With the added measures many organizations are taking in order to enable their employees to work from home, one critical aspect seems to have been overlooked: how do employees maximize productivity and efficiency while working from home?
In this blog, we'd like to take a look at a few simple steps we can all take to make working from home more successful. Here are our top 10 tips:
1. Set up a comfortable work station
Working from home involves more than setting up a desk and a computer. Take the time to think critically about what you, in particular, need at your work station (it varies person to person) to maximize your daily productivity. Maybe it's a specific pair of headphones, an external mouse, a favourite, comfy chair. Whatever it might be, keep the things you use most often close to you, to avoid unnecessary interruptions to your workflow.
2. Keep the hot drinks and delicious treats flowing
An appetizing treat and a steaming cup of coffee can be just the thing you need to fuel up for a day's work. Putting in a little extra effort to make that gourmet hot chocolate drink, paired with a baked good, can significantly improve your morning, releasing endorphins that bolster creativity and productivity!
3. Take frequent breaks
Vast amounts of research shows that being sedentary for too long is bad for your health. Whether it's alternating between sitting and standing, taking a break to take out the garbage, load the dishwasher or do a few pushups, prioritize physical activity throughout your work day.
Going for a walk in nature can revitalize your senses, clear your mind and allow you to return to work feeling refreshed. It's better for you in the long run and can help break up the monotony of sitting at your desk.
4. Set office hours and avoid distractions
Depending on where you and the rest of your team are located, chances are you might be dealing with different timezones. For this reason, it's a good idea to set your office hours and let people know when they can expect you to be available and when they can't.
Furthermore, it's a good idea to make necessary calls during regular business hours, when the majority of your team is available, saving administrative tasks for later in the day.
Avoiding unnecessary distractions is also key to being productive while working from home. Although it might seem counterintuitive, multi-tasking isn't as efficient as most people think. Ultimately, it's better to focus on one task at a time to accomplish your goals.
5. Invest in a superior Unified Communications (UC) solution
Bria UC softphone solutions, by CounterPath, streamline work communications and let users easily connect, communicate, and collaborate. Bria includes features such as HD voice and video calling support calling, when integrated with a business' call server (PBX) or VoIP service. Other CounterPath offerings like Bria Teams and Bria Enterprise also provide hosted messaging and presence services, screen sharing, video conferencing and more.
A Bria solution enables your teams to take their business number with them, regardless of where they are and which device they are using, and also provides additional tools to easily share a presentation on their screen, and meet face to face on video calls, and even transfer files within a chat.
6. Check in with direct reports or managers regularly
Just because you aren't in the same office doesn't mean you can't be present with one another. Maintaining a good corporate culture is all about checking in often. This is a great way to show support and encourage accountability. This can be done through email, team messaging, and voice and video conferencing.
Video conferencing, in particular, is an effective and easy way to add a personal touch to your daily communications. Since the majority of human communication involves nonverbal cues, video can help avoid potential miscommunications.
7. Add a second monitor to your workstation
Adding a second screen is particularly useful when collaborating on a document and simultaneously hosting a video conference or screen sharing session. Two screens allows you to look at multiple documents or windows without constantly going back and forth between them, saving both time and energy.
8. Light scented candles or use an essential oil diffuser to boost productivity
Don't underestimate the power of aromatherapy to transform your mindset and boost your productivity. Lighting scented candles or using a diffuser with a few drops of essential oils has the ability to improve your mood and concentration. Essential oils known to energize and improve focus include: peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender.
9. Sit near a window with a nice view
Working near a window that overlooks a view is another pro tip. When you're taking breaks from staring at your screen, it's ideal if you have something visually appealing to look at instead of a blank wall.
Apart from offering a view of something else, sitting near a window has added benefits because it invites more light into your work space. A well-lit room is crucial if you're working from home and frequently hosting video conferences. Studies have shown that not getting enough sunlight exposure can decrease your serotonin levels, leading to a higher risk of developing major depression. So when you're setting up your work area, find a place that is close to a window that lets in plenty of natural light.
10. Create a motivational playlist
Listening to music while working isn't for everyone, but it can help lift your spirits and keep your energy high throughout the day. Whether it's classical, house, reggae or the latest pop hits, having something on in the background can be a welcome break from the otherwise deafening silence and help you feel less alone while working from home.
CounterPath is in the business of facilitating productive remote working experiences for teams across the globe. That's why this month we announced that, for a limited time, we are extending our Virtual Meeting Room service for all Bria Solo and Bria Teams users.
We also recently detailed what business leaders can do to better manage a mobile workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
If you're looking for a collaboration solution, consider starting a free trial of Bria Solo or Bria Teams, or contacting one of our Channel Partners or sales team for an enterprise-grade solution.