COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for many companies. Adaptive measures such as quarantining and social distancing have led employees to shift towards working from home for the very first time and, at Neophyto Foods, we know how challenging it can be to start working from home (productively). Since our inception, we managed to successfully set up and operate with a dynamic remote team consisting of 6 individuals – all with unique roles, schedules and locations, and of course… Slack. Over the months, we’ve each learned a few things about how to maximize productivity when working from home and we are here to share our OG wisdom!
So let’s get into it! Here are tips from our team about how to maximize productivity while WFH!
Keep a steady sleep schedule and don’t skip out on a nutritious breakfast!
“Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every single day. I also make sure to have my morning coffee and a full meal before getting started with my day’s work”.
– Julia Bradley, Growth Engineer Intern
You may be tempted to extend your bedtime or oversleep in the morning since you don’t physically have to commute when you’re working from home. However, studies show that a consistent and restful sleep-wake schedule is key when it comes to boosting your performance and productivity .
Along with prioritizing your sleep, be sure to start your day with a nutritious breakfast before you head to work. We’ve all heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, however, what you eat is also equally important and can directly influence your wellbeing and productivity. Eating a regular nutritious breakfast can help improve your concentration, memory and attentiveness . Not sure how to eat healthy at home? Check out our blog on Healthy Eating Tips during Covid-19 for some inspiration!
Create “to-do” lists and keep a dedicated workspace away from your pet
“Make a to-do list of things you have to do so you can check things off and feel accomplished. Try to keep your work space separate from your other spaces to help improve focus. This includes giving your pets their own independent space! I made a comfy chair for my cat so he doesn't sit on my laptop.”
As Jane mentions, writing out a list of your daily tasks has been proven to not only help your perceived sense of accomplishment, but it also gives you control over your workload and helps you stay organized without feeling overwhelmed! Research suggests that creating a list of incomplete tasks can prompt our brain to focus more, prioritise agenda items and enhance performance .
Keeping a designated workspace free from distractions (even your lovable pets!) is equally important to help boost your productivity. To help set boundaries, make sure your pets have their own comfortable lounging space that is separate from your work area. And remember, before heading online for work, be sure to fulfill your pet’s needs first to avoid major interruptions throughout the day.
– Rahbika Ashraf, Business Development & Growth Marketing Intern
Planning out your schedule doesn’t have to be a fancy task. Time-blocking is a simple, yet effective way to ensure you are dedicating sufficient time on your calendar to specific tasks. It not only acts as a “to-do” list, but also tells you when to work on a task. Also, don’t be disappointed when you have to switch things around. The purpose of your weekly calendar is to help guide and manage your upcoming tasks, but it should also be flexible to effectively handle unforeseen events or additional tasks that come your way!
Pro Tip: Don’t overpopulate your schedule. Only add what you can reasonably accomplish in a given time. This will help avoid disappointment and you will feel more accomplished if you have fewer incomplete tasks at the end of the week.
Take frequent breaks between prolonged screen time and get creative with your workspace
“I look out the window at the trees once in a while when I find myself staring at the screen for too long. I also try to be creative about changing up working environments and using my bar top as a standing desk sometimes.”– Ethan Zhang, Co-Founder
Lengthy periods of time spent sitting in front of a screen can cause eye muscle fatigue and affect your sleep cycles . Be sure to take frequent tech-free breaks to relax your eyes. Experts recommend following the 20-20-20 rule to avoid eye strain: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break to look 20 feet away . This tip will also help combat Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which is a fancy term for a range of eye and vision related problems that arise from prolonged screen time .
Like Ethan suggests, switching up your work environment can help keep you moving and prevent back or shoulder strain. A standing desk is perfect for this purpose and is also proven to boost productivity and increase engagement – all while burning a few extra calories [6,7]! It may be a good practice to reflect on how much you actually get done when you are sitting in front of a screen and adapt your screen-time accordingly.
Keep a consistent work schedule and eat multiple small meals throughout the day“I like to keep my working hours regular. I try standing up and take breaks stretching or walking around and seeing my plants once in a while. Eating multiple meals in smaller portions helps. Sometimes, I have lunch with soup or a bigger portion and the food coma hits and I just can't focus for a while.”
Keeping a consistent work schedule is another way to achieve the perfect work-life balance and boost productivity when working from home! Pick a definitive time for starting and ending your work day and stick to it. Studies suggest that consistent work schedules are important to employee well-being . Also, don’t forget to schedule in a few breaks during your day to stretch, have lunch or simply give your brain a rest.
Before eating a heavy meal at lunchtime, remember Yvonne’s food coma experience and don’t let it happen to you! Instead, try spreading out multiple small meals throughout the day. Some research shows that eating more frequent smaller meals can help prevent large spikes in blood insulin and lower impulsive snacking .
Always remember to disconnect!
“Make sure to remember to disconnect! Working from home can turn into living at the office so I make sure to schedule "off" time to relax, disconnect and prevent feeling overwhelmed without feeling like I should be working.”
– Kamil Chatila-Amos, Co-Founder
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you have to answer emails or work around the clock! Your office space and living space may be under the same roof, but understanding when to disconnect after work and scheduling breaks in between can help avoid burnout and improve energy levels. Studies suggest that failure to disconnect after work is associated with decreased concentration, poorer sleep quality and less productivity the following day [2,3]. Setting boundaries by activating your “do not disturb” mode and turning off your notifications is the key to achieving a healthy work-life balance when working from home.
Final words of wisdom…
Always keep in mind that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to maximizing your productivity at home. But, putting these tips into practice can be a great start to exploring what works best for you! We hope these simple and easy productivity hacks that have worked for us can also help you efficiently manage your workload.
And let us know in the comments below if you have any other tips you’d like to share with the world!