Top 6 Ways to Stay Productive while Working from Home

Recently, far more of us have found ourselves working from home than ever before. While this situation’s been forced by the global Covid-19 pandemic, there’s speculation that some firms could continue with the working-from-home approach more permanently – especially if it helps to safeguard against the disruption of changes should this situation ever happen again.

Ways to Stay Productive

So, how do we – as employees – adapt to these potentially long-term changes? And what can companies do to make sure their interests are protected?

We’ve taken a dive into working from home – to look at a few practical tips for employees – and a few helpful tips for businesses who want to keep working-from-home on the table.

Top 6 Ways to Stay Productive while Working from Home

1. Keeping a routine

There’s a huge emphasis been put on the importance of keeping a routine while unexpectedly working from home – and it’s a challenge that many successful freelancers and self-employed people have had to adapt to from early in their careers.

It’s tempting to wake up, pour a coffee, and get straight to work sitting in your pyjamas – but this is often a route to failure – because you never really snap out of the ‘I’m at home’ mindset. As a result, you can find yourself distracted by the normal ‘at home’ jobs that surround you – not to mention Netflix or a nap.

It might sound strange – but when you work from home, it’s important to ‘go to’ work – i.e. leave the home jobs behind and focus on work – even if you’re just sitting at your dining table. Equally, it’s important to ‘come home from work’ – again, even if that just means getting into some comfy clothes and closing the laptop.

2. Setting up an office space

Few people have the luxury of a home office – especially when you’ve never needed to work from home before. If you can adapt a spare bedroom or corner of the dining room – then this is great – but even if you’re confined to a corner of the sofa, it’s a good idea to set up everything you need around you.

This way, you’re not going to find yourself getting up and wandering around, looking for things you need. It might sound a bit out-there – but it’s not a bad idea to even prepare your packed lunch as if you were going to work – again, it’s just a little time-saving hack that’ll stop you getting up and getting distracted by other things to do at home.

If possible, it’s a good idea to grab a pair of headphones and limit the noise interruptions from elsewhere in the house. Of course, this needs to be done safely – so make sure you’re not leaving kids unattended with the noise muted out.

3. Stay in touch

You might not realise it, but the interactions you have with workmates are great for your mental well-being – so if you’re used to chatting with people, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with them – even if you do so virtually.

This lockdown period around the world has seen huge numbers of people turning to FaceTime, Skype – and apps like Zoom to keep in touch with loved ones and friends – and it’s good to get some face time in with colleagues too. While emails and instant messages are good – they don’t tell the full story, so it’s useful to be able to see how people are, gauge their reactions to the work you’re doing – and generally keep communicating about the tasks you’re working on.

4. Having the right IT

Remote working is nothing new – and many workplaces are set up to allow access to important IT applications and systems through a remote-access interface.

This kind of ‘take the office home with you’ access to IT can be invaluable – as working on your own devices comes with a host of issues – not least security.

Since the GDPR data protection regulations came into force, there’s never been a brighter spotlight on making sure sensitive data is kept away from prying eyes – and that can be difficult when you’re using your own devices, your own passwords (that you may reuse elsewhere) and working in a home with people who might not have the same need to see information and paperwork as you do.

IT departments can work around this by allowing VPN encrypted access to your machine at work – even if it’s switched off in an empty office. Essentially, cloud-computing and business networks now mean that little is stored on local devices – so access to the centrally held applications and storage you use is usually enough to give you a virtual work environment at home.

5. IT support

The trouble with using complex IT systems is that they also need support – and this is where well thought through IT networks can benefit from the kind of infrastructure that allows ‘hands off’ management of devices as long as they’re connected to the business network.

An SD WAN system is a great way of making this kind of support feasible. Essentially, SD WAN allows devices that are connected to the network to be managed centrally – so there’s no need for an IT engineer to come to your home to flick switches and alter network settings – as it’s all done from a virtual portal.

This kind of infrastructure is generally reserved for more sophisticated businesses at the moment – but it’s something that we could see rolled out to smaller businesses if they have the requirement for lots of remote working going forward.

6. Mobile internet connection

It’s unlikely that you’d have a business-capable internet connection running into your home – so in the absence of this, a 4G (and soon possibly 5G) router is a great piece of equipment to have to keep you online.

Rather than rely on a single SIM and the cellular connection from that – many 4G routers come with multiple SIM slots – so the data speed from many can be combined. It might not be necessary for many work tasks – but if you find yourself working from home a lot and you need to make telephone conference calls – it’s important to keep connected.

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TechGlobeX: Top 6 Ways to Stay Productive while Working from Home
Top 6 Ways to Stay Productive while Working from Home
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