With more and more employers granting their employees permission to work from home, remote working is becomingly increasingly popular. And whether you work from home part-time or full-time, it’s likely that you’ve experienced some of the benefits remote working has to offer while also encountering a few challenges along the way.
For many individuals, one of the greatest challenges is maintaining high levels of focus and motivation when working outside their typical office environments. For instance, you may find that having less supervision requires better time management and planning on your part in order to complete your daily tasks and continue to perform at your best. There are also more distractions when working from home – particularly if there are other people around, such as spouses, relatives or housemates – which can make it more difficult to remain concentrated on the work at hand.
But don’t panic – we’ve put together some practical tips to combat distractions and help you navigate this new style of working, so you can boost your productivity and focus.
While you’re here, discover even more tips and hacks to help you work from home like a pro:
- #WorkWell: Professional Ergonomist’s 11 Tips to Working from Home
- 5 Steps to Creating Healthier Habits When Working from Home
- #WorkWell: Six Time Management Hacks to Boost Job Performance
- #BeWell: What Does Self-Care Mean When it Comes to Your Work Life?
Our top four tips for toning down distractions while working from home:
1. Create a dedicated work space
While working from your bed or couch may seem tempting at first, the truth is that the appeal is bound to wear off quickly. This is because our brains tend to associate certain spaces with particular tasks so working from an area of your home that is geared towards recreation and leisure tends to effect productivity negatively.
We suggest separating your living and work spaces and, if possible, set up your home office somewhere as far away from your bedroom as possible. This can help ensure that your brain associates your office space with work and productivity as opposed to rest and relaxation.
2. Make sure your home office is geared towards productivity
If you want to boost productivity, it’s important to pick a quiet spot in your home when setting up your home office. You want to ensure that it’s free from as many unnecessary distractions as possible – so avoid having televisions or other digital devices nearby which might distract your focus. In addition, if there are other members of your household around, it’s best to try and stay out of their way. After all, there’s nothing worse than trying to have an online meeting or phone call with housemates or family members walking by your office desk every two minutes.
TIP: It’s a good idea to reach an agreement with the other members of your household as you start getting used to working from home. Be upfront and communicative about your work hours and your needs so that those around you know when you are on important calls or unavailable. Second of all, we recommend equipping your home office with ergonomic office furniture which can help reduce pain and discomfort experienced while working – both of which can cause distractions and hamper your job performance. By contrast, better comfort tends to increase concentration and reduce fatigue. Ergonomic office furniture such as ergonomic office chairs and desks are therefore a worthwhile investment if you spend the majority of your workday seated at a desk or computer.
Setting up a home office and wondering where to start?
- The Secret to Creating the Perfect Work Station at Home
- #WorkWell: Why is Having an Ergonomic Office Chair Important?
- Building your Dream Home Office: Integrating with Home Decor & Other Key Considerations
- How to Choose the Right Ergonomic Office Chair
3. Stick to office hours
Working at home may grant you the freedom and flexibility to work at any time but if you want to maximise productivity, we recommend that you maintain your regular office hours. The reason is twofold – on the one hand, working for a fixed period of time a day helps provide structure and routine which can make it easier to distinguish between ‘work mode’ and ‘relaxation mode’. Secondly, it’s better for your work-life balance.
Although it is often perceived to be less stressful, working from home can sometimes blur the lines between your professional and personal life which means you may actually end up working extra hours without even realising it! For this reason, it’s important to properly switch off after office hours and recuperate – that way, you’ll be more energised the following work day and less likely to be distracted.
4. Keep your office work-ready
A work-ready office means that you have everything you need to start working the moment you enter your office each morning. Creating to-do lists the night before can help you better manage your time and decrease distraction. In addition, you want to ensure that your office is free of clutter and that everything you need is within arm’s reach while you are seated at your desk.