Innovations continue to improve the quality of life in the workplace. One of the most influential business trends in recent times 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 5 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:
- Dress For Success
- Reward Yourself for Doing Good Work
- Delegation Through Automation
- Have a Dedicated Work Space and Work Schedule
- Get Some Fresh Air
Dress For Success
Even though you are working 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 in, after all, there’s no dress code for your own home. This kind of mindset, however, can actually 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 sort of dress code. If you follow this spiral, then pretty soon you’ll likely be waking up a couple of short minutes before you’re supposed to start working and end up sluggishly going through your day.
Dressing nicely for work, even though you’re working from home, can have multiple direct and indirect benefits to it. Dressing more professionally can positively impact your state of mind and self-confidence which can boost your productivity. On top of boosting your productivity, dressing more professionally will encourage you to wake up earlier which will give 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.
Reward Yourself for Doing Good Work
Who doesn’t like to be acknowledged for working hard and doing a good job? Working from home is likely to reduce the amount of praise and acknowledgment you receive on your performance. That doesn’t mean you’re doing any lower quality of work, it’s simply because you aren’t surrounded by your 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 acknowledge how hard you’ve been working.
Research has shown that frequent rewards can improve an employee’s motivation and performance at work. These frequent rewards can be anything from a short break to simply having a piece of chocolate. The most important thing is that you acknowledge your hard work, and reward yourself immediately after you complete the activity you chose to reward. Even though the rewards and acknowledgment will be coming from yourself, it can still serve to increase your interest in performing your duties which directly translates into improving your focus.
Delegation Through Automation
Mundane and repetitive tasks often fall short of providing employees any feeling of fulfillment and can instead foster feelings of being undervalued. This feeling can hold true no matter where the employee works, at home or in the office. If someone feels unfulfilled and undervalued, it is extremely likely that their desire to perform any tasks will be negatively impacted alongside their ability to focus. Since these unfulfilling tasks are often a necessary part of any job, the problem can’t be corrected by simply avoiding the tasks 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 is able to shift their attention to more creative-minded tasks that can reignite the passion for the job they were originally 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 pose a threat to replacing 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 that all of your distractions will be within your reach and temptingly accessible. The distractions could come in the form of chores, pets, people living with you, the television, or just about 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 at hand, the easier it becomes to lose focus on the task altogether. Taking just a little bit of 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 to recreate the feeling of spending the work-day in the office and additionally help your circadian rhythm. This is particularly helpful if you have ever been considered a workaholic and struggle 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 important 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.
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, it can also help to refocus your attention when you get back 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 alternative is to just open a window so the fresh air can circulate 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 definitely not the same as actually going out into nature, something as simple as bringing some flowers into your office space can still decrease stress and even help you relax as you tackle the day. Of course, you can still bring 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 to break up any monotony that your home office may have.
Working from home can make it very difficult to maintain focus on your work, but if you try to do things as similar as possible to the way in which 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 find yourself struggling, don’t beat yourself up.