How to Stay on Task When Working from Home

Jackie Costa photo by Jackie Costa on Apr 09, 2020

COVID-19 is affecting our everyday lives and changing the way many of us work. For those who are accustomed to it, working remotely can give you time to focus on specific tasks or catch up on things without interruptions.

At Trivera, we’ve had the ability to work remotely for years and are now using the systems and processes we’ve put in place to ensure there’s nothing hindering client work.

But what if you are not used to working remotely? According to a Gallup survey, almost 60 percent of US workers do not work remotely but now suddenly must. Working from home brings some challenges. In fact, remote working is harder than usual now. But, since we’ve been doing it for so long, we’ve learned a few things along way. Whether you’re new or old to the WFH life, here are some tips:

  • Continue your routine. That means waking up at your normal work time, washing your face, probably brushing your teeth and getting dressed. Structure your day the same way you would as if you were going to an office. If you don’t normally unload the dishwasher soon after you wake up, now’s not the time to start.
     
  • Pick a spot. Ideally your dedicated home office space will have a door or at least some type of divide that creates separation between your work like and your home life. Setting boundaries will remind your family that just because you’re not away at an office doesn’t mean you’re not working. Make it a priority to let everyone know what your WFH life looks like. Be clear about when you’re working and when you’ve logged off.
     
  • Set a schedule. Designate a daily start time, end time and even a break time. This will help you focus, stay productive and not get distracted by your pet, the pantry or PBS. Be aware of time management – measure where your time is being spent to stay on track and not overwork. It will also ensure you don’t become overworked by getting lost in tasks that creep into nighttime hours.
     
  • Create a work plan. Work off a checklist. This is essential to staying focused on your high-priority tasks and upcoming deadlines. Use that to check-in with your project manager or team leader throughout the week on tasks and time, and adjusts the plan as needed. As a side note, it is important for someone to have a master checklist in addition to individual checklists ensures nothing gets missed and everyone is on the same page. Plus, you’ll find it satisfying to see what you’ve checked off in a day.
     
  • Stay connected, communicate and communicate some more. It’s critically important to stay in touch with your co-workers. Since you can’t pop over to someone’s desk or chat with them face to face, you must find a way to make up for that lost 1:1 time. This could mean everything from agenda-less check-in group texts to Zoom meetings. Video chats create a feeling of being together and re-assurance that you’re still part of a cohesive team. We mentioned several tools (free and paid) for video chats on a recent Trivera Tip Tuesday episode. When in doubt communicate and then do it again. And remember, tone doesn’t always come across in email to be clear and positive.

One last note, if you have started working remotely within the past few weeks, rest assured it’s not normally this hard. Work life has been complicated by the stress of stay-at-home orders, homeschooling and space limits. It can take weeks to adapt your routines and settle in, but eventually you’ll become incredibly productive.

Learn more about how to better work from home by spending 10 minutes on our YouTube channel where we’ve offered more examples, research and our thoughts on a recent Trivera Tip Tuesday episode.
 


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