Before the coronavirus pandemic, the concept of work from home was restricted to freelancers and self-employed professionals in certain industries.
Fast forward to 2021 — almost every industry is adopting remote work, or at least a hybrid approach involving working at home sometimes, and working in the office other times.
In the early days of the pandemic last year, it was a big challenge for most organizations to adopt the remote work approach. Many were reluctant, even in the face of stay-at-home orders and public health and safety guidelines. It was particularly tough for many local government workers who never imagined that a day would come when they would be asked to work from home.
From what we've seen so far, working from home is not going anywhere, anytime soon. We have yet to truly defeat COVID-19, and most people are getting used to remote work. Experts also predict that working from home will continue to be the norm. Therefore, workers at the local government and municipality levels must start getting used to the new normal.
The Many Benefits of Working from Home
Most organizations adopted telecommuting because it was deemed necessary last year. However, it didn't take too long for employers and employees to realize that the approach is beneficial in many ways.
For employers, the benefits include reduced costs for running the organization. This applies to local governments too. Working from home brings flexibility, making life easier for local government administrators and reducing the cost of running cities and towns.
For local government employees, the benefits of telecommuting are many. For a start, it improves work-life balance. The flexibility that municipal and town workers enjoy while telecommuting also helps to boost their productivity when they work from home. They don't have to drive to and from work each day, meaning they can save time, energy, and money.
All the benefits above and more can be truly enjoyed by local government employees when they optimize their work-from-home experience. The following tips will help you improve your outcomes as you work from home.
10 Essential Work from Home Tips That Will Make 2021 a More Productive Year
In 2020, many local government workers struggled to adjust to the demands of working from home. The most important thing for people then was how to set up a home office. Now, the emphasis has shifted to how to optimize the work from home experience. Here are ten tips that will make your work-from-home experience awesome and more productive:
1. Modify Your Home Office to Suit Your Needs
You must have learned a lot about working at home since the pandemic began. Chances are you've got yourself a nice workspace. If this is not the case, then it is time to create the right home office. Choose the right spot in your home and modify it to your taste.
Even if your home office is already looking great, there is always room for improvement. Check to see if there is anything else you can do to make it more comfortable and supportive.
2. Get Everything You Need To Work Comfortably From Home
If it has become obvious that you’ll work from home for the foreseeable future, then you’ll need to bring your home office up to standard. If you haven't done that already, it is time to obtain everything you need to work effectively from home, either by asking your employer or getting it yourself.
In addition to all the necessary hardware for your job, identify the software that will make your work easier and request it. You should also find ways to improve your internet connection if it is not great.
3. Maintain a Morning and Evening Routine
Spending so many hours at home can be boring and affect your attitude toward work. One of the best ways to handle the problem is to have a consistent morning and evening routine. Being consistent will help you to ease into working hours and stop working just at the right time.
Your morning and evening routine should be in line with your health and wellness goals. Your routines can include activities, meals, and anything else that helps you stay healthy and in the right frame of mind to work.
4. Get Ready For Your Work Day
Working from home doesn’t mean you should be in your pajamas all day. You can do that without question (especially if your day doesn’t include a video call), but it can have a negative effect on your productivity.
Many people who are just getting into working from home believe that they perform better when they dress up for the workday. Dressing up prepares you mentally for work and can help keep you at your desk during working hours.
5. Shut the Door to Establish Privacy
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the issue of distraction from housemates and kids. Even if you are limited by available space in your home, you need to establish privacy in your workplace. One of the best ways to do this is to shut the door when you are working.
When you close the door to your home office, you spell out to household members that you are working and not ready to be disturbed. Shutting the door also creates a barrier between you and other types of distractions in your home.
6. Maintain Consistent Working Hours
You probably have a specific number of hours you work each day as a local government or municipal worker. While working from home, it can be tempting to work at any time of the day, as long as you complete your weekly hours. There is a problem with this approach – it makes you inconsistent and less productive.
To boost your productivity and job satisfaction, plan your working hours and maintain them as if you still work in an office setting.
7. Set Realistic Expectations
One of the best ways to keep yourself accountable while working from home is to schedule your tasks and work with specific goals in mind. Using a to-do list to stay organized and track your progress can be helpful.
While setting your goals and scheduling tasks for your days, make sure they are realistic. It is always better to achieve more than to fall short of your expectations. Keep this in mind, too, if you are in charge of a team.
8. Stay Connected To Your Coworkers
Communication is critical in a local government work environment. Now that you are working remotely, it is even more crucial to stay in touch with your coworkers. You should have a communication system that allows every team member to inquire about anything, and get the correct answer as quickly as possible.
Efficient communication helps you to maintain effective workflow. It can also boost your morale and team spirit.
9. Take a Few Breaks
In a formal office setting, it is normal to yearn for breaks. Note that you may not feel the need to take breaks when working from home, but sitting at a desk all day is bad for your health.
As much as possible, take breaks to let your body and mind relax. You can take a short walk between tasks, go for a snack, or do anything else that works for you.
10. Take Care of Yourself
Taking breaks is never enough – you have to take care of yourself to remain healthy and fit in order to do your job. Identify habits that will help you maintain your health and vitality.
Exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep are some effective ways to take good care of yourself. When your body is in great shape, your mental health will also improve.