COVID-19 pandemic has forced most of us to experience all the “delights” of isolation and self-quarantine. In addition to the fear for our health, fear of contamination and a whole list of inevitable household inconveniences, it also posed another major problem – work conditions have changed dramatically. Only those who have the essential jobs are working in their workplaces at the moment, while most people, including almost 100% of office workers, have to stay at home.
All of these people can be divided into three categories:
- The people who have been transferred to remote work and who still keep working;
- Those who have been sent on leave and are eager to somehow organize their work at home;
- Those who are enjoying the rest, thinking of self-quarantine as joy and one big vacation.
The third group is obviously the smallest, since very few people are being paid during isolation and they still have to make money somehow. Yet those who keep working – or are at least trying to – have already encountered a problem that used to seem trivial. The question that has arose is this, how do you actually organize your workday?
Many people used to think that the opportunity to work from home is a timesaving blessing that brings a lot of comfort. But all it takes is a couple of weeks to discover that it requires a lot of effort to work efficiently from home. After all, there are a lot of distractions there. From soft couches to the fridge, family, TV, not-monitored Internet – all these things definitely affect productivity. As a result, an 8-hour working day morphs into irregular working hours, no progress is made, the managers are displeased and so on.
You have to know how to work from home. That’s why we’ve decided to share with you some life hacks of freelancers, journalists and other people who are used to not being at the office all the time.
You should always start by creating a schedule, preferably one that would be standard throughout the whole workweek. You should keep in mind that you won’t be able to simply copy your usual schedule where you get up in the morning, spend 4 hours in front of a computer and have a half-hour lunch break. An approach like this will fail during the first couple of days. Your schedule should be made keeping in mind the fact that you are staying at home. So you’ve got to be honest with yourself and save a bit of time for lounging around, doing some chores and everything else.
Matt Gemmell’s advice can be used as an example. He’s a journalist with articles in The Guardian, Macworld and a number of other major media outlets. His experience is based on seven years of freelance. Given that it didn’t stop him from achieving success, we think his advice is actually quite worthy. According to Gemmell:
- Even if you have a flexible schedule, you shouldn’t sleep for too long in the morning. Try to be at your desk by 9 am.
- It’s not desirable to plan too much rest during the day. An hour-long lunch break is enough to restore your strength.
- Of course, your boss won’t be able to see you at home. Yet you’ll feel more awake and focused on your work if you’ll get cleaned up in the morning rather than spending the whole day in your pajamas.
- You are working from home, so you can afford to take a break from your work to do something else. For example, you can (and probably, should) work out. It will allow you to move around, get your blood pumping and regain some energy.
- During workdays say a firm “no” to television and video games. Such pastimes steal the hours you could spend on something more productive.
Matt’s usual work schedule looks something like this:
- He starts working at 9 am and spends around half an hour simply to plan his workday.
- He works until 11 am.
- He works out or does some household chores until 1 pm.
- He takes a lunch break until 1.30 pm.
- Finally, he works until 6.00 pm.
Of course, it’s not a benchmark that you should copy blindly. Take into consideration your natural habits while planning out your day. The main thing is actually creating the schedule and trying to stick to it – with some deviations, of course.
Working from home isn’t that great also because of the fact that very few people have their own home office where they can lock in, concentrate on work and avoid all the distractions. If you lounge with a laptop on the sofa in the living room, it’s bound to end up in procrastination. The place itself is more suitable for rest rather than work, and there will be too many distractions. It’s especially true if you’re not living alone.
If you have a place where you can lock yourself up while you work, do it. If you have an option to set up a proper workplace, create such place. Practice shows that it’s better to close yourself away from your family for a few hours and then be free to talk to your loved ones. It’s better than attempting to divide your attention between everything at once all day long.
Basically, it's the most important aspect that you should master. It’s one thing to have an office where there are colleagues and supervisors who, either intentionally or unintentionally, make you concentrate on your work. And it’s quite another thing to be at home where there’s no control and distractions seem to surround you. Many newbies of this “remote work” era start their mornings cheerfully and energetically, but then time slips through their fingers. To avoid that, you need to:
- Reduce phone conversations to the most important chats that concern work.
- Forget about TV, console and different computer games.
- Ignore Facebook, Twitter and Google entertainment services during your workhours.
- Turn off distracting notifications wherever possible.
Trust us, all the news about things that are happening around the world can wait till the evening. Gemmell also insists that you have to constantly remind yourself about your commitment to being a pro. And working from home is quite a challenge for your professionalism.
Kickidler can help you be more productive
We’d also like to mention another way to stay productive while working from home. It can be achieved with our Kickidler employee monitoring software. The program is designed to help supervisors monitor their employees’ performance and give the employees an opportunity to monitor their own efficiency. The most important thing is that it’s perfect for situations when employees have to work from home:
- The program is installed on both the supervisor’s and the employee’s PC.
- Installation and setup processes are extremely simple.
- Subscription cost is quite small.
- Supervisors are able to monitor the number of hours their employees worked during any day, which helps evaluate their productivity.
- Employees get the opportunity to see their own statistics on productivity and the amount of time they’ve spent working. The system also sends them automatic notifications when they violate their schedule or break any rules. Honestly, it’s the optimal scenario to help you become more disciplined.
Typically, we get messages from managers or executives who want to find ways to improve control over the efficiency of their office workers. But with the introduction of self-quarantine, our customers point out a new way to use Kickidler. With increasing frequency employees themselves have started asking for the installation of our software on their computers. It actually enables them to work from home without losing the monitoring aspect of the workflow.
Our recent update called Autokick is specifically designed to automate the function of monitoring those employees that work in the home office mode. Autokick makes it possible for the employee to monitor their own productivity and for the executive – to receive instant notifications of work order violations.
Kickidler is an entire set of tools that help employers maintain control over the work process without being in the same room with their subordinates, who, in turn, are empowered to keep working as efficiently as possible even from home.
Kickidler Employee Monitoring Software
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