Now that people have been working from home for more than just a year, they’ve switched from just trying to get through a day of remote work to finding ways to make it better and more productive. If you’re looking for tips on how to streamline your work day — whether that’s reducing the time you spend in video meetings or finding a meal delivery service that follows your low-FODMAP meal plan — here are seven strategies to make working from home more efficient:
Rethink your workflow.
The workflows and processes that worked for your routine when you were in the office probably won’t work for a remote team. If you transitioned quickly to remote work, as many offices did, you likely threw some processes up on the fly and possibly never considered them again. Take some time to really think deeply about how you and your team are getting work done, and walk through each step of the process to determine what’s working and what’s not. Some of what you came up with on the spot may still be working — but we’re willing to bet that a lot of it needs to be tweaked to reflect the ongoing reality of remote work.
Get rid of unnecessary video calls.
The whole world went crazy for Zoom calls in 2020. Not only was basically every meeting transferred to a video call, some meetings that could’ve been emails were also held on Zoom. Sitting in back-to-back Zoom calls isn’t just exhausting, it’s unproductive and, in many cases, unnecessary. Re-evaluate your meetings, especially recurring invites, and determine if you really need to be having so many video calls. For example, your daily all-hands meetings might be able to become a twice-weekly check-in instead. By now, people have adjusted to being at home, and most would prefer quality over quantity when it comes to Zoom meetings.
Experiment with productivity tools.
If you used to keep track of your to-do list on a whiteboard in your office — the office you haven’t been to in almost a year — it’s time to replace it with some new productivity tools. If you don’t have a physical office at home, then transitioning to all-digital tools might be the best bet so you can carry them around in your laptop without having to worry about your kids or pets messing with your sticky notes. As long as you have a fast internet service provider, such as Centurylink internet and similar, working from a laptop rather than keeping physical notes is beneficial in many ways! Services such as Asana and Todoist are often free, at least for a basic entry-level account, which allows you to see if they fit your needs without investing upfront. If your existing tools are working okay, you might still be able to add new extensions or functionalities that make them more efficient and easy to use.
Check in with your team…but not too much.
Both under-communicating and over-communicating are very easy to do when your team is working remotely. If you’re not used to being more technology-based, many colleagues might completely ignore Slack, email and other digital methods of communication. On the other hand, your boss might micromanage you and demand that you be available for messages around the clock. Try to hit a sweet spot where you’re keeping your colleagues informed of your work and status, but you’re not overwhelming them with updates.
Get your blood flowing.
When you worked in an office, you probably got up a lot, whether that was to walk to a meeting or to make a cup of coffee in the kitchen. Now that you’re working from home, you have far less opportunities that force you to get up and walk around. Instead, you sit still in the same position for hours and hours, which is really bad for your circulation and your overall health. Try to get up at least once an hour to get your blood flowing, whether that’s stretching, going to the bathroom or even taking a walk around the neighborhood. Taking movement breaks might seem like the opposite of streamlining, but it will help fend off some of the physical “blahs” that can happen when you’re working from home.
Optimize your mealtimes.
People tend to make two different mistakes with their lunch breaks when working from home: Either they don’t take a break at all and keep working while they scarf down something or they become so distracted by deciding what to eat (and then actually cooking it) that it eats up several hours of their day. You should definitely take a lunch break every day that you can, but it shouldn’t be so long that it completely stalls your work day. If cooking is what takes up the most time, do your meal prep on the weekends or try a low-FODMAP meal delivery service that ships meals straight to your home. All you have to do is heat them up and go!
Give your eyes a break.
Viewing a screen for extended periods of time can cause discomfort, eye strain, headaches and other unpleasant symptoms. Even if you looked at a computer screen a lot when you worked in an office, you’re probably looking at it even more now that all your meetings are video calls. If your eyes tend to get dry, make it a point to blink often to keep them moist. Doctors also recommend following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a break from the screen light and forces them to focus at a different distance, helping to keep symptoms at bay.
If your work from home routine isn’t working for you, it’s time to make some changes. Follow these seven strategies to streamline your work from home routine and become more efficient and productive.