Having been working from home for over a year now due to COVID, there are still common problems many are seeking solutions to in order to stay productive.
While the work from home benefits have been clear, in terms of the increased flexibility it allows both employers and employees, the adjustment to working from home has also come with a set of daily challenges.
Many have been working longer hours, with no clear demarcation between work and home. People are taking fewer breaks, which could be because we haven’t been able to break up the day by chatting to co-workers.
Difficulties staying focused and motivated with both work and exercise, which directly affect our level of productivity, have also been challenging.
Let’s take a look at some work from hacks to help with these challenges.
Poor Posture and How To Correct It
Two-thirds (63%) of British homeworkers are in pain as a result of their makeshift home offices, new research by Bupa UK shows.
And even with an actual office chair and desk set-up at home, it’s hard to remember to maintain good posture throughout the working day, while slumped over a laptop.
To help remedy this issue, it’s vital to select the proper products for your work from home setup. When I first began working from home, I used an old crappy office chair and a small 13” MacBook pro. For Zoom meetings, I would just set my laptop on top of a cardboard box.
At the end of a long day behind the computer, not only were my eyes spent, but my lower back was screaming at me. That’s when I decided to invest in a few upgrades to my home office. When it comes to my health and wellness I don’t let price prevent me from getting what I need. Most products I use are well under $100. My new office chair came at around $150 and it was well worth it.
The combination of my new ergonomic office chair, laptop stand that positions my laptop at the correct angle and height, and an external keyboard/mouse combo all ensure my posture is on point.
Incorrect posture does affect your productivity. At a previous job prior to COVID, I was doing financial crime analysis which involves sifting through financial data on a computer all day long and creating narratives based on our analysis.
One of the guys on my team showed up to work one day with his own ergonomic chair, keyboard, and mouse. Oh and a pair of noise-canceling Bose headphones. Needless to say, that guy ended up outperforming every other person on our team.
Putting Procrastination On Its Heels
The existence of instant messaging platforms like Slack and the fact that deadlines still exist while working from home means the ability and need to regularly check in with co-workers and this should keep us completely focused, right? Not necessarily.
One suggestion to tackle procrastination is to share a task you plan on completing that day with another person or co-worker. Accountability makes it much easier to get on task and stay on task.
And while it may seem counterproductive when you’re against the clock, taking a break from your screen time for a few minutes can help reset your brain and re-energize your drive.
Find Dead-Time and Use It To Your Advantage
Not having to commute to the office over the last year has given many workers more hours back in the day, but also took away that time used while traveling to catch up on reading or reply to emails.
Many probably envisioned using that time instead to either get a head start on other chores or squeeze in some exercise before work.
However, the stress of the pandemic has disrupted our sleep, perhaps meaning that time might simply now be being used for some extra well-needed rest. And even for those that have managed to stick to getting up at the same time as before, some may be using it to start work earlier.
We used to consider the commute as dead time to be used for extra admin tasks, but now we need to think more intentionally about fitting those chores in. Without having that commute time, we need to be diligent about managing our time, especially that dead time.
Take that time you would have normally used for the commute to and from work and now figure out what productive tasks could be done in that time period instead. They don’t even need to be work-related tasks, just tasks that needed to be done that day. It could be paying a few bills, throwing a load of laundry in, or even returning emails. Just don’t waste the time scrolling through social media feeds.
If you want to visually see the tasks and have the satisfaction of completing them, try writing each task on a post-it note and put them somewhere in your home office. As you complete a task, take the associated post-it notes and toss them in the trash. How good does that feel?!
Getting Outside For Exercise
Nothing beats getting outside to explore and enjoy the outdoors. Whether I’m trail running, hiking, or just out for a walk, that time away from the grind allows my mind to clear and reset. Many times when I’m outside is when I get new creative ideas for articles and product journalism.
Moving your body, especially when you are sweating, lifts your mood and increases your energy. Thus, daily exercise makes a perfect habit for a high-performance lifestyle.
Even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your mood, focus, and motivation. This is something that I do multiple times a day to keep me going.