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  1. 3 Ways to Stay Productive While Working from Home

    The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world works, shops, eats, and spends time with family and friends. We’re spending more time online browsing and shopping, we’re ordering more takeout and delivery to keep our favorite restaurants running, and we’re homeschooling our children even as we work remotely. If you’ve been running your business from your home, the chances are you’ve encountered some distractions and obstacles along the way that challenge your productivity. If this is the case for you, there are a few things you can do that may help boost your productivity and stay on track while working from home.

    1. Limit distractions. 

    As with any work environment, it’s difficult, and maybe even impossible, to completely eliminate all distractions in your home workspace. With the kids home from school, the cat walking all over your laptop, and the dog constantly begging for a walk, it can be difficult to tone out the noise and focus on the task at hand. 

    A good place to start is to simply let household members know that you’ll be working — not just when you receive an important call or have a video meeting. If possible, it may be a good idea to work in a more private area in your home to eliminate distractions as much as possible and create a quiet and peaceful environment for you to get some work done. Of course, this isn’t always possible for everyone. If needed, you could also institute “quiet times” in your home, where you can try to schedule all important calls and meetings within that time frame, with the understanding among your household members being that you’ll need limited distractions during this window of time. 

    2. Stay consistent.

    Being out of your normal work routine and schedule can harm your productivity and throw off your creativity. While working from home, try to keep as much about your daily office routine the same as possible, like keeping 2pm snack breaks or 9am coffee runs part of your daily schedule at home. If you and your employees have pre-scheduled meetings every week or month, be sure to continue these virtually! Remaining consistent will help you stay in “work mode” and separate your home life from your work life. 

    Don’t forget to take breaks! Even though you’re working from home, it’s still important to take a lunch break to recharge your mind to prepare you for the rest of your day. Get takeout or delivery or make your favorite lunch at home, and spend your allotted break time relaxing! If you typically eat lunch in the break room with a regular group of people, try eating lunch together virtually on Google Hangouts or Zoom to keep some of your normal routine a part of your work from home life.

    3. Remain organized.

    When you’re out of your regular work environment with limited supplies, it can be hard to keep up with your previous organization processes. However, it’s important to be sure that you’re maintaining the record-keeping and filing processes that are vital to your business operations. Look into secure online file storage programs, like Google Drive, or create a local drive on your password-protected work computer to store important documents, files, and contracts. If you’d like to continue keeping records on paper, be sure that you have file folders or even specific drawers dedicated to those files, and keep them as secure as you possibly can. If needed and appropriate for your business, you could even add a lock to these drawers to maintain security.

    Apart from securing your files while working from home, make sure you also stay organized with digital calendars, to-do lists, and even project management tools to ensure you’re working as productively as possible. It’s easy to forget to add calls to your calendar, pre-schedule Zoom meetings, or add a quick task to your to-do list. Having these programs up and visible on your computer will remind you to keep a note of it, and will also help you to not forget them if something else more urgent or pressing comes up. Calendars are available natively in many email platforms, like Google and Outlook, and there are multitudes of online to-do list apps available to keep you organized. Find what works best for you and stay consistent!

    Running your business from home can present unusual challenges for startup and small business owners, coupled with the uncertainty that the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic brings to both our nation and our world. It can be difficult to remain as productive as you would in an office environment — however, there are measures you can take to increase your productivity at home, like keeping your schedule consistent, finding a way to make your work area as quiet and private as possible, and keeping your files organized. By developing a work from home strategy that works best for you and your household, you’ll be able to stay as productive and organized as you would in the office!

  2. 3 Ways Utilizing a Coworking and Innovation Space Can Boost Your Productivity

    Have you ever felt like you have so many great ideas for your business, but outside distractions keep getting in the way? Utilizing a coworking space is a great way to combat this problem, with a multitude of resources available to help you get your work done in a quiet, distraction-free environment. With amenities like high-speed internet access and mailing and reception services, the Union River Center for Innovation is here to help your business meet its needs — in a space that works for you! Below are three ways taking advantage of a coworking space can boost your productivity and enhance your creativity:

    1. Focus on Your Work in a Quiet, Distraction-Free Environment

    Innovation spaces give you the opportunity to work in a quiet location that allows you to focus on your work without common workplace distractions like ringing phones, conversation, and visitors. At Union River Center for Innovation, our coworking spaces consist of either private offices, cubicles, or our coworking office suitable for multiple entrepreneurs; offering the right fit for a team of any size. These spaces foster a productive environment to help you focus on what matters most to your business — whether that is making customer calls, answering emails, developing your product, or conducting research. 

    2. Generate New Ideas with the Help of a Collaborative Environment

    The Union River Center for Innovation hosts multiple entrepreneurs through our business incubator program, business affiliate program, and coworking space. As a home to entrepreneurs from a variety of different backgrounds, Union River is a melting pot of creative potential where tenants of our business incubator and affiliate programs can work alongside entrepreneurs utilizing our coworking space to bounce ideas off one another and share their expertise. In addition to simply being a part of an innovative community of entrepreneurs and small business owners, you’ll also be eligible to participate in our brainstorming sessions, where you’ll be able to come up with new ideas with fellow business owners, and even help the other entrepreneurs conceive new ideas. You never know what your fellow entrepreneurs may come up with that could dramatically help you take your business to the next level!

    3. Save Valuable Time with Worry-Free Conference Room Availability

    New business owners often spend a considerable amount of time looking for a professional space to host their important meetings. With conference room usage included at our Innovation Center, you’ll be able to host meetings with potential clients or investors, hold an important job interview, or meet with your team without having to sacrifice your time scheduling meeting spaces. Host your meeting of up to 6 participants without having to worry about the logistics of your business’s meeting space; allowing you more time to focus on your business’s important tasks, like accounting, marketing, or strategy.

    As a small business or startup company owner, productivity is key to the success of your business. Utilizing an innovation and coworking space gives you the freedom to focus on your work without worrying about home or office distractions, generate new ideas with the help of other entrepreneurs at the Center, and host your meetings in the same location. Not only does working in our innovation and coworking space provide you with a distraction-free workspace to enhance your productivity, but as a member, you are also eligible to utilize the many amenities of the Union River Center for Innovation! Conduct research, develop websites, interact with client emails, or monitor your business’s social media feeds with our high-speed internet access. Complete your small printing jobs with our powerful printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine, or focus on your work without having to worry about incoming calls or visitors with our dedicated reception service! During Maine’s warmer months, complete your work against the backdrop of our peaceful outdoor workspace along the shores of the Union River. The possibilities of the work you can accomplish are endless at the Union River Center for Innovation.

    Union River Center for Innovation is proud to offer monthly memberships and daily passes to help you accomplish tasks and conduct business in a space that works for you! To learn more about how our coworking program can help you get the job done, visit our website or contact us today!