How do you improve your lockdown productivity? It’s a question that we’ve all been contemplating for almost a year now, and it looks like the debate will be rumbling on for some time yet. Working from home looks set to remain in place for the time being, with the Prime Minister announcing a full UK lockdown yesterday as part of the efforts to manage the impacts and stop the spread of Covid-19. For many, this is incredibly unwelcome news – the festive period was packed full of snap decisions and broken promises, and it looks as though we’re all going to pay the price by being forced to stay at home for the foreseeable future. With the lockdown now being enforced nationwide, it’s time to jump back into our remote working routines that felt all too familiar for most of last year. If you’re struggling to get back into the swing of things when it comes to working from home, check out our top tips for maximising lockdown productivity below!
1. Separate your space
We honestly can’t stress this point enough; if you want to be successful working from home, you have to be able to separate your work space from your personal space. One of the most difficult things when working from your home is losing the boundary between your work life and private life – in many cases, both of these things occur in the same spaces, which can cause your brain to remain in ‘work mode’ long after 5 pm. If you can, try to work in a room that you don’t usually spend your time in during the evening. This could be the dining room, a spare bedroom, or in the best-case scenario, a home office. If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, you’re already at an advantage – simply keep all work activity confined to that space, then socialise and relax in other spaces around your home. If you really need to, put a lock on the office door and keep it closed outside of the office; this essentially creates ‘business hours’ that you can force yourself to adhere to.
However, a home office is not something that we all have at our disposal, which can make the remote working challenge all the more frustrating. In these cases, it’s about dedicating certain areas to work and others to personal activity. If you’re working from a bedroom, try to work at a table or desk and always make sure to put your work equipment away at the end of the day – this puts it out of sight and out of your mind until the next morning. This also applies to those that are working at the dining table, on the sofa, and those that have stayed curled up in bed on their laptop!
2. Give yourself a break
It’s all too easy to get entirely consumed by your work when you’re stuck at home – people often fail to take regular breaks and end up glued to their screens for hours on end, which actually harms productivity in the long run. In order to stay productive, you’ll want to make sure that you’re taking regular breaks away from your desk, table, or whatever surface you’re working at, just as you would at the office. It goes unnoticed how important those trips to the water cooler and quick chats with colleagues help to keep your mind active and creative during the day. If you’ve got the time and energy, you could also use these short breaks to squeeze a short exercise routine into your day – by getting the blood pumping you’ll feel more energised and focused on your work, and you’ll also feel great thanks to all the endorphins that are released as you exercise! If that sounds a little too exhausting, try heading out for a brisk walk on your lunch break to grab a bit of fresh air; if you’ve got a pet, this is the perfect chance to take them on a walk!
3. What is your routine?
One of the biggest benefits to being in the office is routine – you know when you need to wake up, when you need to be at work, when you’ll be eating your lunch, and when it’s time to call it a day. Essentially, your entire daily routine is already laid out for you when you’re working in the office and unfortunately the same cannot be said for working at home. I’m sure many of us have made resolutions this year to start getting up a little earlier and improving our daily routines and this is great – the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel by completing all of your tasks in the day is sure to be a huge boost to both your productivity and mental health. As often as you can, ensure that you’re getting up, getting dressed, having some breakfast, and preparing yourself for the day as you would when you’re going to the office. One cool trick that many have been using is to still commit to the morning commute… virtually. To do this, you’ll essentially get up at the same time you would if you were having to commute, and you’ll spend some time doing the things you would on the way to the office like drinking a coffee, doing a crossword, reading a book, or just listening to some music. The familiarity of this routine can really help you start your day on the right foot.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself – we’re all struggling
It’s okay to not be okay. The world around us is a really tough place to be at the moment and everyone is coping with things in their own way, so don’t be afraid to feel like you’re struggling – you’re not alone in that. It’s important to remember that you’re doing your best in a truly unprecedented situation, and that’s something to be proud of. If you’ve had a slow day, don’t be too hard on yourself, I’m sure we’ve all had those days whether we’re in the office or not, just remember to keep on top of your workload to avoid the anxiety of feeling like you’re falling behind. If you do feel like it’s all a bit too much, talk to your colleagues and managers – they’re sure to offer a helping hand where they can during such a difficult time for teams across the country.
We hope that these working from home tips from the team here at Embryo help you to start 2021 on the right foot, and we hope to see more remote working innovations as the year progresses! Stay strong, keep your head up, and let’s overcome these obstacles together.