A vast majority of office workers (83%) want to work from home at least one day a week after the coronavirus pandemic has passed, reveals a new survey conducted by PwC. They also want help creating work-life boundaries to improve their productivity while working from home. While working from home has its benefits, it can encroach on your personal life and increase the number of hours you work. Here are four steps you can take to make the most out of working from home:
1. Upgrade your technology and equipment.
If you are finding the hardware or software you are using at home to be cumbersome or slow, try to update your programs or devices. Ask your manager if they have a budget to upgrade your home work station. While this may mean spending some money, a decrease in your productivity could be more costly to your manager and organization. Upgrading your technology and equipment may be well worth the investment so you have the tools to do your best work and be the best professional you can be.
2. Create designated work hours, and communicate them to your colleagues and house members.
Identify your organization’s operating hours, and use this timeframe as the guide for your work hours. Any personal tasks, errands or projects should be done outside of work hours.
Multitasking and switching between your professional and personal lives can impact your productivity. You can lose up to 40% of your productivity if you do a lot of switching in a day. Research shows that trying to do two things at the same time can make each activity longer to complete, which can add unnecessary hours and fatigue to your work day.
It is not enough for you to know your work hours. You need to tell others so they respect your work hours. This is especially true for the people with whom you live at home. Make sure they know the hours you are working so they know to wait to communicate with you outside of those hours.
3. Be judicious about video meetings.
Meetings are important to have, particularly when working from home. Meetings are the only touchpoint you have with your colleagues. You are no longer seeing coworkers as you walk through the halls to your office, break room or bathroom.
With the shift from working in the office to working from home came a big shift in the use of video meetings. With the increase in the number of video meetings came Zoom fatigue. Not all meetings have to be video meetings. Pick up the phone and speak to someone. Save video meetings for the weekly check-in with your manager, your team or important clients.
4. Recognize when you are tired, and stop working.
Some people are experiencing burnout while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Professionals are continuing to work after 5pm, having to care for children at home and are feeling they have to work extra hard to prove themselves worthy of working from home and in case of layoffs.
Engaging in anything when you are tired is unlikely to produce optimal results. If you are tired, it is difficult to give sufficient energy or enthusiasm for the task at hand. If you are tired, you may make more mistakes. You don’t want to approach your work without being able to give it your all.
Listen to your body. Observe your behavior. Are you finding it tiresome to look at the computer screen? Do your muscles ache? Are you finding yourself rereading a document and still not understanding it?
If you are tired, you will expend more energy trying to push through your tiredness, only to make you even more tired and less effective. Pushing through exhaustion does not make you a work martyr. It makes you a work dud.
When you recognize that you are tired, accept it. Give yourself permission to step away from your work and return to it when you have rested and recharged.
If you want to take advantage of the benefits of working from home, make sure you maintain your productivity. Improve your technology, delineate and communicate work hours, be judicious with meetings and take a break from work when you start to feel less productive.
By: Avery Blank
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