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How to stay focused and productive in your home office

Working from home is still somewhat unusual for many in South Africa. You may be working at the dining table, the spare room, or the back garden, but regardless of your home set up, it’s important we position ourselves to work as efficiently as possible. 

Robert Walters employees have been given the opportunity to work from home over the course of the next few weeks in order to abstain social distancing.

Our experts offer their five most important tips for working successfully in your home office, minimizing distractions, maintaining focus and reconciling professional and private life.

1. Create your own workspace 

Having your own space is important to help stay focused. We recommend purchasing a desk and a back-friendly desk chair so that you can work comfortably  without straining your neck or your back. Choose a comfortable chair. Your body will thank you.

Also, you should make sure to work on a clean and tidy table and only have the most important documents, like your work phone, something to drink, and a notebook. Other things like books or even table decorations may distract you.

2. Consider suitable clothing

Getting up and staying in your pyjamas is both tempting and timesaving. This may work for some, but it prevents many from mentally creating a professional, productive working atmosphere, as they feel somewhere that they are not really at work. It is therefore advisable to dress as you would at work, or at least those that would leave your home.

3. Structure your day

It is important to remember that while working from home, it is your sole responsibility to complete your tasks successfully and efficiently. We recommend that you start your work at the same time each day, set a fixed time window for your team break and lunch break to help break up the day. Following a routine as normal to your regular day in the office is key for remaining productive.

Between these time slots, you should lay out specific times for specific tasks. For example, focus mainly on calls and meetings in the morning and emails and research in the afternoon. This way you can do all your tasks in a structured manner and feel productive, satisfied and relaxed at the end of the day.

4. Make time for breaks

Regular breaks are important so that your brain can rest and your batteries can recharge. Use the lunch break, for example, for a short walk in the sun to refuel with vitamin D, a phone call with friends or fortify yourself with a tasty, light snack.

Even between breaks, it’s important to stay moving, even if that just means stretching your legs and going to the kitchen for a cup of tea or coffee or walking out to the garden to get a breath of fresh air!

5. Focus on work-life balance

It is important that you clearly separate your working hours from your free time. However, it is just as important that your private and professional environments and those that surround it, are aware when it is time to work and when you are free.

It is therefore suggested to speak openly with your family and friends about your schedule and consider making them aware of the times you will have to take important phone calls or video calls in order not to be disturbed. Then you have more time for your family and friends during breaks or after work hours. 

For more career advice information, please contact our specialist recruiters on +27 (0)11 881 2400 or email southafrica@robertwalters.com.

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