With Covid-19 cases on the rise again, it appears working from home is here to stay. Many employers who previously denied their staff work from home privileges are being forced to rethink their policies in favor of a remote culture.
While working from home can provide many quality of life benefits, it can also make it difficult to focus and get the work done. This is especially difficult if you have children who are home for summer as the frequent interruptions can disrupt your workflow.
I have worked from home for seven years now as a marketing consultant and throughout that time I have found ways to improve my focus. Here are some of my tried and true steps you can take to improve your concentration and performance while working from home.
1. Keep regular "office hours." Whether you work full time or part time (like me), it helps to designate regular work hours when you don't leave your office. This helps set up a schedule you, your family and your coworkers can come to expect. The regular routine also helps you shift out of "family mode" and into work mode more easily.
2. Keep your body moving. Studies show that regular movement can improve concentration and performance. It's important to break out of the sedentary work style and find ways to incorporate more movement into your work day. For me, that looks like using a Swopper motion chair. It's slight movement in three dimensions means I'm hardly ever sitting still. That increased movement results in improved circulation, deeper breathing and better concentration.
3. Set up an ergonomic workspace. My husband also works from home full time and his desk is set up to meet all his needs. He uses a height adjustable desk and a Muvman height adjustable stool. This allows him to sit, stand or perch while he works. He also has a large monitor at eye level and a fingertip mouse pad, so he's never straining or reaching.
4. Eliminate the distractions. Whether it's your kids, your dog, your tv or your phone, it's important to reduce the distractions in your life while you're working. For me this looks like regular child care and a separate office space away from the bustle of the house. For others I know, it's a dog walker or putting their phones on silent.
5. Take regular breaks. When work is at home, it's easy to fall into the trap of constantly working. It's important to know when to put the work away and resume your regular life. If you find yourself constantly being pulled back to work, you may need to work on setting boundaries (this is where having regular hours helps). Remember you are a person too and need your down time. You'll come back to the work refreshed and with a clear mind.
Working from home does not have to mean your productivity is decreased. In fact, many people (me included) find they are MORE productive when they work remotely. When you can manage your own time without being tied to an office, you may find you're more motivated to buckle down and get your work done. If you find it harder to focus while at home though, try these tips to improve your productivity while working form home.