Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, many more establishments have started to accept working from home (WFH) as normal, even necessary, in the modern world. A lot of people find the home office setup beneficial as it saves them from the time-consuming commute, the high costs of maintaining a commercial workspace, worries over family matters and others.

But WFH can expose small business owners to temptations that can kill productivity. Distractions from family, TV, pets, neighborhood noise, etc. are examples. Here, we give you some WFH hacks that can boost your efficiency.

WFH business owner

1. Work in a Quiet, Clean and Appropriately Furnished Room

 

Outside noise and clutter can serve as distractions not just to you but also to the people you video-chat with. Therefore, you must get a workspace that can shield you from these potentially disrupting environmental factors.

Choose a room that will put you as far as possible from outside noise, e. g. a top-floor room, backyard spare room, etc. Use ear muffs or headphones to block out the remaining noise while you work. Declutter and organize your equipment and home office supplies, making the latter easier to find. 

Once you’ve chosen and cleaned up your workspace, avoid filling it with furniture that can make you too relaxed to work, such as beds and couches. Put in ergonomic office equipment that can make you comfortable while working, but not too comfortable.

 

2. Take Advantage of Modern Technology

 

Bug-filled laptops and mobile gadgets can reduce your work hours or ruin your momentum. Since WFH environments require communication technology, make sure to invest in good hardware and software when setting up your home office.

If you have several employees working for you, get high-quality audio and video equipment to connect with them problem-free. Get top-speed internet connection. Sign up for the best phone service to get crisp audio all the time.

Use dependable software that can help you manage teams. They include the following:

 

For video-conferencing:

 

For quick chats:

 

For preparing and sharing documents:

 

For sending video messages:

 

For project planning:

 

And if you’re dealing with classified material, protect your equipment from hackers. Keep your workspace eavesdropper-proof and avoid discussing sensitive information with your family.

 

3. Maintain Your Morning Routine and Sleep Habits

 

A WFH setup can get you thrown off your daily routines easily. Before you know it, you’re breaking your work schedule by starting late, sleeping on the job, missing deadlines, etc. One way to prevent it is by relying on your brain’s circadian rhythm—the so-called “body clock.”

Wake up at the same time every morning. Take a brisk walk for 15-30 minutes under the sun to rouse your optic nerves and brain pathways. Eat your breakfast, take a bath and dress up in work clothes like usual. Sleep at the same hours at night. Habitualizing these activities programs your sleep-wake cycle, letting you stay focused during your designated work hours.

Avoid too cozy outfits as much as possible so you can keep alert throughout the day. If you need a nap, take only a very brief one (about 15 minutes) so it will not ruin your nighttime habits.

 

4. Set Workable Work Hours and Stick to Them

 

Make a timetable by determining monthly projects and breaking them down into weekly and daily tasks. Set your work hours, devoting your most productive, distraction-free time to work. You don’t have to keep a strict eight-hour daily schedule as long as you’re meeting your daily goals. Reward yourself with some me-time or family chat whenever you finish your tasks efficiently.

Avoid working beyond your set hours if you can to prevent burnout.

 

5. Talk to Your Family about Task-Splitting

 

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced American adults to spend more time teaching their kids at home. This adds to their non-work-related tasks and can reduce their efficiency if not managed well.

If you have other adults or older children to help you, you can negotiate to split your errands with them. Talk to your partner about adopting staggered work periods and sharing the young children’s online schooling hours with you. Give your older children light responsibilities like taking out the trash, minding the pets and tidying up rooms. Reward them by buying them a new video game, clothing item, food, etc.

On the other hand, if you’re a single parent and a home business owner at the same time, you can break your day into time blocks split between your kids and work. Determine which chores can be saved for later, when your workday is over. Avoid procrastinating when you’ve put something on your calendar, as it can also take you out of your routine and make you less productive.

Task-Splitting Among Family Members

6. Stay Away from Social Media and TV While You Work

 

A few seconds here and there of reading friends’ messages or looking at viral posts can pile up over time. Older generations managed to do well without social media. Unless your business is rooted in this FOMO-inducing technology, you can certainly do the same.

One approach is to restrict downloading social media apps to just one gadget, put it on silent mode and keep it out of your sight while you work. Get a separate phone or gadget for important business calls.

TV can also divert your attention from work. The best solution is to keep it out of your workspace.

 

7. Use the Phone or Video-Messaging Apps to Explain Complex Ideas

 

There are things that you will need to explain in person because texting can get the message lost in translation or will just be more time-consuming. For such tasks, it is better to use the phone, use a video chat app or send a video message to the recipient. However, before you make a call, give a heads-up text to the other party first, out of courtesy and to let them prepare before the conversation.

 

8. Get Used to the Results-Only Working Environment

 

The WFH setup allows you to be more flexible with your time, but it can also make you complacent if you are not careful. If you think you might miss deadlines when you delegate tasks to your employees, you can create a results-only working environment (ROWE) at your establishment.

With ROWE, you don’t have to track your staff’s hours, but you can give them reasonable deadlines. Use project management apps like Trello to avoid making them feel like you’re micromanaging their work. By adopting this system, you allow your crew to adjust to your timeline and come up with their own efficiency hacks.

 

9. Take Short Breaks

 

Working nonstop for hours can cause a decline in your performance over time. To avoid this, you can take a 10-15-minute break every two hours to let yourself recharge a bit. Do some stretching or go for a walk. Rest your eyes and mind. Taking short breaks will replenish your energy and pump you up for the next task.

Additionally, take mealtimes seriously. Use it to schedule a little family catch-up chat so you know if anyone needs help resolving a crisis.

 

10. Stay Organized

 

In our blog, Organizing the Office by Effectively Using Labels, we mentioned that office organization could enhance one’s productivity. It can certainly help busy small business owners like you.

Label the folders and shelves where you keep your supplies. After work, tuck your things away in these containers.

Keep all packaging supplies and shipping labels in one place. Designate an area close to the door as the mail station.

Keep cords neat, labeled and safely stowed in an area where they cannot trip anyone or cause a fire.

An organized office complements an organized work schedule well.

office organization for work from home arrangement

With our expert-recommended tips here, you can run your business like the world’s top commercial leaders even while you adjust to a WFH setting.

Conclusion

WFH has become normal for many small business owners today, owing to the Coronavirus pandemic and emerging technological advancements. Most people view it as beneficial for several reasons. However, it also has its own challenges, particularly to one’s productivity, because of the lack of temporal and spatial structures that conventional office environments provide.

Here, we presented a guide that can help small business owners work efficiently from home. You can take advantage of it so you can continue to run your business like clockwork despite the most demanding circumstances.

 

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