Many employees will be working from home for the first time because of the pandemic we are currently facing.
Many companies around the world have, in fact, implemented remote working in a near mandatory way. These employees will therefore have to face the challenge of remaining active and productive in a new environment to which they may not be accustomed.
We have talked about time management before. We have done so, for example, when discussing time management in a project, or when we spoke about the GTD method, but we would have never talked about how to manage time working from home.
Coronavirus or not, the key to working from home is just proper time management and finding the balance between work and private life.
So here are some tips that will help whoever is facing home working for the first time to have a productive working day.
6 tips for best time management when working from home
If you are a Project Manager you might also appreciate reading this article on how to remotely manage a project team, if you’re part of a team, instead, then you need some advice.
You should know that the worst enemy of productivity, when working from home, is time running relentlessly. Often you get to the end of the day tired, but you realize you haven’t really achieved much.
So here are 6 tips for time management (which you must absolutely put into practice) when working from home.
1. Create a list of daily and weekly activities
You can begin by drawing up a list of the activities to be carried out during the week. These activities will then be spread out, according to priority or other important factors, over the different days of the week.
In this way the workload will be evenly distributed and you will not be faced with work overloads on one day and downtime the next.
In addition, during each working day, you will be able to tick off the list of activities carried out. This will create a psychological sense of well-being in seeing that you are making progress at work.
2. Plan your breaks
At work, it is frequent to have lunch breaks and coffee breaks and often many people, during their daily activities, take regular breaks to recharge their batteries.
This routine could be totally altered in the case of home working, which is why it is essential to plan breaks.
The time of lunch and coffee breaks will be decided in advance and, unless something important happens, these schedules will have to be observed.
During breaks it is important to leave your computer and/or phone, so that you can really enjoy this time.
When working from home, it’s much easier to be distracted.
There’s no one controlling how many times you look at your mobile phone, your personal Facebook page can be open all the time and notifications can always be on, your landline can ring at any time… In short, we’ll be subjected to a myriad of uncontrolled distractions.
Maybe this is one of the most difficult steps to take, but when it’s time to get to work, you have to turn off – or at least put on silent – your private mobile phone and close all social pages.
This way you can carry out your work faster and more efficiently, leading to great satisfaction at the end of your working day.
4. Remember to eat
This section is somehow connected to point number 2, even if taking a break doesn’t necessarily mean eating.
In fact, it is important to remember to eat correctly and healthily, especially considering the fact that we are currently fighting against a virus and the stronger we are, the less vulnerable we will be.
This also requires planning in order not to end up eating a box of biscuits or a bag of chips at the last moment.
In fact, lots of people may be accustomed to having a company canteen or favourite restaurant around the office.
Working from home therefore means facing the “problem” of finding food in another way.
Just as we said in point 1 about creating to-do-lists of work activities, similar actions should be done for food as well.
One suggestion is to draw up a list of what you will eat during working hours at the beginning of the week so that you can plan your shopping accordingly.
5. Remember that it’s a job
Surely working from home gives you the chance to sit in front of the computer in pajamas and with your hair messed up by a night’s sleep, but as tempting as this scenario might be, we strongly discourage you from doing so.
Taking a shower and dressing as if you were going to the office will make you more focused on what you are doing and working and not just surfing the internet for fun.
Another suggestion is to do everything you can to create a space that is exclusive for working at home.
Not having a well equipped home office space, especially when you start working remotely, can cause a temporary reduction in productivity.
Clearly not everyone is lucky enough to be able to afford a room that can be fully converted into an office, yet the solution could be something as simple as moving a coffee table somewhere away from distractions.
This also serves as a signal to those who live under the same roof: when you sit dressed at that table, you’re at work.
Having a space to work in and physically preparing for the working day are crucial steps for the mood that enters “work” mode.
6. Manage isolation the best way possible
There are many communication tools: mobile phones for video calls, Skype, email, WhatsApp, etc.
However, even with these tools, the sudden and forced nature that represents the transition from an office to a home environment could make it very difficult to get used to this change.
Because of the coronavirus, it is not even possible to meet with colleagues and friends once the day’s work is over.
Prolonged isolation could also have a major impact on morale and productivity, leading to depression in severe cases.
That’s why, to try to maintain a semblance of normality and camaraderie in unconventional ways, you can hold virtual meetings like a pizza party or a remote happy hour where people connect and share a pizza or cocktail on Skype.
This becomes a good way to preserve relationships or bond even more and, why not, given the oddity of the situation, it can also become a lot of fun.
It is not clear how long people will stay at home, so it is important to become accustomed with remote working in order to deal with it in the most positive and effective way possible.
It would not be bad to take advantage of this period also to try out new working tools. If you have never done so, for example, you could try TWproject for free. Have a great day at work.
I know what you’re thinking… “everything is easy when you don’t have kids at home driving you nuts.”
We have also covered this issue as well! In the next article we will discuss how to manage children when working from home.