By, Pam Gould RN, MHA
AristaMD Vice President Managed Care
Having found ourselves in June 2020, much of the country who previously worked in office or healthcare center settings have found themselves asking: “How to improve work from home productivity?” While working from home can seem exciting initially, there are often challenges that can be helpful to address to remain productive and happy in your new digs.
Having worked from home for over 10 years, there are a few things I’ve learned that not only make me more productive, but also allow me to graciously accept my home office being my full-time office. Many of these tips may or may not be possible for you based on your home and location, however, feel free to adapt a few of these recommendations as you see fit.
1. Carve out a quiet space to have as your office.
Ideally, this will be a separate room in your home. If that is not possible:
- Can you divide a space with a folding screen?
- Can you hang a curtain to create separation of space?
- Is there a dedicated quiet corner you can create an office space within?
By doing this, you can set up your space to promote efficiency and organization. Be sure to include an area for technology, monitors, white boards, files, etc. in your dedicated space. Your office likely had these resources, so your home office should too.
If possible, optimize privacy in your space. This will help you to stay focused on work projects and teleconferencing calls.
Make your space as welcoming and comfortable as possible. Have ample lighting (natural is a plus) and a comfortable seating (or standing) area.
Reserve your space for work only and leave it at the end of your workday to help delineate your workspace from your home/respite space. Close your computer and shut off that monitor at the end of the day!
2. Plan and prepare your connectivity.
If you will be on telehealth or video calls, determine if your home internet service is adequate for managing these calls and other technology needs. If not, consider upgrading or identifying a place you can go where you will have optimal internet access and the privacy needed for work related calls. Also, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan should you lose internet service, power, or both. (Suggestions include having a generator, land line, and/or alternate work location).
3. Eliminate noise when and where possible.
As best as possible, try to minimize family activity, pets, or other distractions. Try kenneling noisy pets and/or recruiting the help of family members in observing quiet zones or times when you are working.
Post notes on your door requesting delivery persons not ring doorbells or knock on doors unless signature is required for deliveries.
4) Create a work schedule and communicate it to your family.
If possible, have a dedicated time to log into work and dedicated time to log-out. Maintaining consistent work hours helps with organization and developing a routine.
Keep time outside of work hours for exercise and fun activities that allow you to recharge your batteries. These times are just as important for your well-being as office hours, so ensure you dedicate the time needed. If you have person admin related tasks to take care of during normal business hours, one suggestion is to block off a time slot to take care of all of those items, so that they can be completed and not bleed into work hours.
5) Patience is a virtue.
Practice patience, as it takes your family time to adjust and understand that you are indeed “working” from home. If you can carve out a few minutes between calls or have lunch with your family communicate that to them. In this way, you further illustrate the need to be on a schedule while also giving yourself and your family quality break time.
6) Stay connected.
Be sure to allocate time to speak with your co-workers and network. As venues reopen, consider working from a quiet coffee shop one morning a week, or attending conferences or classes offered that relate to a subject of interest. If you must stay in due to quarantine, encourage your company to facilitate fun team-building activities, if possible. At AristaMD, we’ve been setting up regular weekly activities such as Virtual Wine Wednesday and trivia!
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