How to be more productive when remote working
Working from home can be tricky at the best of times. Accessing all the information you need and working closely with colleagues is made harder when you’re away from your normal workplace. And if you’re a parent with kids at home, it’s even more of a juggle.
In this blog we look at practical things you can do to help you work from home as productively as possible.
It all starts with your connection
Having a fast and reliable connection is key to creating your new working environment. Not only will it make downloading, uploading and video conferencing easier – it will also be able to handle other family members using the connection at the same time.
An unlimited fibre plan is the best option because you’ll enjoy faster speeds that won’t slow down at peak times, plus there’s no cap on data usage. While, we're only doing essential fibre connections currently and normal fibre orders have been delayed, there’s nothing stopping you from doing some research. Go to Broadband Compare if you want to compare available plans.
A growing number of New Zealand broadband suppliers have been moving all their customers to unlimited plans, so if you’re not already unlimited, it’s worth checking with your provider.
The first blog in this series looks at ways you can improve your connection at home.
6 steps to being more productive at home
For many of us, our homes have become both temporary offices and schools. It may seem a frightening prospect, but with a bit of planning we can all stay productive and keep smiling:
1. Make a space for working
Working on your bed or armchair will lead to ergonomic issues – in other words, a sore back and stiff neck. So if you’re lucky enough to have the space, creating a dedicated area for working is not only more comfortable, but it will reduce interruptions because it shows others you are ‘at work’.
2. Find a weekday routine that works for you
Finding and sticking to an achievable weekday routine is the key. Showering, getting dressed and starting work at your preferred time each day will help you get into the habit. A silver lining for early birds and night owls is that unlike 9 to 5, you can work at times you feel most productive and when the house is quieter.
3. Don’t try to be a superhero!
If you have kids at home, create a weekday plan for them too with a realistic blend of schoolwork, play and keeping in touch with friends online. Don’t be hard on yourself if the kids’ weekdays include a bit more gaming and TV; as parenting expert Nigel Latta said: “forget screen time limits… device time is quiet time. Embrace it. No permanent damage will be done.”
Taking it in turns to be with the kids will give parents space to work. And if you do spend time helping them with schoolwork, giving them concentrated one-on-one attention is great for learning.
4. Keep talking
When you’re working alone, talking to colleagues each day keeps you feeling part of a team. Picking up the phone and chatting to a workmate for a few minutes can often get things done more quickly – and be more enjoyable - than a stream of emails. Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts are great to see how everyone is doing and helps with productivity.
It’s good to be structured in these meetings because conference calls can become chaotic. It also helps to have someone leading the meeting, making sure everyone can be heard. If your video becomes glitchy, switch to audio-only which requires less bandwidth. And if you and your workers share a drink on Friday afternoon, you can boost morale and a sense of normality by continuing to raise a glass over Zoom or Skype.
5. Take a break
Remember to take regular breaks. For every hour you work, getting up and spending 10 minutes doing something you enjoy will keep your mind fresher. Being at home gives you plenty of options for those time-outs, whether it’s making a cup of tea, taking a hot shower, doing some yoga or checking in on the kids.
6. Clock off and relax
Working hours can be more flexible when you’re at home, but it’s important to know when to stop. Ending your working day with something definitive – such as exercise, preparing a meal or a game with the kids – will make it easier to switch off your work devices and keep a healthier balance at home.
Next in this 3-blog series are some suggestions for how you can ‘keep your household happy with broadband’.