If you’re one of the many millions of British workers who’ve been forced to work from home in 2020, then you might have found yourself having to contend with a few extra challenges. Among the most pressing of these is the presence of distractions. In a professional environment, these things are deliberately excluded in order to enhance focus. If you’re to get the maximum productivity from your home working adventures, then you’ll need to take a similar approach.
So what are the most common and egregious kinds of distraction, and what can be done to mitigate them? The answer can be gleaned from research recently carried out by instantprint, a Rotherham-based printing company specialising in booklets.
They surveyed 2,000 workers from across the country, asking a range of questions about the home-working experience. When it came to distractions, five stand out.
28% of those polled reported having been distracted by their children while trying to work. When you consider that not everyone polled actually has children, this figure is likely to be an understatement. Moreover, some children are less distracting than others. If you have a two-year-old in the house, then you might find distraction is almost inevitable.
Manage children by setting up strict boundaries around your workspace, and keeping the rules and routine consistent.
Partners are similarly distracting, at 24%. Again, it’s a good idea to establish house rules for working hours. In the case of your significant other, these rules can be a little more nuanced and sophisticated. You might forbid shouting, interruptions, or the playing of loud metal music in the middle of the day, for example.
20% of respondents claimed to have been distracted by a household pet. Here’s where reason tends to fall down, and you have to be a little cleverer. Take the dog for a walk before you get started – this will lower their energy levels and prevent them from interrupting you. Cats might be distracted with a scratching post or toy – but it’s often a better idea to build your schedule around what they’d like to do.
13% of us have found ourselves cooking when we should really be working. This might be taken as a sign that we didn’t devote enough time to cookery when we were in the office. That being the case, it’s time to get a little more methodical when it comes to your culinary exploits. Set aside time to cook in batches so dinner is ready-prepared for when you finish work for the day.
Finally, 17% claimed to have watched a series on Netflix when they really should have been working. This may be a consequence of being too close to temptation – 44% of those polled reported working in a living room (compared with 17% in a home-office). Get your working environment sorted and free from distraction, and you’ll be far less likely to catch up on Cobra Kai when you should be filling in spreadsheets.