Today, the working from home (WFM) paradigm is undoubtedly here to stay. WFM became the new normal the moment COVID-19 entered our lives, and many independent agents in the insurance industry have since discovered its virtues.
If you want to stay productive when you work from home long-term, you need to make sure that your home office works for you, not against you. That way, it’s comfortable, efficient, and boosts productivity. If you don’t know where to begin, here’s what you need to know.
Adjusting to the Work from Home New Normal
WFH is undoubtedly here to stay, and it does bring with it some advantages. You get to skip commuting, for one. For another, it gives you the ability to cultivate your perfect workspace. Plus, if you’re a bit under the weather, you don’t necessarily have to take a day off. Instead, you can curl up in some comfy clothes and tackle what you can, keeping productivity high.
Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks. Being at home all day can get boring, and may even lead to some burnout. But if you take the right steps, you can stave that off and remain productive day in and day out. Here are 8 tips that will allow you to stay productive while working from home.
1. Have a Designated Home Office Space To Work In
While working from your dining room table may have worked for independent agents at the beginning of the pandemic, it’s not a good long-term solution. Not only is that setup not built to support great ergonomics, but it allows your work life to bleed into your personal one.
Instead, designate a space for working from home. This could be an entire room, a desk in an alcove, or anything else that lets you separate work from personal time.
2. Invest in a Great “Chair” For Your Office
An uncomfortable chair can sap your energy and leave you distracted. Ideally, you want to choose a chair that supports your body well and promotes good posture.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use alternatives to traditional chairs. Some people do well on exercise balls, for example. Figure out what positions work best for you, and find an option that fits your workspace and style.
3. Reduce Neck and Back Pain
While working on a laptop occasionally is fine, the screen and keyboard positions aren’t great for your neck. Luckily, this is a pretty easy issue to solve. You can either create your own DIY stand, invest in a laptop stand, or add a monitor with a separate keyboard and mouse. That way, you can position your screen at the right height.
4. Try an Adjustable Standing Desk
If you can invest in a new desk or enjoy small DIY projects consider switching to an adjustable height desk. Adjustable standing desks give you a chance to stretch your body when the need arises and reduces the chances that you’ll spend all day sitting. Just make sure to grab a mat as well so that you can keep your feet and back comfortable.
5. Keep a Set Schedule and Follow It
When your home office is only a few steps away at all times, it’s easy to let work creep into your personal time. This can increase your odds of burnout, mainly because you feel like you are “always-on.”
If you want to stay productive and reduce burnout, follow a set schedule. Define your work hours, schedule breaks, and lunch into your calendar, and completely disconnect when the workday is done.
6. Have a Video Call Space
As an independent agent, when you have a video call, you need privacy, quiet, and a distraction-free space, preferably with a solid background. This will help you not just look your best but sound your best as well. Find an area in your home where you can make this happen. Ideally, it will be part of your home office. However, if you live in a smaller home, you may need to carve out a nook for these calls.
7. Have Water and Healthy Snacks Nearby
Hunger, thirst, and dehydration can all cause your productivity to tumble. Make sure it doesn’t happen to you by keeping water and a healthy snack accessible (thank you Costco). A nice water bottle and a stash of almonds in a desk drawer could do the trick. That way, when you feel hunger or thirst creeping in, you can handle it.
8. Tap into Nature
Being close to nature can keep your mood up and help you stay productive. Try to place your work desk near a window so that you can use natural light. Bring some houseplants into your space for a touch of greenery. Not only will this make your workspace more pleasant, but it can reduce your stress levels, too.
Bonus Tip: Dress for Success
While you have the option of working in your pajamas, if you find your productivity dipping, switch things up. If you dress like a professional, your mindset will shift. It could be just the boost you need.
Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?
WFH is part of the new normal, including for insurance agencies and independent agents. Take advantage of what the arrangement offers, ensuring you can stay productive long-term.
If you’d like more tips about to thrive as an independent agent, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.