The outbreak of COVID-19 has forever changed the landscape of Corporate America. With more employees working from home this past year due to the virus outbreak, many employers are making a permanent shift to work-from-home cultures. But while some employees are thriving in their work-from-home environment, those who struggle with accountability, self-discipline, and creating structure, among other skills, are struggling to overcome the many distractions faced in a work-from-home setting. If you’re struggling to minimize distractions while working from home, there are many best practices to help you adapt to a work-from-home environment.
Here are some New Year’s resolutions to decrease distractions when working from home.
Create a Daily Routine and Stick to it
The most important thing you can do for yourself when working from home is create a daily routine and stick to it. A structured office environment makes maintaining a routine easy, but it takes more effort to establish one when you’re working from home with endless distractions and no set structure. Set specific times to wake up, get ready for the day, and start working. Take your lunch and breaks at designated times, and set a consistent stopping point. If you have children who are at home in e-Learning, set expectations with your family to minimize interruptions that interfere with your workday routine. Let them know what times you’re available and when you are not to be disturbed.
Start Your Day Early
Working from home with a big household can be challenging, especially with small children who require your attention. Waking up before the rest of the house to log a few uninterrupted hours of work time can help you get a head start on your day or give you time to complete a strenuous project that requires your undivided attention and focus.
Designate a Home Office
If you don’t have a home office, it’s important you designate a specific workspace. Working from your couch or bed is not ideal. The more relaxed you are, the less productive you’re likely to be. Use your kitchen table or create a makeshift desk in an area that has ample lighting or a window. Keep the area clutter-free and organized. You want your work space to be orderly and efficient, but also peaceful, since you’ll be spending most of your day there.
Nip Online Distractions in the Bud
If self-control isn’t your strong suit, there are site blockers, such as StayFocusd and WasteNoTime, that you can download to block websites of your choice. Instead of battling with your self-control (or lack thereof), these site blockers make it so you don’t even have the option of opening your favorite social media or news sites during the work day.
Save Your Sweatpants for the Weekend
The ability to wear pajamas or sweatpants all day may seem like a perk to working from home, but it can be counterproductive. Your brain associates loungewear with relaxation and downtime, which can decrease your productivity. Dress as you normally would in your office environment to improve your productivity and focus. Make getting ready for the work day part of your routine and do exactly as you would if you were getting ready for a day at the office.
Set a Stopping Point and Stick to it
If you have trouble stepping away from your desk at the end of the day, set a designated stopping point and set a timer if you need to. Setting boundaries for your work day is key to preventing burnout and other mental health issues that stem from overworking yourself. When you stick to quitting at the same time every day, you preserve motivation for the following day.