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Best Tips To Maintain Focus While Working Remotely

A LEGO figure embracing remote work at a desk with a computer.

Innovations continue to improve the quality of life in the workplace. One of the recent most influential business trends is the shift to remote work and focus on flexible schedules.

There are plenty of reasons to consider remote work, such as its benefits to employee morale. However, adjusting to remote work may not be as easy as it sounds, with one of the biggest hurdles being the tendency to lose focus and become distracted. Here are five tips that can improve your ability to focus while working from home.

Here's a breakdown of what tips will be covered in this article:

  1. Dress For Success
  2. Reward Yourself for Doing Good Work
  3. Delegation Through Automation
  4. Have a Dedicated Work Space and Work Schedule
  5. Investing In Efficient Work Tools
  6. Get Some Fresh Air

Dress For Success

Even though you work from home, you should still dress for success in the workplace. It may be very tempting to work from home wearing the most comfortable clothes you have, like, sweatpants and an old T-shirt, or even the work-from-home cliche, no pants. You might think it makes sense to work in whatever you feel the most comfortable; after all, there's no dress code for your home. However, this mindset can be detrimental to your productivity as it can easily lead to thinking you don't necessarily need to shower every morning since you don't need to follow any dress code. If you follow this spiral, you'll likely wake up a couple of short minutes before you start working and end up sluggishly going through your day. 

Even though you're working from home, dressing nicely for work can have multiple direct and indirect benefits. Dressing more professionally can positively impact your state of mind and self-confidence, which can boost your productivity. On top of increasing your productivity, dressing more professionally will encourage you to wake up earlier, giving your brain time to warm up for your daily activities instead of jumping straight into your workday. Giving your brain time to wake up and prepare for the day's mental taxes can improve your awareness which used to be something that happened naturally as you dressed and commuted to the office. If you fail to reach a work-life balance at home, try working a few days a week at a coworking space. Most have management systems that allow online bookings, which is very convenient.

Reward Yourself for Doing Good Work

Who doesn't like to be acknowledged for working hard and doing a good job? Working from home will likely reduce your praise and acknowledgment for your performance. That doesn't mean you're doing lower-quality work; it's simply because you aren't surrounded by coworkers who can actively see and comment on your work. Although it feels better to have others acknowledge how much effort you've been putting in, there's no reason that you can't believe how hard you've been working. 

Research has shown that frequent rewards can improve employee motivation and work performance. These frequent rewards can be anything from a short break to simply having a piece of chocolate. Most importantly, you acknowledge your hard work and reward yourself immediately after completing the activity you chose to reward. Even though the rewards and acknowledgment will be coming from you, it can still increase your interest in performing your duties which directly translates into improving your focus. 

Delegation Through Automation

Mundane and repetitive tasks often fail to provide employees with any fulfillment and can instead foster feelings of being undervalued. This feeling can hold actual no matter where the employee works, at home, or in the office. If someone feels unfulfilled and undervalued, their desire to perform any tasks will likely be negatively impacted alongside their ability to focus. Since these unfulfilling tasks are often necessary for any job, the problem can't be corrected by simply avoiding the charges altogether. Additionally, many of these tasks involve data specific to that employee's duty, so delegating the tasks to another person would be impractical. The answer may lie in automation technology such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) which can complete such tasks with little supervision from the employee. By automating these tasks, the employee can shift their attention to more creative-minded tasks that reignite the passion for the job they were initially hired to perform. By eliminating the need for an employee's undivided and unfaltering attention, automation can nearly eliminate the chance for errors. Simple forms of automation do not threaten to replace employees, as their function still requires an employee to make “human” decisions whenever the program encounters issues, such as a few forms having empty spaces. 

Have a Dedicated Work Space and Work Schedule

Working from home means all distractions will be within your reach and temptingly accessible. The distractions could come from chores, pets, people living with you, the television, or anything. The prevalence of external distractions while working from home reinforces the necessity of creating a dedicated workspace to shut out the rest of the world. This may not work, however, if your dedicated workspace is cluttered and disorganized because trying to find something amongst clutter leaves you vulnerable to distractions. The longer your attention is diverted from the task, the easier it becomes to lose focus on the job altogether. Taking just a little time to organize your working space and keeping it that way can help keep you grounded in your work. 

In tandem with a dedicated and tidy working space, you should have a dedicated working schedule. Establishing a rigid work schedule while working from home can help recreate the feeling of spending the workday in the office and help your circadian rhythm. This is particularly helpful if you have ever been considered a workaholic and struggled to leave your work at the door when you leave the office at night. Since your office is now your home, there's no physical boundary to help you separate the two areas of your life, and you'll need to put more effort into creating comparable barriers. Putting your work away at the end of the day is essential to maintaining your productivity during your established working hours. Giving your brain time to shut off and relax will let it regenerate the strength it needs to focus on your tasks the next day.

Investing In Efficient Work Tools

Work tools like your computer significantly impact your focus and productivity, especially if your job requires heavy data processing or demanding software programs. If your laptop constantly crashes, you'll spend more time troubleshooting your clunky machine. Frustration over your slow computer can also ruin your mood and hinder your ability to concentrate. On the other hand, using a fast and efficient computer can help you breeze through any task.

You don't have to break the bank for a powerful laptop or desktop. From built-for-business Dell Latitude E7450 to sleek MacBooks, there are more affordable refurbished computers that can perform as well as brand-new ones. To minimize the risk, find a reputable supplier when purchasing refurbished gadgets. Go for a supplier with a warranty and a customer-friendly return policy.

Get Some Fresh Air

Fresh air has long been praised for its beneficial effects on the mind. Taking a quick break to get some fresh air can not only act as a reward for doing well, but it can also help refocus your attention when you return to your desk. If you don't feel like going outside or can't go outside, there are a few alternatives that you can try. One option is to open a window to circulate the fresh air in your office space. To further increase effectiveness, you should consider placing a small fan in the window to help pull in the outside air. This can be particularly helpful if the window isn't in a good location for natural breezes to come through. The other option is to put some green in your office if going outside and opening the window aren't an option. While it's not the same as going out into nature, something as simple as bringing flowers into your office space can still decrease stress and help you relax as you tackle the day. Of course, you can still get flowers and other plants into your home office regardless of whether or not you go outside or open your windows. At the very least, the colors can help break up any monotony your home office may have.

In Summary 

Working from home can make it very difficult to focus on your work, but if you try to do things as similar as possible to how you worked in an office setting, you will have an easier time focusing on tasks. If recreating the office setting doesn't work well enough for you, you may need to take extra steps to try and reset your focus, such as going outside and rewarding yourself throughout the day. Working from home is an adjustment for everybody the first time, and if you struggle, don't beat yourself up.

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