Millions of people around the world work from home during lock downs and social distancing measures, enforced to contain the spread of Covid-19. As a result, many organisations are set on continuing this trend, even after the end of this crisis. The reasons for this range from lower overheads and maintenance costs to higher levels of job satisfaction reported by employees. Yet, the important question is: how can one remain efficient, productive and happy while working from home?
Studies prove that working from home has multiple benefits
An article in Oxford Academic refers to the beneficial outcomes of working from home already in 2014. The article quotes the results of an experiment by a NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. ‘Home working led to a 13% performance increase, 9% from working more minutes per shift, (fewer breaks and sick days), and 4% from more calls per minute, (attributed to a quieter and more convenient working environment). Home workers also reported improved work satisfaction…… This highlights the benefits of …. modern management practices like WFH’.
More recently, an article on popular website Mind Tools highlights a study from 2019: ‘Increasingly, home is being seen as the most productive place to work. A 2019 survey of 1,004 full-time employees across the U.S., including 505 remote workers, found that employees who worked from home worked an average of 16.8 more days every year than those in an office.’
How do you start working from home?
Once the decision has been made, you should create your office at home. It can be a whole room, or a quiet corner in your living room.
Following that, you should purchase the equipment: a good quality computer fitted with a camera and microphone. Also useful are a set of good headphones to avoid distractions, an anatomic seat to support your back, a printer and a desk with storage space.
Equally important is getting electronic tools and applications, that will keep you connected with colleagues and clients.
In fact, you can even invest in time management and project management tools, to track your performance and become motivated.
Working from home alone
In case you are isolating home alone, things can become boring and emotionally destabilising quite fast. So, remain efficient, mentally alert and emotionally balanced, by sticking to a strict work schedule. The danger of a work burn out does not disappear because you work from home.
Make to-do lists, keep deadlines, prioritise, avoid social media and other distractions during work hours. But close your computer at the time you finish work and plan fun things to do in the evenings.
Earning a new qualification from home
It is important to connect with friends, exercise, pamper yourself, or learn new things in your off work time. One idea is to enroll for an online course. Learning a new language, or new skills can improve your future career prospects.
For example, you can use the money you save while staying at home to study for a higher degree. With a new qualification you can emerge from the pandemic better skilled and ready for a promotion, a new job, or a business of your own.
In addition, a generous scholarship programme and easy payment plans make studying through Unicaf very affordable.
Taking proper care of yourself
As expected, living alone may not inspire you to cook often. However, this can be bad for your health, your waistline and your mental agility. You should cook a warm meal at least once a day. Also eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and get enough sleep to allow your body to rest properly.
Equally important is to do some form of physical exercise every day. Interestingly, there are lots of online exercise options, from yoga to Zumba classes. You can also do some gardening, power walking or cycling. The endorphins released after physical activity will help clear your mind and lift your mood.
Working from home with children in the house
For parents of young children, working from home can be trickier. In addition to their work tasks, they have to keep the children cared for and away from the home office.
In this case too, a daily schedule that suits your work needs and your children’s basic care needs, can be very useful.
Send the children on a treasure hunt
Since children are so adaptable, and see the fun aspect even in doing house chores, you can get them to help around the house without them realising it.
For example, ask them to go on a hidden treasure hunt. The treasure can be old toys you saved, a packet of biscuits, small juice cartons, colouring pencils, story books, kaleidoscopes and puzzles you can buy online, children DVDs etc. In order to find the treasure, the children will have to make their beds, collect their toys and hang their clothes.
You deserve your ‘me’ time
It’s always a good idea to ask for help when you need it from your partner, your neighbour, your in-laws, or anyone else. They can help you with grocery shopping, or look after your children, while you attend that important work video call with investors, clients or managers.
In order to remain productive at work and happy at home with the family, take time to relax alone. Take a long bubble bath, watch your favourite TV show , or connect with fellow online students in other countries. These short ‘breathers’ can rejuvenate your body and mind so that you can work better and study better.
In other words, whatever the situation in your household, you can remain efficient, productive and happy, while working from home. Simply follow a few important rules: be disciplined and organised, prioritise, avoid distractions, eat well, sleep well and exercise.
As a final advice, use working from home as an opportunity to redefine your life and career goals. Consider studying online for a higher qualification with a reputable UK university, at a fraction of the cost through Unicaf. This new qualification can help you stand out as a professional in the highly competitive work environment of the future.