Top Tips and Tools To Help You Work From Home More Effectively
With Covid-19 rapidly spreading across the globe and countries everywhere going into lockdown, it's now highly likely that you are working from home.
While initially the thought of escaping the office and carrying out all your work at home might seem like heaven, it can be a very difficult time and isn't always quite as easy as you might think.
It's not only the potential risk of reduced productivity (let's face it, there are so many potential distractions at home!) that you need to consider, you should also consider the impact that reduced social interaction might have on you or your staff.
In this article, we're going to tell you some helpful tips and tricks, as well as identify some rather useful tools, to help you not only work more productively from home but also make the situation as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
How can you remain productive while working from home?
1. Pretend like you are going into the office
It can actually really be beneficial to do all the things you would do normally to prepare for an office role. In fact, the mental association you make between an office and work can make you feel more productive; and that doesn't have to be any different when working from home.
Set your alarm, go and make a cup of coffee before you start and wear nice clothes (don't just sit there in your PJs!) You'll find it makes a huge difference to how productive you feel throughout your working day.
2. Have a clear structure, like you would do at work
When you're working from home, you're essentially your own office manager. So to best stay on schedule, it's important to segment what you're going to do and when over the course of the whole day.
For instance, you can create reminders and personal events in an online calendar to tell you when to start on new tasks or shift gears.
3. Make calls in the afternoon rather than the morning
It sounds quite obvious to say but you're far more likely to both sound and feel tired in the morning than in the afternoon.
So if you've got to make phone calls, try and arrange them for the afternoon where possible for when you've officially 'woken up!'
4. Make sure that anyone in your household appreciates your work space needs
Especially given the circumstances in the world right now, the chances are that you won't be the only one in your household that is at home.
It's therefore very important to make sure that any housemates, partners or family members respect your space during work hours and allow you to get on with your job without distractions.
5. Still take breaks
While it's very easy to get carried away while working from home and forget to take your usual breaks, it's still very important that you do.
We would suggest following a similar structure and timetable to the one you have at work and have the same break times etc.
6. Get some fresh air
You could also use some of your break time to go and get some fresh air.
While it's important to maintain social distancing, it would still be worth you either going out into your back garden (weather permitting) and getting some fresh air in your lungs or taking a five minute stroll around your neighbourhood (as long as you're sensible around others).
7. Interact (sensibly) with others
One of the challenges of working from home when you're used to being in an office environment is the lack of social interaction with others.
You can get round this by either communicating with colleagues via messaging systems, like WhatsApp, or spending a couple of minutes talking to your family members or housemates when you're on your break.
8. Use technology to stay connected to your colleagues
There are a multitude of different tools you can use (we'll properly get to them later) to help you stay connected to not only what's going on in the office (if anyone's in) but also with your colleagues too.
For instance, instant messaging and video-conferencing tools can make it quick and easy to check in with co-workers.
What tools can you use to help increase your productivity?
TeamViewer is one of the many remote access programmes available, but is certainly one of the very best.
Completely free, TeamViewer is a very easy to use programme that allows users to remotely access their work computer from the comfort of their own home.
While it's preferable to use a laptop or home computer to access your work computer system, TeamViewer even allows any modern smartphone to utilise the remote access software!
All you'll need is your email address and your secure and specific access password and you're good to go. Highly secure and easy to use, TeamViewer is one of the most effective ways of accessing your work computer from home.
Even if you've never used Zoom before, we're certain that at some point or another you'll have video-called someone via WhatsApp.
Essentially, Zoom works the same way but allows you to video call multiple people at the same time!
Combining HD video with other vital features like content sharing, screen sharing and local recording, Zoom is an ideal video conferencing tool for anyone working from home.
One of the most suited apps to working remotely is the Slack communication management app.
Not only does Slack let you send direct messages to work colleagues, but it also gives you the ability to create team channels for every department or topic and pin documents for quick reference.
Incredibly user-friendly, Slack makes it quick and easy to send messages to colleagues and is often faster than sending internal emails.
Its greatest benefit is that it gives any remote team members a place where they can gather with others, for either professional or team-building purposes.
If you're not able to remotely access your work computer or network from home, don't panic; you can still work productively by using Google Drive.
You can create and save Word, Excel and other Microsoft program files in Google Drive, meaning you and your work colleagues can access any relevant information.
So if there's an important PDF, Word file or Excel spreadsheet that you need your boss to access, you can save it in Google Drive. All you will need to do is give them access and make sure that they have a Gmail email address. It's as simple as that!
These helpful tools and tips will help you become much more productive and comfortable while working from home, during these difficult times we all find ourselves in. Of course, if you find any more, do not hesitate to recommend them to us by posting on our Facebook page!