Due to the current corona situation, many people currently work in the home office. Most of them are experiencing similar problems: How do I work productively from home? How do I separate work from leisure time? How can I exchange information with my colleagues in a meaningful way? How do I stay concentrated and not let myself be distracted?
Of course, everyone has to find his or her ideal approach, but there are some tips that can help you.
We present 8 tips that you can follow for productive work in your home office.
1. Create a room or place to work and furnish it according to your needs
Depending on the spatial possibilities, this is easier said than done, but the recommendation is still to set up a corner or a room exclusively for virtual work. This strict separation helps to actually switch off at the end of the working day or, conversely, not to be distracted by private topics during the course of the working day.
Of course, an extra study, which can be furnished according to individual needs, is ideal for this. But a table is also sufficient to create your ideal workplace.
At home you have the freedom to design the workplace according to your own needs and wishes – you should definitely make use of this. It is important that it is clean and tidy, disorder is an unnecessary distraction.
A healthy sitting posture is also important. Here you can orientate yourself on the most important points for ergonomics at the workplace:
Other recommendations are natural light and the right working temperature.
The more daylight you have at your workplace at home, the better. Sunlight as a light source has been proven to increase productivity. Insufficient lighting, on the other hand, can cause headaches, concentration problems and depressed mood.
The perfect working temperature is 20-22 degrees. If it is too warm, you will become sleepy. However, if your fingers get cold, typing errors are inevitable.
2. Do not get too comfortable.
Yes, it is very tempting to boot up your PC in bed and answer your first e-mails in your pyjamas. And you can also work comfortably on the couch. Nevertheless it is not advisable. Because the place and the clothes have an unconscious effect on your mood. Of course, you don’t need to sit at your desk at home in a business suit. Decide on comfortable clothes that you would also wear in the office – then even spontaneous video calls from your supervisor, colleagues or a customer are no longer a moment of shock.
It is also important that you maintain your daily routine. The alarm clock may ring later, of course, because you save yourself the trip to work, but otherwise we recommend: Same procedure as every day. And the working day can already start productively.
3. Plan your working hours and To Dos.
When working in your home office, it can happen very quickly that work and private life get mixed up, when the weather is fine, longer breaks are taken or work is done for far too long. Therefore, it makes sense to set your own fixed working hours, keep to them and make a plan of what you need to do that day. The times must of course be communicated to your own team so that meetings can be planned accordingly.
It helps to set concrete tasks for the day and to plan the time needed for them. In this way, it is also possible to plan breaks, giving the working day a clear structure. It is important that you do not overdo it in order to be able to keep to the schedule and the given breaks.
For the successful implementation of your goals, various productivity methods are suitable. The “Eat the Frog” method, which takes the approach of doing the task first at the beginning of the day, which is perceived as the most unpleasant, could perhaps help you. The Pareto principle, on the other hand, says that the tasks that have the greatest impact on the company’s success should be done first.
There are various tools against distraction from social media, such as Rescue Time, which can temporarily block access to the desired pages. To block out ambient noise, either classic earplugs or noise-canceling headphones can be used. This helps ensure that you stay focused and can complete the tasks you set for yourself.
4. Care for your physical well-being
When working at home, the same principles apply as when working in the office. You should always have a bottle of water on your desk so that you don’t forget to drink enough throughout the day.
Most people also have a few snacks available at your workplace if you want to snack while working. Therefore, ideally you should also have some healthy office snacks such as nuts, fruit or vegetables available at home in advance.
A good break at lunchtime is also important to be able to continue working productively in the afternoon.
5. Use breaks to go out into the fresh air
Fresh air during the break can be a nice change and help to relax. In contrast to working in the office, the lunch break can also be filled with some sport when working in the home office. Exercise is good for clearing the head and gathering new energy. Jogging, yoga or even a short walk is particularly suitable for this.
In order to take enough breaks, it is a good idea to set a timer, for example, because unfortunately no nice colleague comes to the home office and asks for a coffee together.
6. Encourage the exchange with colleagues and customers
A big disadvantage of working in a home office is that you cannot maintain a personal exchange with your colleagues, customers or business partners. This creates the danger of quickly feeling lonely. One way of counteracting this is to make video phone calls. Although they do not replace personal exchanges with each other, they are a good complement to contact via e-mail or chat.
In general, good communication is particularly important when working on the move, so that colleagues also know when who is available and when. Simple information and short votes in teams can be handled wonderfully in digital group chats. In this special situation, it is also advisable to define a daily-like structure in which your work progress in the team is made transparent.
7. Try to hold meetings as efficiently and in a regulated manner as possible.
Inefficient online meetings can cost time and nerves. Therefore, every team should establish rules and guidelines that help to increase productivity in meetings. We have collected some examples for you here:
- Be on time.
- Let each other finish.
- Make sure you’re not distracted or disturbed by background noise during the call.
- Appoint a moderator for each meeting
- Make sure that you choose the right equipment that does not create unwanted reverb. If you have frequent videoconferences, make sure the lighting is adequate but not too bright – and that the camera’s field of vision is kept tidy.
- Limit the number of participants: Which team member is essential to make the meeting a success? Only these people should be invited.
- Prepare an agenda for your meeting and share it in advance: this is a huge efficiency booster, as the important issues can be discussed in an orderly fashion.
- Take minutes of the meeting, noting down open tasks and responsibilities.
- If possible, try to use video calls instead of telephone calls. This helps to ensure that voices and information transmitted via body language are not lost.
8.Draw a clear line under the working day after work.
At the end of a day it is important to look back at the past day and identify possible improvements. What in particular has helped you to be able to work productively? Did you complete your planned tasks or were they too much/too little? Did you keep your breaks? Did new tasks come up that you can complete tomorrow?
If you answer these questions yourself, you can start the next day in a more structured way and increase your productivity even at home.
It is just as important to get off work and draw clear boundaries between work and private life. In the best case, this also means a change of location – from work to the living room, for example. Shut down the computer and dedicate yourself to your work, just as you would on a “normal” working day.
If you follow these eight tips, you will have a good basis for productive work in your home office. And should you ever want to take your mind off it: on our blog you will find many more exciting articles 😉