How to work more efficiently from home
How can we get the most out of our days when we’re working from home? How can we stay focused when we are surrounded by temptations, distractions, private to-do lists and accumulated housework?
In short – how do we really work best from home?
At 24SevenOffice we have over 20 years experience as a «remote work solution». Check out our list of tips on how to optimize your workspace, mind and routines for better productivity.
It can be tempting to stay in PJ or cozy loungewear when no one is going to see us anyway. But is it wise? The symbolic value of clothing can affect us all. This is the reason why we like to feel more sporty in training clothes, and thus also more professional in our work clothes. In short: we become what we wear.
Structure the day
It is a good idea to plan our day in the best possible way. We suggests setting up the workday in blocks, so-called “time blocking”. If you have a more general responsibility, you may want to set up general blocks, and in some of these time periods you may want to make yourself unavailable for web meetings and phone calls.
2 hours for meetings
2 hours for project no. 1
2 hours for project no. 2 etc
2 hours for analysis/review
If you prefer a tighter schedule, you can cut up the blocks more specifically – as needed. The most important thing is that you follow the plan, and get the work done.
Change working position and seat
No matter how big house or small apartment we have – moving around during the day is essential, for example from the kitchen table to the sofa. Making small changes in field of view and sitting position and can give a new perspective and new energy – try and you will see the effect yourself.
Create your “dream office” or “work space”
Just like working in work clothes versus cozy wear, it is important to distinguish between what is home – and what is work space. What is important for you to be able to carry out your work? Good physical working conditions are absolutely central to a good and productive working day. Do you need a new work lamp that gives you good enough light? It is a good investment that you will enjoy for many years to come.
Neat surfaces “open up” the room and give a feeling of calm. Remove all disturbing items such as loose papers, old coffee cups and the like. Also remember to ventilate occasionally – fresh air is the alpha omega for concentration.
Take smart breaks
A huge advantage of working from home is that you usually get far better quality breaks than in a normal workplace.
Ten minutes to clean out the dishwasher, a 15-minute walk in the neighborhood or a laundry hang-up break are good examples of smart breaks – where you completely change focus, give the brain a break from what you are holding on to and also move the body.
In a survey that measured the proportion of work – and the proportion of breaks – one sees very clear trends in what is the smartest way to work. The most productive worked for 52 minutes, followed by a 17-minute break. There are many indications that the best break is a total break and not a pause, where the brain can relax and think about something completely different.
Keep track of time
If you are going to be able to work through a whole day and get effective breaks, it can be of great help with a stopwatch, alarms or alerts, or the aids that you find in the app for 24SevenOffice. You can easily download this in the App Store or Google Play.
By setting the stopwatch in the 24SevenOffice app, you can record the time you spend on a specific task. Then you get a better understanding of what you actually spend your time on, and not least you get “tracked” correctly billable time.
NOTE! 24SevenOffice can also be used in combination with the Busy time registration tool. By using Busy as an add-on, you automatically get calculated overtime and flexitime, while handling leave, vacation and absence is a breeze.
There are also a number of apps that allow you to block websites or social media during certain time periods, which can be a good idea when the distractions become a little too many – or intense.
Talk to someone during the day
Working from home can be lonely, so be sure to have one or more phone calls with colleagues during the day for some social contact.
Play “focus-friendly” music – if you enjoy it
Some work better with music than without, and it has long been established that music can make the mood rise – on a general basis. If you work in a detail-oriented way, or with numbers, classical music or instrumental songs are most effective, while pop music can work when you need to reach deadlines and reach tasks faster.
Physical activity – either before, during, or after the work day
Physical exercise is important for our health. But did you know that the brain is probably the organ that has the greatest positive effect of exercise? In other words, an effective workout during the day is a smart investment for your work performance, in addition to being an ingenious relaxation method. Win-win!
From all of us to all of you: Happy home working!