Working from home tips: how to be productive and stay connected at home Published: 17/04/2020 | by Star Trader

Working from home tips: how to be productive and stay connected at home

Keeping in touch with family, friends and work colleagues is trickier now more than ever. Through these challenging times, our mobile phones, laptops, tablets and other technical devices are fast-becoming our best friends. Staying connected is important during this time, especially for those of us who are working from home. Here are some of our top tips on how to stay connected and be more productive at work during this testing time.

Why is it important to stay and feel connected?

Without leaving the house and living our lives as we normally would, things feel strange. Working from home means many of us aren’t seeing our work colleagues as often as we’re used to, which can feel very isolating, especially for those who live alone.

Over time, loneliness can take its toll, impacting more than just our mood. Staying in touch with family, friends and colleagues is a great way to combat the feeling of being alone. As well as keeping up communication with people you know and love, it’s also important to stay in touch with what’s going on in the world, even though you may not want to all the time. It helps to make us all feel aware and be prepared. 

Tips for working from home

For some people, working from the comfort of their own sofa is what dreams are made of. For others, working in the same place they call home day in day out is a struggle, which can have an impact on productivity. 

To help those people struggling, we’ve got some top tips on how to be more productive at work when it comes to working from home:

1. Get an early start 

When working from home, it can be much harder to get up and out of bed, but it’s important that you do. Try to stick to your usual working day schedule and you will feel more productive.

2. Get changed 

Try not to stay in your pyjamas all day or you’ll start to feel tired. As the saying goes, dress for the job you want (or have in this case). You’ll feel better, trust us.

3. Set a schedule and stick to it 

Plan your day out just like you would if you were in the office. Then, you have something to achieve by the end of the day, which will motivate you to do so.

Creating and sticking to a schedule is much easier if you set realistic deadlines, motivate yourself and, the important one – plan the night before. Think about what you want and need to achieve the next day and set your to-do list. There are some great task management apps, too. A few of our favourites include:

  • Trello – Create different boards and organise using the drag and drop feature.
  • Easynote – Assign tasks and keep track of your progress.
  • Todoist – Set reminders, give yourself a completion date, and get organised with labels.

4. Create a dedicated workspace

If you can, set up a dedicated workspace. Don’t just sit in bed or laze on the sofa. Sit somewhere comfortable, but practical. If you don’t have a desk at home, think about investing in one. If this isn’t an option, you could always have a go at creating your own desk using your ironing board or a few stacked books on your dining table. 

If a homemade desk just isn’t working out for you, there are still ways you can switch things up when it comes to your working space. If you’re finding yourself feeling agitated, working in the same spot every day, move around your home and work in different locations. Vacate to the garden for a few days or set up shop in your spare bedroom. 

5. Take a break 

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you need to burn yourself out. At lunchtime, log off and go for a walk. 

6. Limit screen time

Limit your distractions (when you can). Turn off the TV, don’t check your social media, and make sure that whoever you live with knows when you’ll be busy.

If you’re addicted to checking your phone, put some restrictions in place to stop you from doing so. Both Apple and Android smartphones give you the option to limit your usage of certain apps, which helps you to get back some control. So, if you’re spending way too much time scrolling through Instagram, set a timer. Once you’ve exceeded your limit for the day, you’ll be blocked from using the app until the timer resets. Clever, hey?

To help even further, remove all electronic devices from your view while working from home. Out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t see your iPad or phone sitting nearby, you won’t be tempted to check it. 

7. Avoid multitasking

Although it may be one of your many talents, it’s a big no-no when it comes to working from home. Staying focused on the task at home is the key to getting things ticked off your list. If you stop what you’re doing to think about starting something else, you’ll never make it to the end of your day. If you’re busy with a task, let your colleagues know, as well as whoever you live with, so you can be left without any distractions until you finish that task. 

8. Stay motivated

It’s easy to feel bogged down and fed up, especially being alone at home. That’s why staying motivated is the key. Sound good? Here are some foolproof ways to stay motivated while working from home.

  • Try the Pomodoro Technique – developed in the late 1980s, this technique uses a timer to break down work into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. Give it a try and see if it makes you feel more motivated and productive.
  • Give yourself a reward – achieved everything you wanted to today? Great, give yourself a pat on the back and do something you enjoy. Reward yourself with a takeaway, relaxing bath, or buy that coat you’ve had saved for ages.
  • Start your day with a motivational quote – it’s a good way to feel inspired. 
  • Keep your working environment clean and tidy – a messy home will just make for a messy mind. Take some time to clear away the clutter and you’ll feel ready to go.

9. Exercise

Whether it’s a light job in the morning, a short walk on your lunch break, or a heavy lifting session after work, exercise can make you feel good. A good workout changes your mood completely. It’s the sense of achievement you get from it. 

It doesn't need to be an hour and a half full body workout. How you exercise is up to you. It shouldn’t be a burden. It should be a fun way to give yourself a break and destress. 

Ten-minute workouts have become increasingly popular with most people working from home. They don’t require you to sacrifice your entire lunch break. Instead, they can be done quickly and are very fun. Want to give it a try? Check out these 10-minute workout ideas by the NHS.

10. Check out our list of resources

These handy resources will help you become a working from home expert:

As well as putting all these things into practice, it’s also crucial to stay connected with work colleagues during this time, as well as friends and family. That way, we don’t feel alone and will feel more productive as a result. 

So, how can we all stay in touch during this time? 

1. Video calls

Whether it’s through WhatsApp, FaceTime, Google Meet or any other software, a video call every now and then can help us all to quickly catch up with friends and family. Seeing the faces of the ones we love will brighten our moods, particularly in this time where we can’t see them as often as we’d like.

This is an important one for people looking for tips on how to work from home. Video calls bring some normality to our workdays at home, enabling us to see our work colleagues in the flesh (well, kind of). 

2. Overseas calls with an international calling sim

One for you or your customers if your family members, partners or close friends are far away. The right international calling sim enables us to make international calls from our mobile phones to make sure we don’t lose touch with any of our loved ones. 

When searching for the best sim only deals with international calls, do your research. There are so many to choose from, including O2's International Big Bundles, which have inclusive minutes to up to 48 countries, from Australia and India, to Hong Kong and USA.

O2 International Big Bundles start at £10 a month for 5000 texts, 5GB data and 500 flexible minutes for calls to 29 European destinations. The full list of countries included can be found here on the O2 website. 

International Big Bundles are great for your customers who need to make international calls from their mobile to stay in touch with their family and friends abroad. A good solution to prevent people from feeling alone during this testing time.

3. Keep updated on the news

Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to watch the news. However, it’s a good way to keep up to date with the world’s events. If you or someone you know can’t face turning on the TV at the time when live news is broadcasting, wait for a better time and use your mobile phone to view it online when the time feels right. It’s important not to feel overwhelmed. Too much information about one topic could cause panic, which is why we think it’s important to remember to separate yourself from what’s going on and come back to it when you feel ready. 

Today, mobile data is needed more than ever. Recent research has revealed that usage is on the rise, with more and more people using their mobile phones to adapt to the new and temporary way of living. 

The ways people are using their mobile data is also changing, with spikes showing surges during the Prime Minister’s 5pm briefings, more activity on the Garmin app as a result of gyms and leisure centres closing, and people staying in touch with family via WhatApp in the midst of social distancing.

So, what does this mean for you and your customers? As people are more likely to be using up their mobile data to stream, share and socialise, they could be looking for a better deal that gives them more for their money. As a trader, you can help them to continue to stay in touch with their loved ones and keep in touch with the latest news and government advice by letting them know about Big Bundles. Huge chunks of data for a small monthly top up price.

If you're stuck at home and need to earn a bit of extra case, read our piece on how stay at home parents can earn some extra cash here

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And, if you haven’t joined as a Star Trader yet, now is the perfect time.

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