Boosting productivity whilst working from home

Even as we continue the slow exit from the third national lockdown, as part of the government’s four-step roadmap, many people are still working from home full-time and may wish to continue doing so on a part-time basis in the future.

Here at Century 21, we offer a number of different models to provide property agents and entrepreneurs with the widest possible choices and freedoms to run their agency how they want, and for many that will include some time at home.

While we’ve also got used to working from home in this past year, juggling Zoom and Teams calls with home schooling (before the kids went back to school) and remembering to take regular breaks from the screen, it can be easy to fall into bad habits.

With nearly all agents doing some work from home, it’s important that good processes, structures, barriers and protocols are put in place to keep everyone as productive as possible.

Below, we outline some top tips to ensure you get the most of working remotely.

Take regular breaks throughout the day

It can be much easier to remain sat at your desk, staring at a screen, for eight hours a day, without the distractions of tea rounds or lunches out with colleagues. But this is neither healthy nor productive.

The natural rhythms of a typical day in the office – typically punctuated by meetings, tea breaks and work lunches – can be harder to replicate at home. However, it’s crucial for your physical and mental wellbeing to step away from your desk, give your eyes a break and get your muscles moving.

It’s wise to take a five or ten-minute break every couple of hours, whether that’s to make a drink or grab a snack, or to put a load of washing on. Anything to give your eyes a rest, your brain a moment to breathe, and allow you to return to work fully recharged and refreshed.

Don’t be a stranger

For all of the upsides of working from home – no morning or evening commute, the ability to control the temperature of your workspace to fit your own needs, more time spent with family/to do life admin – it can lead to loneliness, especially for those who are more outgoing by nature and thrive off face-to-face interaction.

It’s important for teams and branches to keep in contact regularly, whether by Zoom or Teams, or a WhatsApp/Facebook group. Keep things light-hearted and informal to give yourself that little social element, like you would in any office or branch.

Doing something charitable can also be a great way to bring team members together for a shared cause. It might be a charity bikeathon, bakeathon or walkathon, or something like donating to the local food bank or hospital.

Don’t veer from your regular day

It can be harder, when working from home, to keep work and home life separate. The lines are more blurred than they would be in the office, when you clock in and out at a certain time. As such, it’s important to stick to your normal schedule as much as possible.

It might be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day and start the day off working in bed, but it’s far better to stick to your normal routine and treat it like a day in the office. Get up, get dressed, brush your teeth, have a shower and eat breakfast, so you’re ready for the day ahead.

Try to start and finish at the same time each day. Working at home gives you more flexibility with what hours you work, but if you don’t have a structure you could end up checking that last email late into the night or starting work too early.

Have limits and barriers in place to ensure you don’t overwork, which will only lead to exhaustion and burnout, which is of use to no-one.

Click here to find out more about our three new models, Century 21 Solo, Flex and Max. The above advice is likely to be particularly relevant to those exploring the Solo franchisee model, where self-employed agents have a complete remote working set-up, but with all the back office support and systems you need from day one.

The pandemic is likely to change working patterns for good, so it’s important that agency moves with the times and offers workable solutions for those who prefer to work from home – whether that’s full-time, part-time or somewhere in between.