplace continuity. According to a survey of 1,100 workers by the Society for Human Resource Management, 22% of workers had difficulty concentrating last April of 2020.
But now, over six months later, the excitement has worn off and home distractions have increased dramatically. This is the result of COVID-19 stress, the presidential election, and a non-stop negative news cycle. If these challenges sound familiar, here are some pointers to be more productive.
Silence all alarms on your computer and phone. If Wi-Fi is not part of your job necessities, disable it while you are working. This will create a quieter and less distracting environment for you to concentrate on the real work. Determine and schedule a specific time of day to check emails and perform your internet tasks (if applicable).
Set boundaries at your home with your family. Be clear that you are working and cannot be disturbed. Create an office that provides privacy. Close the door! Make family members aware. Let them know that even though you are home, you’re not home, unless there is a real emergency.
Create a less distracting acoustic environment for better concentration. Portable sound masking generators (defined-frequency white noise) can be purchased. Another aid is noise cancelling headphones. For some, simply having a radio or television on at low volume may create the same desired effect. These acoustic options are proven to be effective and are used in the workplace by thousands of companies of all sizes; you may have experienced a sound masking environment in your workplace and not been aware of it.
Keep a to-do list or Post-Its close by. This will help you stay focused on the tasks at hand. If something pops into your head that you need to eventually address (work related or personal) put it on the list. Or write it on a Post-It note and hang it nearby but out of sight. You can also use different colored notes for personal and business tasks.
Create a to-do list at the beginning of each day. Try to prioritize it as best you can and stick to it! Check off the tasks as you complete them. Try to separate personal and business tasks. Assign a specific block of time for personal tasks so they do not intertwine with your work mindset throughout the day.
Schedule several breaks throughout the day. Read something non-work related, take a walk, or listen to your favorite music to mentally decompress.
Take a lunch break, whether you eat or not. Eating something, even a light snack, will help recharge your brain cells. Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated to prevent physical and mental fatigue.
Be sure your office furniture is ergonomically correct to keep you productive and physically healthy. It could be as simple as having a quality task chair. It might involve better positioning of your computer keyboard and monitor. Some individuals may want a sit-stand desking setup. Healthy ergonomics is different for everyone. Make adjustments that are right for you.
Follow most of the tips above and you will be more productive with your work tasks and minimize your home office burnout.