Many Americans Continue to Work From Home
Throughout most of 2020, the world has been struggling with the spread of a global pandemic. COVID-19 made its presence felt at the tail end of 2019 and quickly spread throughout the entire world. The novel coronavirus continues to threaten the lives of millions throughout the United States and around the world. To combat the spread of this virus and protect communities, governments issued stay-at-home orders to keep people from gathering in large groups. They encouraged businesses to allow employees to work from home if possible, which many have done. Around mid-April, more than half of all U.S. workers were working from home. 77% of the workforce would like to keep working from home at least once a week after the pandemic is over.
By the end of 2021, 25-30% of the workforce looks to be working from home multiple days of the week. With so many employees wanting to continue working from home, the future of the workplace appears to be ready for a dramatic makeover. However, not everyone is a fan of working remotely. Some find it hard to be productive, while others feel their homes have too many distractions.
Tech Critic understands the difficulty of continuing to work throughout the pandemic, whether in office or remotely. For those who continue to work from home, it may not be easy to feel as productive as before, which is why we are here to provide some useful tips.
Get Dressed for Work.
While getting dressed for work may seem like a silly tip, it holds some weight. We all want to be comfortable, especially in our own homes. Many people relish in not having to put on pants every day or do their makeup before they leave the house. However, this comfort can make you feel complacent. People get too comfortable, which leads to a decrease in productivity.
Like NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders once said, “You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good. You play good, they pay good.” You don’t have to dress as formal as you would at the office, but the simple act of changing clothes signals to your brain that it’s time to switch into work mode. Even just putting on a pair of pants can make a difference.
Establish a Work Area.
If you have been working from home during the pandemic, chances are you did not spend that time at the workstation you usually do. When you are at these workstations, your mind is automatically in work mode. You distance yourself from distractions and focus on your daily workload. However, when working remotely, you don’t have this space anymore. Rather than working in your room or on the couch, places typically known for leisure or relaxing, establish a designated work area in your home.
This area can be a specific room in your home you repurposed for work, or if you don’t have that space, a surface like countertops or a table, which you intend to work at every day. Regardless of where it is, this work area should feel as separate from the rest of your house as possible.
Maintain Regular Hours.
It is easy to keep regular hours when you work in the office. After all, you start your day when you get to the office, and you end your day when you leave. However, doing this can be hard when working remotely. You don’t have an office to visit. Instead, you merely wake up and start your day, which can disrupt your work schedule. Unfortunately, 66% of those working from home say they are more likely to work nights and weekends than before. However, we know this is not good for maintaining a work-life balance.
Set a schedule and stick to it. Whatever your hours typically were at the office, replicate those as much as possible to keep yourself in the same routine. Establish a set time to start work and a time to call it a day. However, working remotely does provide you with more flexibility than usual. If you need to start early or work late one day, be sure to wrap up early or sleep in a bit the following day to maintain the same work period.
Establish a Morning Routine.
When you commute to work, you aren’t just moving from one physical location to another. You also give your brain time to prepare for the workday. When you work from home, you don’t have this time. However, just because you aren’t traveling to work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carve out part of your morning to ease yourself into the workday.
Do you usually listen to a podcast or music on your way to work? Wake up early enough to allow yourself time to do just that! Maybe, you can start your day with an at-home workout or a morning run. Whatever you decide, establishing a morning routine helps you prepare to start your day.
Structure Your Day as if You Were in the Office.
When working from home, you are in charge of yourself. You are responsible for making sure you get your work done. It can be easy to lose focus, get distracted, or feel burnt out over the day. To help yourself stay on schedule and stay productive, plan your day like you would in the office. Plan out what you will do and when you will do it. There are plenty of tools and online calendars for you to use to help you stay on task, such as Google Calendar.
Take Breaks in Their Entirety.
Know your company’s policies on break times and take them. Don’t shortchange yourself, either. Take them in their entirety. Give yourself adequate time to separate yourself during the day to decompress for a brief period. Take the full time provided or close to it. These breaks are in place to help you, so utilize them. In a recent survey, almost 90% of North American employees claim that taking a lunch break helps them feel refreshed and ready for work, increasing their productivity, improving their mental well-being, and boosting creativity.
Communicate with Your Team.
Arguably the biggest downside of working remotely is that you are not with the rest of your team. When you work in the office, you can speak to your coworkers and managers with ease. However, when you are stuck at home, that’s not the case. Each member of your team is often isolated from the rest, which is why it is so crucial to communicate as often as possible. Video chat platforms, such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, have allowed coworkers to stay in touch while maintaining face-to-face communication. Whether you need to discuss work details or you need to socialize to build comradery and help with loneliness, regularly communicating with your team is a must.
Tech Critic understands how much of a change working from home may be for countless employees around the world. It has been a hard adjustment for millions of Americans during the pandemic, and it looks to be a new normal for many moving forward. With these tips, we hope you can be just as productive out of the office as you once were in the office.