WFH – three letters that have been turning the working routine of many professionals upside down for some time now. Since the outbreak of the global pandemic, working from home seems to be the new normal, but opinions regarding these changes differ. Initially, many employers were critical of the structural shift in where work takes place. Many employees, on the other hand, only thought about the benefits and freedom they would gain. The past few months have shown that this issue is multifaceted and that it can have positive and negative effects for everyone involved.
There is no denying that remote work comes with greater flexibility. You decide where you work, how you get your tasks done and save yourself the time-consuming commute to work. But experience has taught us that a structured approach is needed if you want to deliver your best possible performance and fight the multitude of distractions a home office offers. Recent research shows that working from home can result in greater productivity but only under certain conditions. So, how can you stay focused, creative, inspired, and live up to all the expectations?
1. Tidy office tidy mind
Find the right set up and organize your workspace
Starting your workday sitting on the couch with your laptop and breakfast on your lap might be tempting. But let us face it, only few can resist the impulse to just sit back and enjoy their favourite show instead of getting things done in such situations.
The key factor for getting in a productive workflow is the working environment. If you want to have a successful day, you first need the right set up. Designate a specific work area in your home that offers privacy and helps you to stay focused. It is not important how much space you have available, but that you define a fixed place that you can use as a permanent „office“ in order to separate your work and living space. Your mind will then automatically switch to work mode when you enter this part of your home. At best, you choose a spot that provides natural light and a comfortable seat to avoid fatigue and back pain.
Every HVNS apartment has a laptop friendly workspace so that you can hit the ground running from day one. To be able to work effectively and think clearly you should keep your workspace organized. Get rid of everything you do not need for your daily tasks. Your workplace should not be a repository for dirty dishes, yesterday’s outfit or private documents. Your HVNS apartment offers plenty of storage to keep your desk free of clutter. Make sure you have all the equipment you need to make your workday run smoothly. We provide you with fast wifi to assure that you stay connected to your company and clients.
A well-organized home helps you to concentrate and supports your general workflow. The better your set up, the more energy you can put into the important things – your job.
2. Dress for success
Why it matters what you wear
Work clothes should be comfortable. So why not just move straight from bed to desk and spend the day in your pyjamas? It might seem trivial, but your energy and performance are intrinsically linked to how you feel mentally and physically. Undoubtedly, taking a few days to stay cosy can be relaxing and saves you time in the morning. However, falling into a uniform of sweatpants for an extended time can have a negative impact on your productivity.
Getting dressed properly signals to you that you are in work mode. When you have made the effort to put on something you feel good in, then you will be more likely to approach your day with confidence and purpose. Try to keep a degree of normality and get ready like you would do when going to the office. The change of clothes will shift your metal states and draws a boundary between work and home. Keeping a routine will help you to maintain a sense of control and influences your mood.
Moreover, how you dress effects the image others hold of you. If you look professional, others will automatically attribute more skills to you and clients may trust you more. Besides, you do not have to be afraid of unexpected video calls from your boss, if your appearance is representable.
3. A goal without a plan is just a wish
Make a to-do list
Sitting in your home office alone with countless tasks in your mind can be overwhelming. Maybe you can relate to that feeling of losing control and not knowing where to start. But desperately trying to work on multiple things at once will just lead to not finishing anything in the end. This condition can even have a negative impact on your performance, motivation and health in the long run.
Writing a to-do list can help you to structure your work week and ensures that you do not forget anything. Prioritize your tasks and determine what needs to get done and when. This will give you a better overview of your workload and on what you have already achieved. Dedicate yourself to one task at a time and keep your daily targets realistic, so every completion counts as success.
For most people, the morning is the time to get serious work done, so try to complete any difficult tasks as early in the day as you can. Check off items from your list will motivate you and keeps the spirit up. In order to develop a positive work attitude, you should reward yourself for a successful day.
Get in the habit of creating tomorrow’s to-do list before calling it a day, while information is still fresh in your mind. Then, you can jump right into things upon your return instead of trying to remember where you left off. At the same time, this ritual signals to your mind that the workday is complete, and you can start your evening off with a clear conscience.
4. Disconnect to reconnect
Maintain consistent working hours and breaks
Working remotely makes it difficult to maintain the famous work-life balance. You may find yourself stuck to your computer screen for a longer period than planned. Working hours are increasingly exceeded and breaks are cancelled in order to get more done in a day, but this can be extremely unhealthy. Taking time off from your screen, meetings and calls is a key element for greater productivity. It is important to give yourself a few minutes to breath and recharge batteries to clear your mind for the upcoming challenges.
However, breaks should be deliberately scheduled. Try to use them effectively to achieve a higher level of relaxation. Lying in bed and scrolling through social media does not contribute to your recovery. Make it a priority to get up from your desk and leave your workspace. Grab your favourite book from the library as well as a cold drink from our bar lounge and enjoy some fresh air on the rooftop terrace or meet a friend and exchange thoughts over a cup of coffee in the coffee lounge. At HVNS you have multiple opportunities to spend your free time. If you are feeling stressed it is even better to get active. Whether it is a quick yoga stretch or a walk outside. These activities will help you to reset and make the most of your workday.
As the world is becoming increasingly connected, we benefit from the ability to work from anywhere. But that means at the same time that we are virtually reachable 24/7. Though you may receive emails and chat notifications at any hour (especially if you are working in a different time zone than your co-workers). Realize that you do not have to be available all the time and take care of yourself. Try to develop a habit of setting a time when you officially “log off” for the night and enjoy some free time.
5. Communication is key
Don’t forget to socialize
One of the biggest issues about working from home is the social interaction. If you enjoy having a chat with co-workers and prefer to be surrounded by others during the day, feelings of isolation and loneliness could set in when you are sitting alone at your desk. Additionally, it can be difficult for your manager to keep your work top-of-mind so it might be that your successes are not appreciated as before.
Socializing is vital to your mental health and career. To make sure that you feel supported and connected, schedule virtual lunch meetings with colleagues or arrive to conference calls early just to shoot the breeze. Maintaining a satisfying social life outside of work and spending your breaks with friends can also help to reduce negative feelings.
At HVNS you even have the possibility to work in our coworking area to get in touch with your neighbours und enjoy a sense of community.
Since you are no longer a few desks down from your co-workers and manager, it gets harder to stay visible. Try to remind other company members that you are still there and keep them updated on your projects, current tasks and achievements. Advocate for yourself and clearly state your progress and expectations. A lively exchange will significantly facilitate your work processes.
6. Step by step
Make it a routine
Every beginning is difficult and we are all still in a period of transition. But regularly repeating productivity strategies can have a great impact on your performance and helps you to develop a healthy routine while working from home. Establishing new habits is an indispensable step towards sustainable success and enables you to enjoy the benefits and freedom of remote work.
There is a variety of approaches regarding the improvement of productivity while working from home. Certainly, they do not work equally well for everyone. It is about finding out what works best for you. Identifying the right way can be a process, so do not forget to remind yourself that not every day needs to be perfect! We try our best to support you on this way by offering a sophisticated infrastructure to simplify your everyday life.