3rd of April 2020
In recent years, the home office has increasingly developed into a common form of work. Due to digitalization and new technological possibilities we can work together online and are therefore more flexible and independent of location. The mobility of technical equipment and the use of collaborative tools make this possible. However, there are also other factors that lead to significantly more work in the home office in the short term. For many, this is easier said than done. Even though we have many technical possibilities to work productively from home, we often lack self-discipline and clear structures that we encounter at work. That’s why we have 5 tips for you in the following, which will help to maintain productivity from the office at home.
1. Setting up a fixed workplace
It makes a big difference — especially subconsciously — to have the feeling to be at work. This means not sitting on the couch but choosing a suitable table with enough space and a straight sitting position. Ideally, your workplace should only contain the things you need for work. Things that you do not need in the office can be removed from your workplace if there is room in another room. The dining table can also be converted into a desk.
2. Planning and communication of working time
If you already use a tool for time tracking or general work planning, use it at home too. It is important to allocate time for specific tasks in a well-considered way. This will help you achieve your goals and work efficiently. It is especially important with regard to the home office that you share your planning with your colleagues so that they know exactly what you are working on. If there are interdependencies between the tasks, this will improve communication and joint achievement of goals. A Daily Stand Up is suitable for this, as it allows everyone to coordinate both the current work status and availability.
3. Take your normal breaks
Breaks are important. They protect you from too much stress and the body needs them to regenerate. Even in your home office you should keep to your usual break times in order to be able to continue working more effectively and efficiently afterwards. Move to another room or go out into the fresh air for a short time to create sufficient distraction. You should also make sure that you eat and drink enough. For this reason, an extensive lunch break is essential to provide rest, distraction and energy. Smaller breaks for snacks such as fruit or a coffee also help to clear your head.
4. Make sure that you are not distracted
Even if you’re not using a work laptop, you don’t need to be distracted by private mails, notifications or videos. Block your notifications from websites and apps that are not related to your work. If possible, use a free space that’s not otherwise used during the day. If you don’t have a free space by being undisturbed during the day, noise cancelling headphones can only be recommended. Often, however, it is sufficient to state that you do not wish to be disturbed. Especially if you are under time pressure and want to complete certain tasks, you should definitely create a quiet environment. If you want to do housework or have other to-do’s, do this after work. Otherwise, you will be tidying up, cleaning or other to-do’s, as they are a welcome distraction from work.
5. Do not forget to communicate!
Remember that your colleagues will not necessarily know what you are working on and what progress you are making. What is often a brief verbal status update in the office is not necessary in the home office and should be maintained by sensible means of communication. A team-internal messenger like Microsoft Teams or Slack is commonly used by companies today and helps to communicate short but important updates and to solve small challenges at work quickly and efficiently. But even for the less important but fun things in life, such a messenger is great. So that office small talk doesn’t get lost, why not start a survey about the most beautiful coffee cup or the best background for video calls.
Let us use the time to make work effective from home without losing the fun and team spirit. Instead, rediscover the work from home and make the most of it together as a team. These tips are therefore not only currently relevant, but long term help for the work at home.