How to Stay Motivated When Working from Home

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 22 Jun 2021

How to Stay Motivated When WorkingWith the boundaries between work and home being more blurred than ever before, it can be difficult staying motivated whilst working at home – a place you’re used to relaxing in.

In this article, we outline some simple ways of staying motivated whilst working at home, whether remote working is something you’re new to, or is something you’ve been struggling with…

Create a Space That’s Just for Work

If you can, create a workspace in your home that you don’t use for anything else. Having a dedicated space for work will help you set boundaries between your work life and your home life, hopefully making it easier to stay focused whilst working, and relaxed when you aren’t. Find a space that’s free of distractions and clutter and take your breaks away from that space.

Make Yourself Comfortable

Make your workspace as comfortable as you can to help keep you focused whilst you work. Take a look at these steps laid out by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors for advice on how to create the right working environment, and remember to communicate with your employers if this isn’t something you can easily achieve without some support.

Get Dressed for the Day

Although it’s tempting to just wear loungewear or pyjamas all day whilst working at home, this is more likely to relax you to the point of being unproductive, rather than motivate you to do your work. You don’t need to be wearing shirts and blazers at your desk, but do make an effort to get up and dressed every morning just as you would if you were leaving the house.

Structure Your Days

To help you keep on top of your work, take the time each morning to plan out your day. Make a list of your prioritised tasks and break your working day down into smaller chunks to make your workload more manageable. Try to start your day either with the most complex tasks or the tasks you like the least to get them out of the way when your concentration levels are at their highest.

However you decide to break up your day, remember to give yourself time for regular breaks, and to be realistic about how much you can achieve within your working day. Having structure to your day will also help you fight procrastination, as having set amounts of time to get tasks completed by should keep you on track.

Set Boundaries

According to the ONS, in 2020, people who worked from home did an average of 6 hours of unpaid overtime every week, compared with people who didn’t who worked 3.6. When your laptop is at your dining table or in the room next door, it’s tempting to quickly login and check your emails in the evening after your workday has actually ended, but this isn’t always healthy and can quickly lead to burnout.

Although overtime is sometimes necessary, set yourself strict boundaries when it comes to doing extra work, and make sure that your home life isn’t becoming too all-consumed by work.

Keep a Work Diary

Remind yourself how much you achieve on a day-to-day basis by keeping a work diary that you can look back on. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to write down what you achieved, and any thoughts on what helped you achieve it. If you’re struggling to complete a task later down the line, you can look back on this and see what worked well for you before, and try to replicate this to get through your new tasks.

Take Breaks

Don’t feel guilty about taking regular breaks, as they can improve concentration, productivity, and your overall health. Take short, regular breaks throughout your working day to have some time away from your screen to refocus. Try not to spend your breaks scrolling through your phone, and instead do something different such as stepping outside to get some fresh air, reading a chapter of a book, or doing a household chore.

Get Outside

Spending all day inside won’t be good for your mental health and won’t keep you motivated. Try to get outside at least once a day, perhaps before work to help get you in the zone, or after work to help you switch off. If you usually do a 20-minute commute to work, try going for a 20-minute walk in place of this to keep you in your work routine.

Check in With Your Colleagues

Remember to check in with your colleagues on a personal level as well as a professional. If you haven’t already got a weekly catch-up meeting scheduled, then suggest setting one up to keep in touch. This is especially important if you’ve got new starters on your team, as they’ll need the chance to get to know you too.

Give Yourself Something to Look Forward to

Try to give yourself something to look forward to once you finish work. Depending on what you do in your spare time, this could be anything from cooking yourself a special meal to going to spend time with your friends and family. Whatever it is, use it to motivate you to get through your work on time.

Find What Works Best for You…

Employers have been forced to put their trust in employees to work efficiently from home, so it’s important to keep an open line of communication with your managers to make sure you’ve got access to the resources you need to help you stay productive and motivated in your work. Be honest about what is and isn’t working for you, and be proactive in making your new workspace work for you.

When it comes to adjusting to remote working, you won’t find the winning formula straight away. It might take a week or two of working in different spaces to find where you’re the most focused, or a few weeks of planning your days out differently to see which schedules work the best, but you’ll soon find what works best for you.

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