• Many of us will be working from home for a while to come as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
  • We asked our social media followers for tips to help us all stay focused – and boost our well-being.

If you're reading this when you should be working, you're not alone in seeking out distractions.

More than 85% of 2,000 UK employees surveyed by The HR Director publication admitted engaging in non-work-related activities while working from home in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housework came top, followed by checking social media, online shopping, cooking and watching TV – while 1 in 5 people even admitted to sleeping on the job.

Working from home is here to stay for many of us, so we asked our social media followers for some top tips on navigating the pitfalls and ensuring we stay focused, productive and happy.

Here's what you said:

1. Keep your workspace free of distractions

Every time you stop working on a task to check your phone or social media, it takes 1,395 seconds (23+ minutes) on average to regain your focus, according to research.

Keep your workspace clutter-free – and maybe put your phone out of reach.

2. Take regular breaks to avoid burnout

For those using computers, taking at least five minutes every hour to look at something other than a screen, change posture or do some stretching is recommended by the UK's Health and Safety Executive.

Jobs

What is the World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit?

The World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit brings together leaders from business, government, civil society, media and the broader public to shape a new agenda for growth, jobs, skills and equity.

The four-day virtual event, being held on 20-23 October 2020, comes as the world seeks a way out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus crisis has further disrupted the world of work after years of growing income inequality, concerns about tech-driven job displacement, and rising societal discord.

The Summit will develop new frameworks, shape innovative solutions and accelerate action on four thematic pillars: Economic Growth, Revival and Transformation; Work, Wages and Job Creation; Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning; and Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice.

3. Have a routine that balances work, exercise, social time and chores

US workers surveyed in August spent more than a third of the time they save on commuting doing more work.

But most of the time savings were devoted to leisure activities, home improvement and childcare. The key is in getting the balance right.

How are Americans allocating the time they're saving by not commuting?
A third of the time saved on the commute is used to work longer hours.
Image: Vox EU

4. Set clear boundaries between family and work time

This means being more mentally and emotionally present for their families.

5. Listen to music

The jury's out on whether it can boost productivity, but listening to music can definitely help your mood and might get you through those more repetitive tasks.

This two-hour Piano Music for Studying, Concentrating and Focusing Playlist has had almost 24 million views on YouTube, if you want to give it try.

6. Spend time in nature

Nature’s capacity to relieve stress is well known – but did you know it also improves cognitive performance?

If you can’t get outdoors, having plants in the home reduces stress and boosts productivity.

7. Maintain your social connections

The Zoom quiz craze might be over – but you can still keep up through group chats, lunches or even workouts.

Studies show that strong social relationships boost our physical and mental health, and can even lower our mortality risk.

8. Remain calm and present using yoga or meditation

Companies including Google have found that mindfulness at work can reduce stress, while improving focus, decision-making abilities and general well-being.

Taking time out of your day to meditate or do yoga can help you manage your time and stress levels better.