With much of the world affected by some form of lockdown or another, remote working – also referred to as working from home – has become increasingly popular for many businesses spanning a variety of sectors.
Following the initial excitement experienced by many at this concept, which was instigated by the lack of commuting required, fewer meetings to attend, and the ability to set your own work routine, there was a noticeable drop in enthusiasm and motivation amongst home workers.
Those who relished this new, solitary way of working soon became disillusioned by the loneliness they were experiencing, whilst others found it difficult to solve IT problems and complex issues remotely, making problem-solving tricky.
Until the new vaccines being produced have been effectively administered, however, it seems as though many will continue to work from home, thus it’s imperative to locate solutions to the issues encountered and instead make working from home a success.
This is particularly important following Spotify’s announcement that many of their workers will continue working in this way, even after the pandemic has subsided – a move mirrored by many companies in the tech sector.
A key issue reported during the pandemic is the inability to fully focus on work, whether as the result of nervous energy and anxiety, the lack of routine, or a general dive in motivation levels.
Setapp, a shortcut to hand-picked applications suitable for Apple Macs and iOS platforms, contains multiple solutions for this problem. With monthly plans curated to best suit you and your family, Setapp has an archive of apps designed to utilize different techniques instructing you on how to focus better, ranging from apps that time each task you need to complete, to those that help you create a list of tasks, interspersed with brain-breaks for better concentration.
Tidy Space, Tidy Mind
If your brain is being pulled in different directions by other concerns and worries unrelated to your work, you are bound to become easily distracted. Whether it’s the pile of dirty dishes accumulating in the sink, the pet hair stubbornly sticking to every fabric surface, or the cluttered surface of your desk, distractions from the task at hand can prevent you from making any meaningful progress with your work and reduce the effectiveness of what you produce.
To prevent such distractions from negatively impacting the work you do throughout the day, it’s crucial to ensure that these are eliminated prior to beginning work. So, if there’s a pile of washing up in the sink before you start or pet hair clumps on the floor, take the time to wash up or hoover before you sit down for work. This will allow your full attention to be focused on your work, ensuring you produce the standard of work of which you are capable.
Unless your day-to-day job consists of you working alone in the ‘normal’ world, there is bound to be a certain level of noise that you are used to permeating the background in your everyday work life. It can therefore be difficult to acclimatize to the pervasive silence of working from home, leading you to daydream and zone out of work.
To counteract this, it can be helpful to welcome a bit of background noise into your working day – preferably something that you can listen to without focusing explicitly on that. Putting on the radio, some soothing music (tracks without lyrics are often best for concentration) or a podcast can help create that workplace ambiance, enabling you to focus much more effectively on your work.
It is a commonly known fact that the human brain requires regular breaks in order to aid concentration levels and retain new information. For some workaholics, though, taking regular breaks can be difficult and engenders a feeling of guilt at not consistently working throughout the day. On the contrary, building in regular breaks where you step away from your work device and relax your mind and body instead, can be more than a little beneficial.
The scientific community has provided a wealth of evidence suggesting that the brain works better in small bursts – for example, working solidly for 30-45 minutes and then taking a 15-minute break – and is more able to accept and retain new information. This retention is solidified even more by taking an active break, such as jogging on the spot, completing stretches, or – as wild as it may seem – juggling!
Creating a Designated Workspace
Last but not least, working from home requires a designated workspace. Yes, it may be much more comfortable and cozy to stay wrapped in your duvet with your laptop balanced on your knee, but this is counterintuitive to a working mindset.
Your body and mind are much more likely to function in a slower, lethargic manner, and your brain will find it difficult to make the links and connections that are essential. Equally, working in a room filled with the screams of children or distracting television noise will hinder the quantity and quality of your output.
Instead, find a fairly quiet, uncluttered space in your home with a comfortable but upright seat, set up your laptop or tablet device, and get started. If you have an actual home office, even better – just ensure that it is tidy and specifically designed to be conducive to a working mentality.
At least for the foreseeable future, it looks likely that working from home is here to stay. As discovered, it definitely has its benefits and pitfalls – both in terms of the business and for individual employees. However, if this is to become a permanent way of working in the future, it is essential to identify solutions to help iron out the kinks you have identified over the course of the past year and ensure that everyone, regardless of their home circumstances and job, has the opportunity to produce their best work and excel in their chosen career. Following the tips outlined above will help get you started on this front and help you achieve success, wherever you work!