How to work remotely and stay productive

This is a writing sample from Scripted writer Trudi Gibson

*How To Work Remotely and Stay Productive *

Working from home sounds like the dream, right? Forget fighting for a seat on public transport or having a third blood pressure-raising episode of road rage before 8am.

Now your only worry is what to wear on your short, seconds-long commute to the home office: slippers or socks? You sit down to begin a productive workday, freshly made coffee in hand (which didn't cost $7) - but wait, what's that sound?

Bob the neighbor is testing out his new power tools - and by the look on his face – like a kid on Christmas morning – he won't be stopping anytime soon.

Once a luxury reserved for freelancers and those trendy tech types seen on LinkedIn, WFH became the reality for millions of us overnight. The thing is, no one told us _how _to work from home.

Gone were the office distractions of water cooler talk and political wars over air-con. But in their place came a host of new home office enemies, from power tool wielding neighbors to next door's crying baby.

Fear not, fellow remote worker comrades, we've got you. Read on for the best work from home tips which aim to take the WTF out of WFH.

*Take Your Breaks *

While there are set break times in most offices – where it's not only acceptable to stop working, but part of the culture – WFH breaks hit a little different. WFH anxiety is a real phenomenon where workers forgo breaks altogether out of fear their boss will think they're lazy.

We've all been there to some extent, right? Here's some good news though. Princeton researchers found taking a break or time away from the screen actually increased productivity and protects against decision fatigue!

*Create a Professional Environment *

Sure, we've all had days when we'd rather work from the couch or our bed – but this can be counter intuitive for your wellbeing and productivity. Even if you live in a studio apartment, set a space aside that is dedicated to your work, so your brain doesn't associate the bed you sleep in with work.

There are plenty of WFH space ideas – from fold down desks to writing nooks, so there's plenty of choice even if space is an issue.

*Plug In *

Even with the best desk in the world, if you have noisy neighbors or live in a loud building, focusing on that deadline is going to be tricky. We seriously vouch for noise canceling headphones to drown out unwanted homely distractions.

Lyric-free music such as piano jazz or even video game soundtracks offer the perfect musical productivity boost. How? When our brains aren't focusing on lyrics, we're able to zone out and focus on the task at hand – like that deadline. Cool, eh?

*Stay Connected *

Working remotely can feel, er, lonely at times let's be honest. But from Slack to social media, there are so many ways to keep in touch with others while you're working from home. Of course, this has its uses for work queries (more on this later) but being connected to others is important for our wellbeing.

Utilize this software for social reasons. That work bestie you used to get coffee with? Do it virtually – better yet, use the program to arrange a meet up IRL.

Ask for Help

Back before Covid when most of us were in an office full time, there was always someone close to run things by. Whether it was a client giving us a hard time or an impossible caseload, one of the perks of being in a physical office was the ability to sort issues then and there.

This isn't the case with working from home – at least not physically. In a post-pandemic world, tech like Zoom has boomed, practically becoming a household name! Use this tech to your advantage, as a safety net between you at home and your colleagues or manager.

*Dress Like You _Are _Going into the Office *

Get out of those PJ's - yes, you! Don't get us wrong, we're all about that comfy WFH life, so let's compromise. Research published in the Wall St Journal highlighted that by getting dressed even when you aren't leaving home, can positively affect your productivity.

While you needn't be in a suit, it sure is good to project your best self – especially If your manager likes an impromptu video call.

WFH may not be the glamourous life we envisioned pre-pandemic. But with these tips we hope your remote working journey becomes ever more productive.

Written by:

Trudi Gibson
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An NCTJ-accredited journalist with over 12 years' professional writing experience.
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