Aut­hor: Sam Bro­zyn­ski, Assi­stant Con­sul­tant

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.

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