Now that the world has slowed down and we are all required to stay at home, most of us are required to change our daily lives to combat the enemy “COVID-19”. If you are currently living in South Africa, we assume you are doing a good job by staying home and practising social distancing due to the national lockdown. Well done! But what about the most important thing you need to do daily? What about your job? A lot of people are unsure about their jobs and many don’t really know how to work from home. For those of you who already are, or want to start working from home, we have compiled a few tips that can help you keep your productivity levels on par with what it was at the office.
1. Create a personal schedule
It is not enough that you know what tasks you need to accomplish. How you will be accomplishing these tasks is an essential step toward getting them done. Especially since you now have to work in a different environment with different distractions that keep you from getting things done. To adjust to your new environment, you need to separate personal time from work time and prepare a schedule that works for you. A good way of doing this is to prioritise tasks and allocate specific times to complete those specific tasks. Therefore, plan your days to have some order and plan your weeks to know how your week is going to look before you dive into it.
2. Add value
One way to stay motivated during this lockdown and to be really productive is to see what value you can add to work, tasks, or projects you are responsible for. This is the perfect time to add value to projects without being monitored or told to do so. Put in a little bit extra. Try something new. This way you keep your job interesting and you add value which can be advantageous to your company as well as to your career.
3. Keep in contact with colleagues
Talking to your colleagues can be advantageous to you as this will stimulate your brain to keep you in that work state. Communicating with colleagues about work-related topics can help you understand how to complete your tasks at hand efficiently and effectively. But instead of relying on WhatsApp to communicate rather use other communication methods like video conference platforms. Using WhatsApp can be counterproductive because of features like WhatsApp statuses and those friends and family group chats. So rather use video conferencing tools to stay in touch with your colleagues at work.
4. Keep in touch with friends
This is also important but can be counterproductive, especially when the topic is interesting and funny. Keep that separation. Rather do it at the end of the business day when you have completed everything you had planned for the day. This also gives you a sense of accomplishment and will boost your morale. Think of it as a privilege you have earned. Talking to your friends and family is one of the necessary things that can help you destress from all the work you have done during the day. So, make sure to schedule it in your daily plan because it is necessary.
5. Create a good working space
Like at work, it is essential to keep the space you have allocated for work clean and well organised. It is already difficult working from home, so do not make it even harder for yourself by working in an unpleasant space. Keep your workspace clean and make your new workstation work for you.
6. Create a list of things you can do from home
Realistically you will not be able to perform all of your tasks from home, but if you are required to work from home, you have no other choice but to do most of your work. We do, after all, live in a time where a lot can be done digitally, so identify what can and what can’t be done and list all the work activities you will be able to perform from home. Furthermore, getting more information on how best to do these functions will play in your favour, as you will be going the extra mile to ensure that “the enemy” does not hold you back. Understanding which activities you cannot do should also help you find creative and innovative ways to work on these activities, especially when they are key functions for your priority tasks. Plus, lucky for you, you will be able to access all the information you need on the internet. So, if you have not already, start researching and start learning.
7. Familiarise yourself with a video conferencing tool that works for you
Now that you are forced to adapt to this new way of working, it’s essential to understand the different types of work tools required to keep you well informed and effectively communicate with team members and managers. If your company already has a platform of choice, play around with the software and navigate through the software during your spare time until you are confident and well familiar with the tool. This is going to be very beneficial to you as this activity will assist you and your team in staying productive and more efficient during meetings.
8. Kill the social media distractions
Let me guess, you have looked at your phone more than a million times ever since the lockdown started. Chances are you even participated in a few challenges on TikTok and Instagram. Basically, you are addicted to social media now that your manager can’t catch you on your phone. But let’s be honest this new habit is extremely distracting, and you are falling victim to it every day. Well, just in case no one has told you yet: YOU NEED TO GET OFF YOUR PHONE, IT’S NOT GOING TO PAY YOUR BILLS AT THE END OF THE MONTH. One way of eliminating social media distractions is by focusing on your schedule. Now that you have created a schedule, work through it, and complete all the tasks within the time allocated. And once you have completed all the tasks of the day, you get to post, tweet, and do the challenges on TikTok. So, you are not avoiding social media, you are just managing it.
9. Keep work and personal life separate
A very important thing to do while you are working from home is to be able to separate your work life from your personal life. Now that you are working from home you are finding it hard to switch off. Either you are constantly thinking about work or you just continue working after hours because you really want that promotion. But the truth is, it is counterproductive not to switch off. When you do not give your personal life some sort of attention, you increase the risk of overwhelming and overworking yourself. Therefore, ensure that you allow yourself time to breathe. Attend to your personal matters so that you give your brain some time to recuperate.