With the COVID-19 situation and companies implementing their BCP (business continuity plan), more people are working from home now. Friends of mine say, “It’s not natural” or “I work all the time now.” As someone who works from home regularly, I have learned and developed some habits to get the most out of it. It’s about results and productivity; not about filling hours. In numerology, 8 means abundance and career success; so below are the top 8 tips when working from home.
1. Set Boundaries
When we work in an office, we have a different physical location, and there is a clear start time and end time. We go to the office, we work from 9-6, then we go home; the boundaries are clear. When we work from home, however, there are no boundaries. Therefore, we need to set boundaries ourselves. For example, give yourself a start time and an end time; just because you are awake doesn’t mean you need to work. Decide also your physical location; for example, I will work in the dining room, I will not work in the bedroom.
2. Work in Bursts
Stay focused with no distractions, then take a break. Remember, it is about results and productivity, not filling the hours. Give yourself 30 minutes, an hour or 90 minutes, uninterrupted, to be focused and productive. Challenge yourself to get as much done in that time as you can. From neuroscience research, our brains can sustain “flow” for up to 90 minutes, during which we perform at our peak and can be 5 times more productive than normal. So, work in bursts, then take a break to recharge; and then go again.
3. Reward Yourself
Throughout the day, reward yourself for the hard work you are doing. During a break, check Facebook or Instagram; perhaps a glass of wine later in the afternoon. Don’t feel guilty; you have earned it. And make sure you set boundaries (for example, 10 minutes only on the sofa, then it’s back to work). Goals and rewards are motivating and increase our productivity.
4. Stay Active
You are in your own space. Take some time throughout the day to stretch, do yoga or a floor body workout. It’s only 10-15 minutes of your day, and will energize you, clear your mind and it’s healthy. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube for suggestions and ideas.
5. Dress Comfortably
Wear what feels good, dress comfortably. And find out what works for you. Normally, I wear shorts and an old t-shirt. However, when I phone clients, I put on a “good t-shirt” and I brush my teeth. This helps me to communicate in the way I want to. A friend of mine, although wearing pajamas, puts on lipstick and high heels to speak to her clients, to project the professionalism she wants to. If it’s a video call, dress professionally, have your camera at eye level not towards the ceiling, and be conscious of what’s behind you to have a professional background (bookcase, blank wall, not sports equipment).
6. Eat Healthy & Regularly
Schedule meals, make simple healthy dishes, and no binge eating. You can cook and think at the same time; or cook and clear your mind. Simple physical tasks are great for our brains; and, of course, it gives you energy to sustain your day.
7. Change Locations
Work from the dining room, living room, kitchen or balcony. This will give you variety and change your mindsets. I write proposals at my desk; I check them in the living room. This gives me fresh eyes on it. And stare out the window sometimes. In neuroscience, this stimulates the creative part of your brain. You will feel refreshed and have more innovative ideas.
8. Project Energy
When speaking on the phone, stand. This body posture regulates your breathing and projects energy and confidence. Throughout the day, adopt some power poses. Harvard University professor Amy Cuddy has done amazing research in this and has the number two TED Talk: Amy Cuddy TED Talk. Projecting energy makes us feel better, more confident and more productive.
So, now that more and more of us are working from home, let’s build some habits that will increase our productivity and get the business, and personal, results we want.
Please do share this with your employees, colleagues, friends, and anyone who is working from home now and can benefit from it. And leaders, share it with your teams and talk about it.
Let’s all get the most out of working from home.