The home office challenge: How to stay productive when working from home
Executive Education / 16 March 2020
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Marketing & Sales Koordinatorin
Michelle Neumann is Marketing & Sales Coordinator Professional & Executive Education at Frankfurt School.

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What was long considered a fad is becoming the new normal. Triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, more and more companies are asking their employees to work from home. While this is a progressive move, and a big step forward for digitalisation, it also creates challenges that some employees are finding difficult to cope with.

Working from home – part of the New Work culture

Mobile work has its pros and cons, but there’s no denying that everybody is talking about it. Some people are enthusing about a New Work culture, in the belief that telecommuters work more effectively because their work-life balance is better. Others miss the office atmosphere – no gatherings around the coffee machine, no socialising with colleagues. So despite much passionate debate, we haven’t yet seen a major remote-working breakthrough.

Now the coronavirus outbreak has pushed the issue right back into the spotlight as isolation becomes the preferred way to halt the spread of the respiratory disease. Entire countries are on internal and external lockdown as they endeavour to restrict social contact between citizens. The idea is to slow or even halt the transmission of the virus. German businesses are also wondering how they can help protect their workforces against coronavirus infection. And this is why so many employees have been working from home since Monday, March 16, 2020. While some people are already familiar with the model, it’s a novel experience for others.

Now experienced remote workers like Amanda Grinavich are sharing valuable insights that could help you focus on your work and stay on top of things even while you’re stuck at home.

Top tips for working from home

  1. Every day, behave exactly as you would if you were going into the office. That means getting up as soon as your alarm goes off. Getting yourself washed and dressed. Making yourself breakfast. In short, sticking to a morning routine that’s pretty much identical to your daily office routine. Tempting as it may be to stay in your pyjamas all day, getting yourself ready in the morning helps you prepare for the day ahead and concentrate effectively on your work.
  2. Set aside a dedicated workspace. Find a specific area at home in which you will stay while you’re “at work”. Sure, it’s easy to make yourself comfy on the sofa or in bed. But… do you really want to associate your bed or your sofa with work in the future? Better to reserve these spaces for times when you want to relax. What’s more, it’s easier to focus on work when you’re sitting upright at your desk – and better for your back, too.
  3. Take regular breaks. One of the nice things about working in an office is how easy it is for colleagues to persuade you to pop outside for a walk around the block or a quick coffee break. When you work on your own, these pleasant distractions disappear. But you should still make sure you take regular breaks! Have lunch. Grab some fresh air. Take time out to relax your mind and refocus on what you’re doing – it will help you to be more productive.
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate! The key to successful teleworking is communicating clearly and frequently with colleagues. Even when you’re physically disconnected, it’s vital to go on playing an active role in your team. Ensure you stay in daily contact not just with your line manager, but also with your other team members. Make sure you’re absolutely clear about what you’re currently working on – and what your team as a whole is working on. Fortunately, modern technology has made remote working easier than ever before.

Take this opportunity to experience teleworking for yourself. If you take heed of the tips above, there’s nothing to stop you from working very effectively from home.