Perhaps you work from home regularly, perhaps you have the option but don’t take it up very often, or maybe you’ve got children who are going to be on the long school holidays and being able to work from home all or part of the week will assist with childcare.
Whatever the reason, finding the self-control to get up on a morning and put in a productive day is inevitably that little more difficult if the weather is warm and sunny and there are places you’d rather be and things you’d rather be doing.
Rather than relent and give up the opportunity of remote working in favour of the office environment, there are some straightforward strategies to making working from home in the summer a pleasure, keeping your work rate up while enjoying the benefits.
Create a designated workspace – if you’re lucky enough to have somewhere that is separate from your living areas, you’ll find it much easier to concentrate. Try to find somewhere that isn’t in regular use by the rest of the household if that’s feasible. If you have a mental distinction between work and leisure, it’ll be easier to concentrate on your tasks and be more productive working from home.
Set goals and prioritise – make a to-do list every day or use productivity tools to organise tasks. By clearly identifying what needs to be accomplished, you can stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed.
Stick to a routine – maintaining a regular schedule is essential. Establish fixed working hours and try not to go beyond them. Finishing early on a nice day may be tempting but may leave you behind with your work. But similarly, it’s all too easy to forget the time and work well beyond your hours – it’s not good for you to work too long and if you’re tired, your work will suffer.
Try to find natural light - make the most of the longer daylight hours by setting up your workspace near a window. This will boost your mood and energy. Keep your curtains open and let the sunlight in to create a positive and invigorating environment.
Take advantage of breaks – however tempting it is to power on through the day, you need regular breaks. If the weather is nice, go for a short walk when you feel you’ve been sitting at your desk too long, and make sure you get out during your lunch break and enjoy the fresh air. Even if you just go and sit in the garden, it will recharge your batteries ready for the afternoon.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle – if you’re at home you’ll have constant access to cold drinks and snacks, so take advantage of them. Stock up on fruit and fill the ice trays so you’ve always got something cool, healthy and tempting to hand. Finish work on time and relax in the evening to improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep and being more productive the following day. Burning the midnight oil never did anything for anyone’s energy levels and cognitive function.
Minimise distractions – make sure family members or housemates know the boundaries during your designated work hours. Turn off notifications on your phone or use productivity apps that block distracting websites to maintain focus. Project management tools, time-tracking apps and communication platforms can all help you to stay organised and manage your time efficiently.
Maintain social connections – remote working can lead to isolation. Stay connected with colleagues through virtual meetings, video conferences or instant messaging platforms. Engaging with others fosters a sense of belonging and can provide valuable support and motivation.
There’s lots to be said for working from home if you approach it with the right mindset. By implementing these tips, you should be able to maximise your productivity, strike a balance between work and relaxation, and make the most of both your professional and personal life.
And don’t forget, being productive working from home is not just about working harder but working smarter.
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