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stay focused working from home

Stay Focused While Working From Home Tips

April 28th, 2020

Like most everyone, you are likely finding yourself working from home as a result of COVID-19. And, not only are you working, but you may also be helping your kids navigate remote learning at the same time. All this can be a significant change, especially for those of you who prefer being in the office. A recent report from People Element stated that nearly one-third of people say they cannot work effectively from home. As your PEO services company, we get it. Working from home can be difficult, but we have some tips that can help keep you focused and productive. But, we cannot promise you we will be able to help you understand your kids’ math (when did they stop carrying the one, anyway?).

Tip #1: Stick To Your Routine

Think about what you did before working from home. You likely had a morning routine of some sort. You woke up, worked out, showered, got the kids going, watched the news, etc. Whatever your routine was, try your best to stick with it. If you woke up at 5:30 am, keep waking up at that same time. Routines help set up your day and help your mind settle into work mode. Those people with set a routine are often more productive.

Tip #2: Find a Dedicated Space

The problem with working from home is, well, it’s home. There are lots of distractions that sometimes inhibit your ability to focus on work. If possible, create a dedicated area in your home where you work. Some of you may have an office. Others may just have the kitchen table. Either is fine, but try as much as possible to make that your work area. Set up that area much like your office workspace. Doing so will again trick your mind into a more work-focused function.

Tip #3: Take Breaks

Some people find that when they work from home, they need to take more frequent breaks. It is OK to take the dog for a walk or take a lunch break on the deck. And, of course, it is perfectly fine to check in with the kids and help them with their school work. When people take little breaks and get their minds off of work for a moment, they often come back to work more focused and productive, especially in the afternoon.

Tip#4: Focus Music

When you are in the office, you may have headphones and music playing in your ears, especially if you work in an open environment,t to help keep out the noise. If that works for you in the office, do the same at home. Background music does help boost productivity and focus, especially classical music.

Tip #5: Get Acquainted with Technology

Some people do not feel as productive working from home because they cannot easily collaborate and brainstorm with co-workers. After all, you may have been used to just going over to your co-worker’s area and discussing items or having a quick meeting. But, many tools can help you and your co-workers connect. Most offices that use Microsoft have access to Microsoft Teams. This tool allows you to instantly message co-works, share documents, and even video chat. If you do not have teams, Slack is another tool with many of the same features. Zoom and Skype are now the accepted new normal of meetings and are very simple to set up and schedule meetings. Lastly, Google Hangouts allows for video and text chat.

All in all, even with these tools, it is different than everyone being in the office. You just have to be a little more proactive and intentional in your communication outreach. If you are struggling with the technology, take time to familiarize yourself with them. Sometimes trying to learn them while working can be frustrating but, taking an hour or so on a Saturday in a more relaxed frame of mind, can help you better master these tools. Or ask your kids to help. They are probably masters of these things thanks to their remote learning.

The New Normal

We do not know how long working remotely will last. But, it is safe to say it is going to be the new normal for some time. Even as restrictions lift, more employers will have a gradual return to work policy. Some may only start with half the teams returning, but many people may not as they grow more accustomed to working remotely. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 25 to 30 percent of the workforce will be working from home multiple days of the week by the end of 2021. Considering that before the COVID  pandemic, only 3.6 percent worked at home with any regularity, that is a dramatic increase. So, the more you can find ways and tools to help stay focused and productive at home, the better. Like all things, the more you do something, the better you get at it.