There are many advantages and some disadvantages to working from home and we can all agree on that. However, another important point that isn’t brought to the table enough is productivity.
Productivity when working from home is an important part of employees’ daily life and some tips to make the most of the day are definitely useful. Whether you’re an employer willing to share some productivity tips to your employees, or an employee willing to be more productive, this is the right place.
The Remote Work Statistics Report by Flexjobs shared that remote work opportunities incredibly increased over the past years. There has been a 44% increase in the past 5 years, 91% in the past 10 years, and a whopping 159% in the past 12 years.
While this data doesn’t include the extraordinary COVID-19 pandemic, analyzing this growth is still very interesting.
However, are all employers and employees ready to embrace this sudden change?
Are they going to be productive enough?
Today, we will guide you on how to be more productive when working from home giving you unique tips and tricks. Make sure to stick until the end to tick all the boxes.
Start the Day the Right Way
This list could only begin with starting the day the right way. There is nothing more demotivating and unproductive than waking up, turning the computer on, and starting to work a few minutes.
Starting the day waking up early, having a coffee, having breakfast, and start preparing your desk is a great way to be productive for the rest of the day.
Also, having a healthy breakfast will definitely help.
A survey by Airtasker revealed that 23% of remote employees think that waking up early is one of the most effective ways of staying productive at work.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once talked about his working hours experience and waking up early. He shared
“Go to bed early and wake up early in the morning. Morning hours are good.”.
Needless to say, Bezos is a role model in nowadays’ society that everyone should follow.
Define a Dedicated Space to Work
Having a fixed desk is definitely one of the best pros of working at the office that most of the remote members of staff miss. However, it’s much easier to enjoy the same benefit when working from home than many might think.
First of all, having a comfortable chair at home is a great way to remain focused. It can also help to keep a good posture when staying all day sitting at the desk.
Bad posture issues include back pain, rounded shoulders, and spinal dysfunction.
Needless to say, having a good chair to spend the day is certainly a good investment when working from home.
Moreover, it will help create a routine and indicate to your brain that this is the place to work, not to watch television, or even sleep. There are many ways to convert a piece of your home into your dedicated space.
A post-COVID survey by Realtor shared that 37% of employees converted a dedicated room in their house to an office. Additionally, 29% create a home office space that helped them remain productive at work. Only 6% of surveyed workers didn’t make any amendment to their house since they already had a good home office set up.
Lastly, a dedicated space can highly help in keeping private and separate life separated, and that brings us to this following point.
Separate Family and Professional Life
Keeping private and personal life separated can greatly help to stay productive and for different reasons. Not blending both can allow you to stay focused at work, not mixing your professional tasks with your family, and improve your work-life balance in the longer term.
Taking short breaks at work and spending them with your family or your kids is fine.
However, tracking time might help in going back to work on time is a good productivity tip that you should consider. Also, prioritizing urgent work tasks is a great method to take care of tasks that deserve more attention.
This not only helps in getting things done while at work but also to focus on family while the shift is over. It is also important to mention that members of staff who separate their work and private life tend to be less stressed, lower their absenteeism, and remain more attached to their company.
Have a Clean and Organized Desk
There are several advantages of keeping a clean and organized desk when working from home that is incredibly useful.
First off, a cluttered desk can decrease productivity and can even pose issues to employees’ sense of self-control.
Moreover, having an organized desk can greatly help in finding papers and documents.
In fact, losing documents on a desk can quickly become a long waste of time that will kill productivity at work, and that’s not what you want.
A report by Brother extensively covered this topic. They shared that 31% of employees agree that a cluttered desk increases stress while 49% affect how they about going to work every day. Lastly, employees with an organized desk are in general 52% more productive,
We previously mentioned that having a dedicated workspace at home is a great idea to remain productive, and this report is another reason for us to believe it.
Keeping focused during the day when working from home is certainly easier said than done. First of all, know your limits.
There are people that can concentrate for a long time, being highly productive, whereas some others can’t manage for that long.
The Remote Work Report from Airtasker found that it is more difficult for remote workers to focus during the day compared with their office colleagues. In fact, 8% of remote employees find it hard to focus, against 6% for office workers. On the other hand, 61% of remote employees find it easy to remain focused, against 71% of office workers.
Also, office workers were caught avoiding work 7% more than their remote colleagues working from home. Needless to say, that is a significant percentage that needs to be addressed.
To conclude, keeping focused can not only help with productivity when working remotely but also help employees finish their tasks in due time and, therefore, help them have a better work-life balance.
Keep a Good Work-Life Balance
Having a good work-life balance is essential to many employees but it’s also one of the best ways to be productive when working remotely.
A good tip to keep a good work-life balance is to manage time effectively. In fact, managing time and tasks will allow you to remain on track with time and avoid working after your shift. Also, make your private life just as much a priority as your professional life.
Secondly, employees have a better perception of their employers when they have a good work-life balance. It can also improve employees’ loyalty and motivation, and that is definitely a big thing to consider.
The State of Remote Work 2020 by Buffer reported the biggest benefits to work remotely for employees and 32% claim that the ability to have a flexible schedule is the best. Obviously, this highly increases work-life balance as it empowers employees to have more control over their life.
While you might be asked to work longer hours or extra days, we can only recommend respecting your private life and the appointments you previously took in order to stay as productive as possible during your shifts.
Staying hydrated and drinking enough water is more known to have health benefits, but not enough to help productivity at work.
A report from Waterlogic shared that staying hydrated is much more important than many may think in regards to productivity at work. Firstly, the body needs to be hydrated to keep productivity levels high. Also, only a 1% drop in hydration can lead to a 12% decrease in productivity. Lastly, only a 3 to 4% drop in hydration could make productivity decrease by 25 to 50%.
Other than that, the main benefits of drinking water include improving memory and mood, reducing sugar craving, headaches, and even improving workout performance.
Take Regular Breaks
Taking regular is a much more productive way that anyone might think. In fact, how can someone be more productive taking more breaks? Let’s find out how and why.
To start with, a great way to remain productive while taking more regular breaks is to apply the Pomodoro Technique. This technique essentially focuses on working 25 minutes to make as much progress as possible to a project, to then take a short break.
The Pomodoro Technique gives employees a sense of urgency to push them to do more in a short time until the next break.
On the other hand, some employees use the 52:17 method that actually works. They focus on working for 52 minutes before taking a 17-minute break. This system is similar to the Pomodoro Technique and treats working times as sprints.
Citing only these 2 methods, we understand that taking more regular breaks is great to increase productivity when working from home. In addition, taking personal breaks is also important to clear your mind, rest a little, and come back refreshed and more productive.
Caitlin Reddington, Junior Digital Editor at All Things Hair US wrote her experience of working from home and said “Sticking to a consistent schedule and routine has helped me stay productive while working from home. I’ve also enjoyed taking advantage of my extra free time. I’m always on the go, so it’s nice to be able to catch up with friends, watch TV shows, and exercise more often.”
Get Outside and Take in Fresh Air
Going outside and taking in fresh air is one of the hidden secrets to increase productivity when working from home that you need to know. Fresh air is good for your health. In fact, other than clearing your lungs, it can give you more energy, mental focus, and even improve your digestion. Needless to say, increasing productivity at work is only one of the main benefits of taking in the fresh air outside.
Miriam Herst, Beauty Editor at All Things Hair US also agrees with taking in fresh air during breaks. She shared “It’s easy to get caught up in work and forget to get outside and take a break. I’ve been using my break to walk to get some fresh air. This way, I come back to my at-home work station refreshed. It’s truly my best tip for staying productive when working from home!”
Last but not least, a report from Harvard Business Review stated that stale office air can make employees less productive. Remote workers should take the chance to work from home to get outside, taking in some fresh air, and coming back to their desks with more energy and more motivation.
Stay Logged Out Once Your Shift is Over
Unplugging at work can be challenging when working at the office, let alone when working from home. In fact, when working remotely, we always wish we could finish our shift on time, but life happens. New tasks are created and deadlines need to be met which makes it difficult to unplug.
However, unplugging on time is a great productivity tip when working remotely that no one should ever underestimate. There are different ways to unplug after work and not coming back until the next day, and they’re important not to get demotivated at work and remaining more productive on your shifts.
Employees should set expectations and block specific times on their calendar. This way, it would allow them to only work when they’re supposed to, helping them make the most during their shift and keeping a good work-life balance.
For instance, if you’re supposed to work until 6.00 PM, you will want to block a time slot in your calendar from 6.15 PM and not going back to work.
Moreover, having hobbies is a great way to embrace life, to remain healthy, and not to think about work until the day after.
Track Your Time
Tracking your time is an excellent way to increase productivity when working from home. It is easy to underestimate the power of pointing out where productivity is lost and how to improve downtime. With all the distractions when working from home, it’s easy not to realize where time is spent.
Of course, this is a downside for both employers and employees, and tracking time can highly help in increasing productivity.
A report by Finances Online shared that daily time tracking can reduce productivity leaks by up to 80%. In addition, they report that employees are productive for only 2 hours and 23 minutes of their day. The rest of their working day is spent checking social media, browsing new sites, but also discussing work with coworkers.
To conclude, tracking time can help identify where the lost time goes, increase employee productivity when working from home, and help to find focus points to improve.
Turn Off Your Social Media Notifications
We mentioned here above that social media is one of the biggest distractions at work.
On average, employees spend 44 minutes per day checking their Facebook, Instagram, and more. For this reason, turning off social media notifications can be a blessing to increase productivity when working from home.
Also, employers might consider blocking social media on work computers. A study from Robert Half Technology revealed that 54% of surveyed employers don’t allow using social media at work for any reason, while 19% said allowing it for business purposes only.
In addition, they report that employers might block social media to avoid productivity loss, but also to avoid corporate information leaks and company exposure to viruses and spyware.
Of course, employees would still be able to access social media on their phones, but a bit of diligence from their side will make them realize that it’s a great productivity tip when working from home.
To wrap up, turning off notifications and blocking social media is a great way to avoid wasting time, increase productivity, and remaining focused when working remotely.
Work From Home Productivity Tips – The Bottom Line
Now that you know the best work from home productivity tips, it is your time to implement them in your daily routine. Whether you’re a remote worker that wants to decrease downtime and unplug on time or an employer that wants employees to work more efficiently, you now know-how.
2020 has definitely been a turning point for both employers and employees to start working from home and not everyone was prepared for it. However, it is certainly great for the world to be able to embrace this new lifestyle. Remote employees are generally happier, less stressed, and have a better work-life balance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Georgi Todorov is the SEO Manager in a reputed digital marketing organization. He has immense experience in the field of SEO and is an expert in the link building.