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How to stay productive while working at home

Monday 30 March 2020 by Faron Le Prevost

Finding yourself working from home for the first time can be a worrying and curious prospect on how you will cope and not go insane.
On a positive note, you should find the experience more productive perhaps but on a negative note, isolating if you live on your own.
Now, this form of work is becoming reality, you need to position yourself for a stint that could go on for months.  Here are a few tips on how to cope.


Find a corner of your abode in which you can focus

A form of home office has to be an essential requirement if you want to be taken seriously and to be able to work undisturbed. You need to find a space in the house that you can make your own especially important if you don’t currently have an area which you call a home office.
Ideally, a room where you can close the door is the best option, perhaps a spare bedroom or dining room which won’t be catering for invited friends dinner parties for a while. If you are cramped for space you may not have a space that’s underutilized; that’s where you’ll have to make the difficult decision to create office space in your bedroom, lounge or even under the stairs – if possible.
The bare minimum you’ll need in your office is a desk to work on and a place to file papers. If you don’t have a desk, a table will work; a bookshelf will work for filing if you don’t have a file cabinet.  
Find a spot near a window so not to be too depressing and lacking natural light which can dampen your mood and productivity.

What if you have children?

If your job involves speaking to people by calls or video conferences, clients and work colleagues should be understanding if your children are playing (and not fighting) in the background while you’re talking with them on the phone. Choose the best times to make important phone calls where you need complete hush and peace around you, especially if your home office is open with no doors. When you know an important call has to be made, make a point of ensuring your children are occupied or having an afternoon nap perhaps? TV is a saviour at crisis times when a good movie will keep them quiet. Compromise and considerations need to be in place when you are working and business has to be done.  If your home life is noisy then headphones may help but should be the last resort.

Know when to switch off.

It easy because you work from home to fall into a trap of constantly working to impress your employer – but you shouldn’t to it. You must create a schedule of normal working hours where possible whilst understanding working from home may not always be a nine-to-five job. Customers and your line manager or a colleague may call you at unexpected times. Remember that the phone doesn’t always have to get answered and you can stop checking emails at certain times but be considerate. Figure out a schedule based on your workday and what suits you in your home environment. If you need to change your hours quite radically this needs to be discussed with your line manager and agreed prior to just changing without consultation and compromise on both sides.
For mental health and sanity, you also should not work seven days a week. Try to pick one or two days a week to completely switch off—by switching off this means no looking at work emails. One or two days a week must be for recharging your batteries and switching into the recreational mode with plenty of exercise and catching up with personal chores. Burnout is not something to be taken lightly and can easily happen when working from home without work parameters in place. There is always work which needs to be done on your desk but you must know when to prioritise and take time out.


While working from home do try and enjoy the experience, it doesn’t always suit everyone, but a lot of people can and do adapt. I think once the Coronavirus pandemic is over, local employers may allow staff to continue working remotely and it will be a new work era. As long as you can prove to your boss that you can be left to your own devices and work hard to achieve what is expected of you, then you may be able to continue to work from home, if this is what you would like to do, after the island is back to normal.