Remote work has definitely taken off during the COVID-19 outbreak. More than 62% of employed Americans in a recent Gallup survey say they are working at home at least part of the time, a number that has doubled since mid-March. Research also shows that pandemic or not, the majority of Americans enjoy remote work and want to work at home at least part of the time if their jobs allow it.
But working at home has its challenges. One of the biggest, for example, is the distractions. Family, pets, a messy house … they all can take your attention away from what you’re trying to accomplish. Here are six ways to have a great day of work from home:
1. Ditch the PJs! While sleepwear might be more comfortable, getting yourself ready for the day will help you feel professional. Making your bed, having a nutritious breakfast and wearing at least business casual attire all can help you get into the frame of mind for a great day of work.
2. Schedule your time. It’s so easy to get caught up in your daily life tasks that work can get pushed aside. Schedule your time so that you can fit in housework and family time but get your work done, too. Set boundaries and stick to them.
3. Create a work space. Even if you work from the kitchen table, set it up in such a way that will help you be efficient and that will help you feel like you can get the job done. Keep what you need to work close by. Then you won’t have to go searching all over the house, possibly getting distracted.
4. Resist the temptation to multitask. While it is tempting to work with the TV on, it won’t help you get your work done. Try to reduce distractions that will slow your progress and work in intervals of time that can help you to truly focus. As human beings, we are not designed to effectively multitask, even though most of us try. Studies show that you’ll get more done — and do a much better job — if you’re focusing on one task at a time.
5. Get help with the kids. Many of us have been watching our children AND working during the pandemic. That’s tough to do. Watching children, especially babies and toddlers, can make it extremely difficult to give your work the focus and attention it deserves. Even teen-agers can be distracting! If getting help with child care isn’t possible, try getting up earlier than they do or, if you have a baby or toddler, carving out some time to focus during nap time.
6. Take advantage of your free time. One of the best things about working at home is having more time for things other than work. Without a commute and other activities involved in going to an office, you should have more time to get other things done. Make sure some of that time is spent doing things you enjoy.