As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, more and more employees are given the flexibility of working from home. Others telecommute a few days per week. Working in a home office offers perks as well as distractions. Here’s how to improve productivity at the home office.
Perks of Working from Home
Work environments have dramatically shifted amidst the coronavirus era—some permanently. Staff now communicate, connect, and produce via a hybrid model. A small number of employees welcome this change, while most long for the social interactions found next to the water cooler.
Once commuters who currently work from home have gained an extra hour to dedicate to the workday, and many work-related tasks can be accomplished at home without losing quality or productivity. Still, distractions in a home office can detract from an employee’s concentration.
Common distractions include children, a spouse, and neighbors. Those who work from home may find themselves diverted by pets who need care or laundry that must be done. Loved ones do not always grasp that non-emergency disruptions are not permissible in a virtual office.
Although working in a home office provides an employee with flexibility, a negligible commute to the home office and the comfort of working in pajamas, remaining productive demands attention, focus and a few proven tactics, like the ones that follow.
6 Tips to Improve Productivity when Working from Home
1. Design a Functional Space
A home office does not require a grand oak desk and a view of a calming pond in order to be functional. However, design does have an impact on productivity. The first task is to find a quiet space in the home in which to focus attention on work projects.
Select a room with windows. Natural light improves the work environment, boosting mood and overall wellbeing. An employee whose wellbeing is fulfilled tends to be more engaged and performs better. Plus, daylight reduces eyestrain, headaches, and drowsiness. Add plants for an optimal workspace.
2. Create a Schedule
Devices constantly send notifications; the neighbors call, and dishes pile up in the sink. While certain distractions require attention, it is important to prioritize responsibilities when working from a home office. One way to achieve this is to create a schedule for daily tasks.
Define blocks of time in which to check in with a manager and socialize with colleagues. In a virtual office, casual chats with coworkers are missing, making it important to be intentional about making up for the loss. Also schedule times to call loved ones and walk the dog.
An ideal work-from-home schedule starts at the same time each day. Rather than be tempted to do yardwork, stick to a pre-determined schedule—similar to working in the office. Without a familiar work schedule, sleeping in or performing housework diminishes productivity.
3. Turn Off Devices
An important part of staying focused is turning off devices. Social media notifications and online ads constantly appear. Work-related stress can cause an employee to distract himself by responding to devices. Instead, resist the urge and remain disciplined in order to stay productive.
4. Hang Do Not Disturb Signs
Especially in a household full of children, an employee working from home must establish clear boundaries. Visual cues that indicate availability are useful. Hang a sign on the office door that lets housemates know available times as well as specific time frames to not interrupt.
5. Schedule Breaks
Breaks from work activities offer relief and encourage improved engagement upon return to tasks. Keep items, like apps, books, or exercise equipment, within reach. However, ensure these favorites are stored out of sight so as not to be drawn to them during working hours.
Exercise equipment, including a treadmill or resistance bands, kept in the home office will facilitate short breaks. Bursts of physical activity re-energizes employees mentally and physically and helps them return to work activities with renewed focus. Exercise also reduces stress levels.
Brief blocks of physical activity during work hours boosts work performance, enhances creativity, allows employees to learn quicker, sharpens memory and improves concentration. Employees who schedule exercise into their workday also manage their time better and experience greater work satisfaction.
6. Prepare Meals in Advance
Balanced meals enhance cognitive performance, supplying an individual with the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to function throughout the workday. But meals and snacks can be distracting when attempting to figure out what to eat, how to prepare it and when.
Instead of unintentionally losing time during the workday to figure out what to eat, prepare meals and snacks in advance. Graze on foods, like almonds, protein bars and fruits, throughout the day to prevent a drop in blood sugar, and, consequently, a reduction in work performance.
Optimum work performance is readily achieved in part by consuming nutrients that foster the production of dopamine, which plays a key role in motivation and engagement. Healthy foods are beneficial for not only the physical body but the creative mind.
Once the current health crisis ends, employees will have the option to return to the office. Some staff will jump at the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues. When they return, however, the physical office may need to be redesigned to accommodate new coronavirus health safety guidelines.
Work with an Office Mover
Chicago Office Movers is prepared to provide the moving services for office renovation and remodeling to facilitate an upcoming project. Prior to the office renovation, our moving crews will carefully relocate furniture and equipment. We pack and label boxes and disassemble appliances and equipment.
Once the office renovation or update is complete, the moving crews at Chicago Office Movers will set up the new equipment and reinstall appliances. We also provide unpacking services. Our goal is to ensure your office space is ready for your employees as quickly and affordably as possible.
Whether your company is considering an office renovation, remodeling, or relocation, choose Chicago Office Movers for your moving needs. Our reputable moving company serves Chicagoland businesses with dedication, and countless satisfied customers can attest to our professionalism.
Call us at 312-244-2246 for a free estimate.
Relocating a business involves risk, and, therefore, several months of planning, negotiating with landlords and ensuring the transition causes the least disruption to operations. While small businesses can relocate sooner, large and average-sized offices can expect the following moving timetable.
An average office move can take up to 12 months, however, most office moves handled by Chicago Office Movers usually take between 5 and 9 months
1. Look for a New Space 12 Months in Advance
Business owners who anticipate relocating should begin planning at least 12 months in advance. Plans for moving start with looking for a new office space. Finding the right office can take a substantial amount of time, especially when multiple decision-makers are involved in the process.
The current office may no longer suit the needs of the business. Rapidly growing businesses require a larger office space. Downsizing also prompts business owners to search for a new, smaller space. A visit to the prospective location is important to get a sense of what the space affords.
Certain cities will require a larger or smaller budget, which can potentially exclude some locations from the search. Consider location, such as urban or suburban, and public transportation options for employees. Nearby neighborhood amenities also contribute to the quality of employee work life.
When on the hunt for a new office, factor in the lease terms. Short-term leases are attractive for small businesses, especially those that are likely to outgrow an existing space within a short span of time. It is also helpful to explore the community of tenants to determine affability.
2. Seal the Deal with a Landlord 3 to 6 Months in Advance
Once a desirable office space is found, negotiate the lease terms with the landlord. Commercial leases are flexible and typically average three years. Work with a tenant rep broker or a lawyer who can win favorable deals and help a business owner understand complex clauses.
Counteroffer asked base rent, initially offering 10 to 15 percent less than what the landlord asks. Try to negotiate on more than one location at a time, which allows business owners to walk away from at least one negotiation. Be aware that a longer lease term results in a better base rent.
3. Announce the Relocation 2 to 6 Months in Advance
Office staff should be informed of the upcoming move well in advance. Hold a staff meeting and provide each member of the office team with a detailed plan of the move. Ask for input from employees that would help make the relocation smoother and less disruptive to business operations.
If possible, allow a virtual tour of the new office space. Once team members see where they will be working, they will know what to expect and can continue performing without the tension often associated with being unprepared for the future.
Delegate tasks to each employee in preparation for the relocation. Check to see if any office employees require new equipment. An option to retain good employees is to offer a relocation package, which may include transportation expenses, temporary housing and finding a home.
4. Hire a Commercial Mover 4 to 8 Weeks in Advance
A commercial moving company experienced in corporate relocations will be a company’s biggest asset when it comes to facilitating a smooth office move. Research a handful of potential commercial movers, paying careful attention to customer reviews and ratings, affordability, and availability.
Spring and summer are the peak moving seasons, and moving companies are tightly booked. Relocating during the off-peak seasons of autumn and winter is cost effective and gives business owners increased flexibility and scheduling options. Plus, fall and winter’s less congested highways speed up the move.
5. Pack IT Equipment 1 to 3 Weeks in Advance
Once the relocation date is set, hire information technology (IT) professionals to back up all important business data. Experts are necessary to prevent risks, such as the loss of information. Technology can be replaced, but the sensitive business data cannot.
The process for packing and relocating IT equipment, including disconnecting services and shutting down systems, is lengthy and complex. Hire IT technicians if experienced employees are unavailable to disconnect all cables safely and correctly. Photograph wire connections so that reassembly is easier at the new destination.
6. Prepare the New Office Within 1 to 4 Months
Once the commercial mover arrives at the new office destination, it is time to unpack and prepare the new workspace. Depending on the size of the office and the number of personnel, this process can range from one to four months.
All office furniture and equipment will need to be unpacked and reassembled. Professionally set up the IT systems and equipment. Establish all utilities and internet connections. In the event any equipment is damaged during transport, be prepared to start immediate repairs or replace the units.
Work with a Commercial Mover
A corporate relocation is a stressful event but partnering with a commercial mover with experience shifting large and small companies to new destinations eliminates the tension. Chicago Office Movers is a highly rated commercial mover with services that will meet all your business relocation needs.
Crews at Chicago Office Movers are licensed, trained and background-checked to ensure your business goods are handled safely and securely. We have successfully moved fragile IT systems, delicate electronics, antiques, science lab equipment, artwork, heavy office furniture and cubicles.
Chicago Office Movers’ trucks are climate-controlled and feature air-ride suspensions, so that your technology remains protected during transport. With full access to our tracking equipment, business owners have the ability to track the movement of goods during the relocation process.
Follow in the footsteps of prestigious companies, like Alcatel Lucent and Northwestern University, that have utilized our commercial moving services with great satisfaction. Our multiple five-star ratings are a testimony to our commitment to excellence and dedication to serving area businesses.
Get a Free Estimate
Choose Chicago Office Movers for reliable and comprehensive corporate relocation services. We provide budget-friendly moving services, from long- and short-term storage to packing and unpacking.
Whether you plan to move locally, long distance or internationally, contact us for a free estimate at 312-244-2246 or by filling out a contact form.