5 Tips to Increase Work-from-Home Productivity
What once seemed like a small hiccup in our daily lives now seems to be our new normal... working from home! And, as you know, it’s not just us adults. Our kids are at home doing virtual school for the remainder of the school year. If your home is anything like mine, it's a place that can be full of distractions (for kids and adults alike). It's full of overlooked chores waiting to be completed, children who need snacks, and a couch that is calling our names! Over the last few weeks, we have managed to set up a system in our home that has majorly increased our overall productivity. So, today, I am sharing 5 tips to help increase YOUR work from home productivity!
1. Create a defined workspace for each member of the family
This first tip will look different for all of us. Creating defined workspaces for your family will depend a lot on your home set-up and the ages of your kids. Before you create spaces, you will need to determine whether your kids will be able to work independently and alone in a room or if they will need more parental guidance. Both of my kids are at the age where they are able to guide themselves through their school work with little help from us, so we were able to create spaces for all four of us that were completely separated.
I already have an office space in our home set up, so I did't need to do any adjusting to create a productive work environment for myself. But, we had to get creative to find spaces for my husband and kids to feel productive! We set up desks for each of our kids in their bedrooms and created a space for my husband in the guest room.
In our family, we all function best with few noise distractions (and three of the four of us are VERY loud talkers). Since my kids are self-sufficient and don’t need our constant eyes on them, this set up works for us!
2. Set up functional (and pretty) systems for paperwork
Since I have been working from home for years, I have already implemented tried-and-true systems in my office to control paperwork! We wanted to implement a similar system for my husband, though. We only needed a handful of products to make it happen. We started with these Poppin Stackable Letter Trays and created an inbox for his pending items. We also decided to add these Poppin Medium Accessory Trays to keep the drawers neat and the supplies in place. The larger tray holds notecards while the smaller tray is perfect for pens.
My kids each have a lot of paperwork (I’m sure yours do too!) so I created a bin to house all of the papers for each of their school subjects. This helps to prevent a pile-up of paper on their desks and the inevitable lost assignment! In my daughter's room, we used these Multi-Purpose Bins. Because my daughter is younger, having bins that she can easily see through and find what she is looking for is key.
For my son’s space, the Dark Grey Poppin Hanging File Boxes worked better. For both kids' storage bins, we added labels for each subject so they can easily find what they are looking for. If you don't have a label maker, you can make some using paper and markers. If you're on the search for the perfect storage bins, The Container Store has hundreds of organization products to help maximize your home office space. I encourage you to find what works best for you and your space!
3. Implement a communication system
We set up a rule in our home where if my husband or I are on calls and cannot be disturbed, we close our office doors. When we started working from home, we set up clear boundaries like this so our kids would know exactly what was expected of them! They know that if our doors are open, we're available to them if they need to talk to us. Our kids are old enough that they can function a lot of the workday without needing our help, so this works for us!
My husband and I have a joint electronic calendar (we use Apple Calendar — Google Calendar works too!) where we input meetings, calls, and important dates. It helps us stay on the same page and, if we can, we try not to schedule meetings at the same time. Keeping this type of joint schedule has increased our work-from-home productivity and allows at least one of us to be available to our kids if they need us throughout the day.
4. Design a schedule and make it visible
We are very lucky that our school has supplied us with a very robust virtual learning system. But, like in most households, our kids still have a bit of downtime during our workday that needs to be filled. Our family thrives on structure, so I created a schedule that has helped bring that much-needed structure into our days. Each member of the family has a laminated version of the schedule posted in their workspace so my kids know exactly what they should be working on at any given time. You can learn more about our daily schedule and download my Free Home School Schedule Template here!
5. Minimize distractions
At the beginning of all of this, we made an effort to clear out all of the clutter in the kids' rooms so that they could have workspaces that are conducive to productive learning. Of course, their rooms do still have toys, but rather than storing toys in their desk area, we have chosen to incorporate fun school supplies like the Poppin Sticky Memo Ball.
We’ve also incorporated “fidgets” for each of our kids’ workspaces. For my daughter, it is a squishy toy that she can squeeze while she is logged in and working on her school work. For my son, we have a Sensory Pad for under his feet. These simple tricks have helped keep them both super focused during the workday!
Adding accessories like the matching Clear & Gold Acrylic Tape Dispenser and Acrylic Stapler, and this White Poppin Pencil Cup can make a boring desk set-up feel a whole lot more fun! My daughter promptly stole these pretty Poppin Assorted Signature Ballpoint Pens for her own desk. It was fine with me... anything to make her feel like school is more fun!
Like most of us, I am looking forward to when everything returns to normal. While I am doing my best to relish the fact that we are slowing down and getting more quality time together, I am also being proactive about our overall well-being by keeping us on track with routines. Our family thrives on a schedule and since we don’t know how long this new normal will last, I’m trying to set us up for success the best way I know how. I hope some of these tips help create a more productive working environment in your home!
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I am a proud Container Store Ambassador and these products were gifted to me from the Container Store. The links provided are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you order through them. All opinions expressed are my own. I only share products that I genuinely use and love.