Working from home has meant being permanently switched on. Emails, Tweets, LinkedIn posts, what’s app chats, Teams calls, create a deluge of alerts and notifications all vying for our attention on our laptops and phones.
We sit at a desk in the corner of the room where we also sleep. We spend days zooming in and out of back-to-back meetings. Without air conditioning the summer heat becomes difficult to deal with in our stuffy homes.
We forget to take breaks over lunch and without the natural cut-off points of the commute, we are working longer hours. Despite all of this we’re no more productive than before – if anything it is the opposite.
We don’t have all the answers, but we know that our ten practical tips outlined below will help you to #WorkSmarter and take back control of your working day
1. Reduce meetings by 5 to 10 minutes and give yourself a break
Find out how to organise shorter meetings by default.
2. Turn off unwanted intrusions
Turn alerts, notifications and pop-ups off
3. Stay focused in meetings
Use the ‘do not disturb’ setting on Teams to avoid an embarrassing chat .
4. Schedule emails in outlook
Encourage core working hours by scheduling emails for specific times of the day or week
5. Add your hours in your email signature
Help manage expectations from colleagues and external contacts by adding your core hours to your email signature.
6. Don’t forget the out of office
Finishing early or doing a training course? Send bespoke messages to colleagues and external contacts.
7. Remember… You’re not a robot!
Your colleagues are people too. Meet them for a virtual coffee or lunch. Go for a walk and give them a phone call. Don’t talk about work!
8. Make time for yourself
Add regular breaks in your diary. Go for a walk, run or bike ride for some fresh air… or a cheeky coffee and cake.
9. Set boundaries at home
Partners, children, housemates, and pets can all get in the way of a productive day. Ensure they know when you need time and space to work.
10. Be kind to yourself
Acknowledge you might not be as productive as you usually would be. Be realistic about what you can achieve given the circumstances, and relax when your working day is done.