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Are you working from home for the first time due to social distancing measures? There are plenty of benefits to working from home but now several weeks into the restrictions, the novelty can be starting to wear a bit thin. So, if you’re struggling to stay focused and maintain productivity, these seven tips can provide a boost.

1. Stick to your routine

You probably heard this one a lot when you first moved to working from home. People usually state you should still get up and get ready for work as though you’re heading to the office. It’s a step that can help get you into the right frame of mind. Even if you started with the best intentions, you might have slipped up here so it’s worth thinking about if your morning routine matches what you’d be doing if you were going to work.

It’s not just the morning where routine matters though. As much as possible, it’s a good idea to stick to your regular working hours and tasks, so if you’d normally dedicate the hour after lunch to speak with clients, try to stick to it. Of course, circumstances are more than a little unusual right now, some degree of flexibility is needed. Where your routine will be disrupted, make sure this is communicated with colleagues, clients and others you work with.

2. Adapt your workspace

With a few weeks under your belt when it comes to home working, why not review the ‘office’ space you’ve set up. With a bit more experience and knowledge about how you work best, what distractions there are and other areas, you’re in a better position to create the optimal working environment at home. It might mean moving your desk around, investing in a comfier chair or clearing some space for paperwork.

3. Make use of technology

Technology means it’s easier than ever to stay connected with colleagues, clients and other stakeholders you may work closely with. Whilst emails and phone calls may do the job in some cases, make use of technology too. Where you’d normally schedule a face-to-face meeting, why not use a video conferencing tool instead?

There are often non-verbal cues that are important when communicating that are impossible to pick up. Video calls might not bridge the gap entirely, but they do help close it.

4. Be clear when it comes to communication

If you’re passing on instructions or messages via emails or other text platforms, make sure your communication is clear. It’s easy for messages to be taken out of context or misunderstood if they’re not clear. Whilst the office environment can make it easier to ask questions, when you’re working remotely it’s easier for mistakes to occur. Before hitting ‘send’ read information back and double-check that it would make sense without your knowledge.

5. Get outdoors

Not having to commute is one of the advantages of working from home. But this combined with other social distancing restrictions means it’s easy to get stuck inside your home, which can damage your physical and mental wellbeing, as well as productivity when it comes to working.

Schedule time in your day to get outdoors if possible. A quick walk at lunchtime can be refreshing and deliver a productivity boost. If going outside isn’t an option, make sure you still plan regular breaks away from the desk.

6. Schedule some time for ‘water cooler chat’

Whilst communicating with colleagues about work effectively is important, so are those informal chats you’d usually have when making a tea or just as your walk past. Making time for a catch-up after typical meetings or sending friendly emails can make all the difference. Sometimes it’s the informal chats that can lead to the most effective solutions for a problem you’re having and give you a break to refocus too.

It also ensures working relationships are maintained during the lockdown period so when you head back to the office it’ll be easier to slip into the routine you had before.

7. Remember to switch off too

Working from home means it’s easy for the boundaries between your working life and personal life to blur. If you’re not careful, you can become burnt out as you struggle to ‘switch off’ from work. Linking back to point one, having a clear working routine can mean you’re able to step away from the laptop and phone in the evenings.

At Jones Hill, we began working remotely when the lockdown was first announced, but it’s still ‘business as usual’. If you’d like to talk to us, you can still reach us through the usual means.