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Coronavirus & Income Protection: 5 Tips to maximize productivity when working from home
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a quarter of the world’s population – around 2 billion people – are currently in some form of lockdown, and as a result, thousands of employees have found themselves having to work from home for the first time.
As well as health risks and a new working environment, many UK residents are now facing concerns about job security, loss of income, and possible redundancy, as many businesses struggle to cope with the Coronavirus crisis.
If you’re one of the 1.5 million people who already work from home on a daily basis, this won’t be out of the ordinary, but for the rest of us, it’s unchartered territory.
Here are some quick and simple ways to help you work more efficiently and proactively in these strange and uncertain times.
1. Get dressed
For some people, the prospect of being able to sit in their pyjamas all day long is the most appealing aspect of working from home. But in reality, getting dressed can significantly improve your productivity and motivation levels. Studies have shown that getting up, washed and ready for the day helps to prepare you psychologically, by putting you in a frame mind that’s conducive to working and getting things done. This doesn’t mean to say that you need to dress in full business attire every day. Just stick to clothes that are comfortable, but that you also wouldn’t mind leaving the house in, if you had to. If you know you’ll be required to attend video conference calls, it can be a good idea to adopt the ‘business casual’ dress code, as this will help you to move from a passive mindset into a more active one.
2. Set boundaries
People need boundaries in all areas of life, but when your home is also your office, structure and routine are more important than ever.
Start and finish at the same time every day – even if the nature of your job means you don’t have to. If you’re new to working from home, begin your working day at the same time you’d usually be arriving at the office. This will help retain a sense of normality, and make the adjustment process that bit easier.
When you’re working from home, boundaries should also apply to your working environment. If you can, make sure your workspace / computer is separate from your everyday living and sleeping area. Working from the comfort of your bed or sofa might seem great at first, but after a while, it’s guaranteed to have a negative impact on both your productivity, and your mental wellbeing.
At the end of the working day, switch off your computer and avoid checking any work related emails or communications in the evening, and don’t feel you need to overcompensate just because you’re working from home. As long as you’re productive during your usual working hours, and you communicate with colleagues regularly and efficiently, there’s no need to be huddled over your computer late into the night.
3. Keep active
When you’re working from home, you’ll probably be moving around a lot less than you usually would, but getting out and about is one of the best things you can do to increase productivity. You’ve probably heard that there’s a direct correlation between exercise and mental wellbeing. When you engage in physical activity, your brain releases endorphins, as well as chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which help to improve your mood, increase self esteem, and lessen feelings of stress, loneliness and isolation.
Studies show that getting outside for as little as 10 minutes a day can dramatically improve productivity, leaving you feeling motivated and ready to conquer whatever life throws at you.
If you can, it’s also a good idea to factor in an indoor workout once every day. Some simple stretches, or an online yoga tutorial can be a great way to wind down after a stressful day at the ‘home’ office. All you need is an exercise mat (you could even use a towel if you don’t have one) and your smart phone or tablet, and you’re good to go.
4. Take regular breaks
When you’re working from home, it’s important to get the balance right. Structure and routine are vital for productivity, but too much rigidity can make the working day feel monotonous and far from enjoyable. Be sure to factor regular breaks into your routine, to make sure you’re not spending too long on one task, and above all, to give your mind a well earned rest.
Many freelancers who work from home on a daily basis recommend the Pomodoro Technique, which requires workers to break their day up into 25 minute chunks. Follow this method of time management, and you’ll schedule in a five minute break at the end of each chunk, which, studies have shown, is likely to increase motivation, productivity and overall wellbeing.
5. Stay connected
It’s always a good idea to limit screen time and access to social media – whether you’re working from home or in an office – but there are still benefits to maintaining regular contact with friends and colleagues, even if it is through a screen. As well as minimising feelings of loneliness and isolation, regular communication has also been shown to directly increase productivity. If you’re talking about your work on a regular basis, you’re much more likely to hold yourself accountable, and keep track of your progress and professional development. Discussion and collaboration also have a positive impact when it comes to developing new ideas and insights, and of course, problem solving.
If you want to know more about protecting your income during the Coronavirus pandemic, get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 330 9465 and our friendly team will be more than happy to help.