Written by Joanne Sacco

Tips for IT Professionals to Stay Productive When Working From Home

For many, the idea of working from home seems to simplify things. No more commute. No need to iron work clothes. No need to go out for lunch or coffee breaks.
So without having to do all that, you should have more time to actually spend on working.
But it doesn’t always work like that.
In fact, working from home productively takes its own set of skills. And a good set of basic rules.
In this guide, we will look at the top tips that you can use to make sure that working from home keeps you sane, motivated, and productive.

1.    Take the time to have more time

Firstly, before you even attempt to do any work, set aside some time to develop a plan for your own productivity. You will be far more effective with your time when you add some thought and structure to how you will spend your day. This blog post will talk you through the steps.

2.    Have the right equipment and set up a dedicated work space

This means everything from your desk set-up, desktop or laptop, extra screens, headphones, and printer etc. But it also means having the right software. So if you use software like Slack to communicate, Jira to collaborate, or Monday to keep your projects on track, make sure you continue to use them at home and that everyone in your team is running the same software suite.
Avoid the temptation to work in your pyjamas on the couch in the morning, at the dining table around lunchtime, and on the balcony in the afternoon sun. It might seem like the best idea ever but you’ll likely find it puts a massive dent in your productivity as you keep having to shift your laptop, headphones, reports, manuals, and coffee cup around.

3.    Wake up at the same time

Without your daily commute, you might be tempted to start changing your sleep schedule and waking up later. But you’re far better off keeping your existing routine and if that gives you some extra time then get a bit of quick exercise in or play with your kids or dog before the work day starts. Keep what works and don’t be tempted to start sleeping in.

4.    Set a daily structure

Start working each day at a set time. This helps get you going and aligns you with your co-workers. It means you’ll be available to respond to emails or calls when people are used to being able to catch up with you. It’s also a great idea to have some fixed touchpoints such as a daily 9am team meeting or a 5pm debrief with your manager. This helps keep your day structured and maintain the team dynamic.

5.    Establish team expectations

Working from home naturally lends itself towards being a little more flexible with your time. And that’s perfectly okay. But get some clarity on what everyone’s expectations are within your team. What is the daily start time? When should people be available to take calls? What time will daily meetings or catchups be? How will working from home impact your team’s sprints? How responsive should everyone be to emails? Because you can’t always quickly talk with a colleague at the office, these types of issues become more important so your team can all stay cohesive.

6.    Stay connected and add meaning to your workday

Remote working can be isolating so make sure you are connecting with teammates during the day for meetings, general check ins, or more social conversations. And don’t forget to schedule in some time to do some quick exercise, a hobby, or to stay in touch with your friends and family too. In rapidly changing or challenging times, your mental health is more important than ever.

Finding a balance

Working from home productively can be a bit of an artform. Sometimes the best way to actually boost your productivity is to take a step back and take a bit of extra time to plan your day, do some quick exercise, do a bit of yoga, or schedule a catch up call with a friend or colleague. This helps give your day some structure at the same time as mixing it up a bit so you don’t get too fixated on feeling like you’re stuck at home 24/7.
If you know you have a working plan for each day, take regular breaks, and stay connected with your team then you are far less likely to think about raiding the fridge every five minutes and far more likely to get  the work done that needs to get done.
There’s no doubt that these are challenging times, but there are many solutions available to make working from home work more successfully for you and your team. To find out more, reach out to Finite.

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