How to keep yourself productive when working from home: six tips for the uninitiated

First and foremost, our hearts go out to those across the globe who are impacted by the COVID-19 virus. With the current threat level of this virus, we can expect disturbances to our work life, as well as our home life – including changes to where we set up for work each day. In the coming weeks, more and more employees in Australia will be encouraged and/or directed to work from home in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

MEC Mining’s General Manager of Operations, Christofer Catania has advised that “with the evolving conditions related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the changes being implemented across the industry, we are working to ensure business stability for all of MEC Mining and implementing measures to ensure minimal disruption to our employees, clients and business operations”.

But for those accustomed to their workplace, a common concern is, “How can I keep myself productive when working from home?”. Here are MEC Mining’s six tips on how to keep yourself motivated while working from home during this time of crisis:

Tip #1: Set your alarm

Act as though you’re going to work. Set an alarm and get out of bed in the morning as soon as you wake up; lying in will only allow you to feel unfocused and drowsy. Have a shower, get dressed (not in pyjamas!) and have breakfast before beginning your workday.

Tip #2: Set up your space

If you have a spare room or study to use as an office space, we recommend keeping anything work-related in there. Arrange a monitor, keyboard, mouse and ensure they’re set up ergonomically. (Here is an excellent video on tips for a great workstation set up). We also advise ensuring your workspace is well lit and has fresh air coming through the room.

Not surprisingly, we don’t recommend setting yourself up on the couch or in bed as this will quickly blur the line between home and work, making it harder to relax when you’re ‘off’, and make it harder to focus at work when you’re ‘on’.

Tip #3: Set your goals

Have a chat with your manager and ensure you’re clear on the tasks you need to complete, and by when. This will help to ensure you stay motivated, focused and meet your deadlines. Consider creating a checklist as sometimes little wins mean big satisfaction, especially when you don’t have colleagues around to recognise your accomplishments.

Tip #4: Check-in with your colleagues

And on that note, don’t forget to check in with your colleagues. You’re all still working so don’t forget to phone around to update your team members on the status of your projects and keep connected rather than feeling lonely or isolated.

We encourage you to urge your employer/manager to set up a team meeting first thing each morning to ensure you are all on the same page and all pulling in the same direction to smash your project log. Remember that you are not alone – others struggle with balancing these disruptions just as much as you do, and you may discover new ways of staying focused.

Tip #5: Take breaks

You can’t expect to work non-stop all day and trying to certainly won’t help you to stay focused. Remember to take your lunch break – away from your computer. During this time maybe go for a walk or run an errand. This will help you feel refreshed and ready to knuckle down when you come back to your desk.

Tip #6: Reward yourself

You may be motivated simply by knowing your manager is expecting your work at a certain time, but if you work for yourself or don’t have to report in regularly to anyone you should try to come up with ways of rewarding yourself at the end of each task or day.