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5 Mistakes You Should Avoid If You’re Working From home

By Isny Dewi R

05 April 2020

Mistakes you should avoid in order to stay productive even if you work from home.

The global pandemic of coronavirus has made many companies in the world including Indonesia ask their employees to work from home. For some employees, this experience is not only new, but also 'frightening', because there are many temptations that can interfere their work productivity.

Here are five mistakes you should avoid in order to stay productive even if you work from home reported from CNBC.

1. Working from the Bed or Couch
Good for you if you can work productively from the couch or bed, because very few can. There is no one-size-fits-all setup that works for everyone. It will take some trial and error to find a workspace layout that supports your needs, but the key is to have it resemble your office setup as much as possible. You don’t even need a private room, it can be a designated area in your home, far away from the bed and couch.

Consider investing in a comfortable office chair and a desk large enough to fit your stuff (laptop, printer, etc). Some companies allow remote employees to expense these items, so check with your supervisor.

Lighting also makes a huge difference. Studies have found that cooler lights (the higher the correlated color temperature, the better) can make workers far more productive. Move your workspace closer to the window if you get plenty of natural sunlight; not only is it easier on the eyes, but research has shown it can decrease depression and improve mood, energy and alertness.

2. Wearing Pajamas
The most productive people don’t wake up and instantly start working while still in their pajamas. Instead, they get ready for the day the same way they would if they were heading into the office, which, yes, involves dressing up in presentable clothes.

Your pajamas aren’t exactly professional attire, nor will they put your mind in “work mode.” According to a study from Northwestern University, employees, no matter what profession they’re in, perform tasks better when they wear clothes that have “symbolic meaning.”

Also, looking well-groomed and presentable will save you from the hassle of rushing to get ready each time an impromptu video meeting comes up.

3. Not Creating Structure and Boundaries
It’s easy to get distracted by personal matters when you’re working from home, because you’re so much more accessible to people outside of your worklife.

That’s why you need structure, a consistent schedule that you’re strict about to prevent distractions from disturbing your workflow. The easiest way to do this is to create a to-do list for each day. It should include very specific, measurable and achievable tasks. You may need to adjust tomorrow’s list depending on what you get done today.

Maintaining structure also means setting boundaries. Of course, there are a few exceptions, such as a single parent with a newborn. But for the most part, be clear with your partner, friends or those you live with about your work schedule. Consider setting a “Do Not Disturb” window of time where you can work freely without unnecessary interruptions. Also, be extra judicious about what you do online.

4. Neglecting Health
When you aren’t in the office, there’s usually even less physical activity: No bus stop to walk to, no coworkers to go on a coffee run with and no long hallways that lead to the bathroom.

You’ll find yourself with back pain and numbness in the legs because been sitting for hours straight, without even realizing it. Even if you’re a frequent exerciser, sitting for excessively long periods of time can be a risk factor of early death, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. But there’s good news: Researchers found that people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death.

5. Going Dark
Even on the slowest days, successful people who work from home always make it a point to overcommunicate. Making sure everyone takes part in the conversation about what they’re working on, assignment statuses, as well as their concerns and issues. It ensures that no one feels neglected.

You don’t have to be constantly checking and replying to emails (unless they’re urgent). At the very least, have regular check-ins with your manager and team — through chats, phone calls or emails. Get out of your comfort zone, talk about your goals for the week. Ask for — and give — direct feedback.

Treat it as a casual update, rather than a formal meeting. It will also help you build more sustainable relationships with people you work with.

Top photo credit: pixabay.com/users/DarkWorkX-1664300

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