Currently, millions of Americans are now working remotely to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying productive during such a chaotic time might feel impossible. However, there are a few ways you can recalibrate to survive and even thrive while working from home. Here are some tips to help you find your groove:
Set the mood.
The right ambiance can boost your productivity by up to 20 percent, so it’s important you make sure you have the right environment in your home office.
Start with the lighting. Studies have found that white lights improve your productivity by reducing fatigue, so keep that in mind when you’re setting the lighting for your work area. Letting natural sunlight in is also great for your mood. Several studies have shown that the Vitamin D you absorb from sunlight fights depression and helps you focus.
Speaking of nature, try to keep houseplants in your work area. Studies suggest that natural greenery in your workspace helps you feel calmer and they improve your air quality—two important factors for improved work stamina.
Cut the clutter.
Clutter is bad for your productivity, so you’ll need to create a system that keeps your work area tidy. Eliminating mounds of paperwork is one of the simplest ways to achieve a neat space. Invest in a desktop scanner so you can easily digitize your paperwork. We especially like the ScanSnap iX1500 because it backs everything to the cloud, so you can easily share documents.
For papers you must keep, file them away in a simple system. Gather some artsy file folders and suddenly your system doubles as decor--giving an instant mood boost. Give some thought to the color of your decor, too. Blue, for example, has been shown to boost productivity and feelings of calmness.
Also, get into the habit of combing through your workspace once a week to toss any clutter that you no longer need. Friday afternoons tend to be ideal because this task doesn’t require much focus, so it can be a useful way to ramp down into the weekend.
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to slip into email overload. After all, if you can’t pop into someone’s office physically, the alternative tends to be email. We suggest you work around that by installing a simple messaging app for your computer. Slack, for example, is designed to help remote teams collaborate. You can easily chat, share documents and calendars--thereby saving your inbox.
Serene, another desktop app, also helps you stay focused by blocking distracting websites. Each day, the app helps you set and reach clear goals, so you can stay on track. Also, consider putting your cell phone on airplane mode when you really need to focus.
Lastly, realize that working remotely is not a one-size fits all. We encourage you to try different schedules and arrangements to learn how you work best. Most importantly, don’t forget to power down and give yourself time to recharge. This is a truly stressful time, and your emotional and mental health are critical to your wellness.
Staying well through this crisis is ultimately what matters most, and it may even teach you a few positive habits that will help you in the long run. We would love to hear from you how you are doing. Please share your work from home routine in the comments below!