Useful tips to help create effective habits and achieve greater productivity while working from home.
Tips for efficiently working from home
Adapting to a new work environment is always difficult, even when it’s moving into the comfort of your own home. Working from home can present new obstacles for those we are learning to manage work and life, in their household. Different variables like implementing new rules, practicing good habits and maintaining a healthy balance, are very important.
With the help of two experienced real estate agents with Coldwell Banker®, we have identified some useful tips to help create effective habits and achieve greater productivity:
- Create a Workspace (And Keep it Tidy)
First, create a designated workspace that you can call your office and in which you keep your work. This helps to make the distinction between where you work and where you live.
Make sure to keep your workspace organized and keep your essentials at hand – notes, office supplies, water and brain-food snacks. This helps you focus and avoid getting up to find things, constantly, which can lead to more distractions.
“I knew that I would be working from home much more than normal in the coming weeks and decided I needed to make a change, and fast. We had a desk in the basement, and we had a store credit on Wayfair.com that we decided to use to purchase a new desk chair. With these items and some rearranging of furniture, I was able to create the perfect home office for me in our den.” – Rachel Crowl, Coldwell Banker Preferred PA
- Stick to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming
Try to keep your normal routine and schedule in place. Use the time you would normally take to commute to do something for yourself – make a good and healthy breakfast, take a shower to ready you for the day, or walk the dog a little longer. Some professionals may already be accustomed to flexible schedules. But, if you must spend more time at home than normal, find ways to supplement what you would be doing – like expanding your social media marketing skills or attending a web-based seminar.
- Dress for Success
While you may not want to dress in a full suit or in business wear, getting out of your pajamas helps you get into a productive and more energetic mentality. For example, dressing in your workout clothes can help you feel more active. Dress professionally for your video calls – it reminds your clients and colleagues that you’re always a professional on your A-game.
“How you dress affects your mindset, so I am dressed in business casual attire. I recognize that a client may need to FaceTime or video-chat, so I’m prepared. I also make my workspace comfortable and bright, and I setup dual monitors.” – Bobby Yazdani, Coldwell Banker Realty in Texas
- Stay Connected
Keep in touch with your clients and colleagues by recognizing the adopting the best platforms to reach them. From Microsoft Teams or Skype to social media, there are numerous platforms that facilitate communicating, sharing files, creating appointments and virtual meetings. The key is to identify your goals and the best format to connect with the desired audience.
Tip: Microsoft Teams is the hub for team collaboration in Office 365 that integrates the people, content, and tools your team needs to be more engaged and effective. If you haven’t already, download it here.
5. Coordinate Do Not Disturb Times
For those who aren’t working from home alone, it is useful to coordinate do not disturb hours with those living in your household. That could mean creating a schedule around your workload or organizing your workload around their schedule. Find what works best for you. Also, create the Zen space that helps you to concentratete, this doesn’t always mean working in silence, especially when external noises may be inevitable. Consider noise cancelling headphones, calming sound effect apps or maybe instrumental music online. For example, Spotify offers Focus Music Stations with a variety of sounds.
“Both of our workspaces have doors that shut, which is key when we need privacy for calls or to focus. We have also tried to implement a policy during normal working hours to save all personal discussions and business until after work hours, unless it’s a true emergency. It’s too easy to just walk into the other person’s space and spontaneously talk about things that are going on in your own mind, that might cause the other to lose their train of thought or work mindset.” – Rachel Crowl, Coldwell Banker Preferred PA
- Remember to Get Fresh Air
Productivity doesn’t occur from non-stop, limitless hours of work. Sitting at a desk for extended periods of time can be detrimental to your health. Working past your normal office hours can be easy when you’re at home, but it can also lead to exhaustion and loss of sleep. A healthy balance is vital to ensuring productivity and efficiency! Use your break time to step out and get fresh air or even your normal commute time home, for a quick walk.
“I make adjustments by designating hour bands that are strictly for work. I address all immediate emails, questions or concerns relating to current transactions first and then work on different aspects of the business each day of the week. I think it’s important to re-energize, so I incorporate 15-30-minute breaks throughout the day. By midday, I typically take the time to step away and address any chores or personal errands so that by the time I come back, my mind is fresh and refocused.” – Bobby Yazdani, Coldwell Banker Realty in Texas