For some, the allure of the couch is too much to handle.
Whether you’re running a home business or remote working as an employee, the distractions can be all too real. This was true for upwards of 40% of all employees who worked from home in April 2020 and remains well above the usual 10% or so during normal times. 
If you find yourself working from home but are not disciplined enough or haven’t proactively reduced distractions, your day could quickly be lost to delays and interruptions.
Here are some of the top distractions and how you can help minimize them:
FAMILY / KIDS
This one is probably the most obvious. We’ve all seen the viral videos and memes about trying to work at home with young ones nearby (you haven’t? This one is worth a watch – https://youtu.be/Mh4f9AYRCZY) Whether the distraction is caused by you want to go spend time with them in the other room or by them never leaving you alone, the impact is the same.
HOW TO HANDLE IT?
Boundaries! It’s not easy for young kids to grasp the idea that a parent is off-limits during some hours or when they’re in a certain spot, but with enough time and gentle (but consistent) reinforcement, they will start to understand. It can be hard but it’s worth it for everyone. Kids would rather wait a while to get you with open arms than not wait and be constantly shooed away.
Out of sight out of mind is true, but what about insight in mind? Not as catchy but just as accurate. When we’re home more we see what needs to be done around the house. Areas that need cleaning, renovations that need planning, stuff that needs to be bought etc., If we’re not careful it’s easy to lose a chunk of our day to other things not related to our job.
HOW TO HANDLE IT?
Designate time specifically for home duties. Let’s face it, you’re likely not going to be able to ignore and avoid it completely so why not use it to your advantage? Take a mid-morning break to wash some dishes, check the mail before starting your lunch, tidy up while on a hands-free phone call. If done right you can get plenty done around the house without losing a minute of quality work time and you may suddenly have more free time after work to enjoy yourself and your family.
BIG COMFY COUCH (no not the classic children’s TV show, although…)
The same reason why some find it difficult to exercise from home is what makes it tough to work from home. When you know your favourite spot to veg out is just a few steps away how can you focus on spreadsheets and task lists? Even the most disciplined of us sometimes find ourselves extending lunch a little.
HOW TO HANDLE IT
The best solution here is probably practising discipline (it’s a skill like any other than can be improved) but there are a couple of tricks to help.
- Invest in a comfortable office chair.
This is not only good for your physical health but it also makes other comfortable spots in the house less enticing. Standing desks can have huge benefits too!
- Lean into it.
Who says you can’t get work done from the couch? You can return phone calls, sketch out an idea or even, say… write an article about working from home? 😉
UNSUPERVISED INTERNETING (yes it’s a word!)
Oh, what a time thief the internet can be, especially when we have unfettered access and an unlimited bandwidth package! YouTube, social media, online games etc., can all become major productivity killers. In the office, we are held accountable since others can see what we’re doing (or not doing) but at home, we have fewer barriers to these time sucks.
HOW TO HANDLE IT?
Block yourself. Social media is designed to be addicting. Not only to keep you coming back but also to keep you longer once you’re there. Remove the temptation while at your work station by blocking those distracting sites.
Another big move, if realistic for your work, is to put the phone away while working. At least turn-off alerts and faces it down. Out of sight out of mind remember? Wait until lunch, a break or after work to return personal texts and scroll through Twitter.
Some of us have learned how efficient we can be without commutes and office distractions getting in the way. However if we’re not aware of the distractions related to working from home and how to minimize them, we could easily see those benefits slip away.
We may never go back to 10% of people working from home like we were before. While technology and standards (both company-wide and individually) have rapidly evolved over this past year, working from home has become more common and is likely something we will take with us into the ‘new normal.
SOURCES Meredith MacLeod, 2020 – Is the great shift to working from home here to stay?
Please contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.