By: Chelsy Swackhamer

The way we live and work has changed immensely over the past few months. COVID-19 has drastically affected our normal daily activities, especially the way we work. According to a study done in 2019 by the National Compensation Survey, only 7% of Americans were able to work remotely, unlike other countries such as Sweden and Finland where nearly 17% of employees have the benefit of working from home. And now after recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control roughly 50% of Americans are working remotely. Now we must adapt to this new situation.

With any new situation, comes its fair share of challenges. Both managers and employees have had to adjust to this new regime, and without your boss hovering over your shoulder, holding you accountable, it can be a real challenge to constantly stay motivated and get all your work and tasks done. And although working from home can be a great benefit, it can take time to really get into the right routine.

Since starting to work from home, have you had a chance to reflect on how things are going? 

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself about your current work situation. 

What type of distractions are you faced with? 

Distractions are inevitable when you work from home. But, what type of distractions are you having? There are some distractions you just can’t ignore. Many of us have children, chores, and other things at home that can’t be ignored. However, there are the distractions you can avoid. The biggest distraction of all can be our phone. Many of us need our phones for work which is understandable, yet we get caught scrolling through social media and googling what happened in our favorite Netflix show, and our time passes quickly.  

But you aren’t going to be able to accomplish the things you want if you’re sitting on the couch binge-watching your favorite show. (Trust us we’ve tested this theory). You need to create a proper workspace. Somewhere you can really focus and eliminate all these unnecessary distractions. Here are 10 ways you can stay productive at home. 

Are you getting the support you need when working from home? 

A 2017 study by the United Nations found that in 15 countries, including the US, UK, Finland, and Sweden, 41 percent of "highly mobile" employees (remote workers) considered themselves highly stressed. This can be linked to a lack of structure in your workday, constant reliance on your phone, or just being socially isolated. Loneliness can cause higher stress levels and decrease memory and learning.

One great way to support yourself at home is to engage in regular physical exercise. Find the time to get outside and be active. Remember to stay connected with your friends, family, and coworkers. And be sure to get enough sleep. If you're looking for a way to hit the pause button and focus on you, here are 25 tips for self-care.

If you have tried all these tips and you still feel you don't have the support you need, you should talk to your manager about the situation.

Have you been taking breaks?

Now, this might not seem important to you, but taking breaks while working will help improve your productivity, your mental wellbeing, your physical wellbeing, increase your energy levels, and so much more. Reward yourself when you finish tasks by taking a quick break.

Some days you might not feel like you have the time to take a break, but all you need is a couple of minutes. Here you can try this one minute break

Are you putting too much pressure on yourself to be productive all the time?

The reality is you can’t be productive 100% of the time when working from home. It’s even a challenge to be productive all the time while you're at the office. Working from home gives you a bit more flexibility to get things done on a schedule that best fits you. There are parts of the day that will be more productive than others. 

Using a schedule can help keep you focused on the task at hand. It allows you to specify the amount of time you need for each task. Always try and prioritize your most important tasks for the beginning of the day. That way if something comes up in the afternoon you aren’t rushing trying to get it finished. Remember that this is a new situation for everybody, and it takes some time to get into the right routine for you.



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