One of the most notable shifts to emerge from 2020 in the world of work was undoubtedly the dramatic rise in remote working. Nations such as the US and UK have reported a leap in the number of people who would typically be office based now primarily fulfilling their roles from their own home.
Forbes reports that pre-pandemic, just 5% of those in office roles worked full time from home on a permanent basis. Experts say that number will increase to around 30% in the aftermath of COVID-19. Around half of US employers expect that 4 in 10 of their team members will work from home for at least three days out of the week in the post-pandemic era.
It’s a similar tale in the UK too, with the CIPD saying that around half of UK employers are prepared for 40% of their workforce to remain working at home in the longer term. Almost a quarter of organisations expect home working to be the norm in the future.
This shift to remote working hasn’t just been challenging for businesses, many of whom might have resisted remote work prior to their hand being forced by the pandemic – it also marks a big departure for employees too. Without the structure of the office day and the formality of the office environment, it can be hard to remain productive and keep a work-life balance. Time management is key.
1. Invest in Good Tech
As much as it’s very important to have the space set aside for work, managing your to-do lists, and setting work hours, it’s also very important to invest in good equipment or tech that will help you get more work down, efficiently. One thing I love to do is plug in my headphones and zone out into the task at hand. A great pair of headphones like the new Epos ADAPT 660 headphones. It’s designed to maximize focus and productivity using Artificial Intelligence, adaptive noise cancellation and what’s also great is that you can use it for calls, whether using Zoom or your phone.
It has microphones designed for the best call clarity. Using machine learning developed algorithms, the EPOS 660 will optimize voice pick up, for a natural listening experience from its three built-in advanced microphones – ideal for voice clarity during Zoom calls, for example. The ADAPT 660 also works with Alexa, so you can use it to stay organized. I use mine for ordering things I need from Amazon, set reminders, and even timers for then I need to take a break away from my computer screens.
2. Turn off Notifications & Distractions
Working from home brings with it many distractions. If you live with family or friends also at home or have children homeschooling, it’s easy to have your focus dragged away from work.
Similarly, the temptation to look at your phone, scroll social media or catch up on a few quick chores around the house, can all creep in when you don’t have a boss or supervisor present. Turning off your mobile phone notifications during working hours is the simplest way to limit distractions and ensure you stay focused on the task at hand.
3. Set Up a Home Office
Another way to boost your ability to manage time is by setting up a designated home office. This should ideally be located in a room that is separate from where you relax, helping to establish boundaries between work and downtime and limiting distractions.
Having a designated ‘work zone’ can also help you to maintain your normal office habits, such as creating to-do lists, prioritising your time, focusing on work projects rather than social media, and so on. Likewise, having space you can close the door on when your workday is done will help you to switch off and unwind.
4. Use a Time Management App
If you’re still struggling, you may want to turn your attention to technology. There is a huge range of time management apps out there that can track your time and help you achieve maximum productivity.
One of the best is RescueTime, a tool that tracks what you’re doing on your device. It will then send you weekly reports based on your usage. If something that shouldn’t be is taking up your time, this app will let your know – you may be surprised to see just how much time is being wasted, and can make any necessary adjustments to your routine. This app also has a notification blocking feature to help you stay focused.
5. Schedule Set Work Times
Just as you would usually work set hours when physically traveling to your office, you should set the same boundaries even when you aren’t leaving the house. It can be tempting when working from home to either be too relaxed and never get anything done, or to overwork yourself and eat away in your free time. Setting a work schedule – including a start time, finish time, and designated lunch breaks – can be a huge help.
What are you doing to manage your time and stay focused working from home? Let me know in the comments below. In this series, I’ll also be giving away two pairs of the new ADAPT 660’s, so do subscribe, bookmark and come back again.