Are you working from home, and struggling to keep your productivity up? You’re not alone; staying on top of your workload whilst being out of the office can present some difficult challenges. If you’re looking to be more productive whilst working from home, we’ve got some tips to help make things just a little bit easier.
What do we mean by ‘being productive’?
It’s all very well to say that we want to be more productive, but what does that actually mean? For some of us, that might mean completing our work faster. For others, we might be hurtling through our tasks at a hundred miles an hour, but we want to produce a better quality of work. Ultimately, being productive is working efficiently, and producing work that we’re happy with in the time that we’re given.
What affects our productivity?
There are a wide range of different things that can affect how productive we feel on any given day; how well we slept the night before, how stressed we are about the day ahead, the argument that we had with our partner over breakfast - the list goes on. However, when we’re working from home, there are a whole host of other things that can affect our productivity, that are less likely to be present in the office.
One positive effect that working from home can have on productivity is the lack of commute; research suggests that employees with a long commute experience higher levels of stress and reduced productivity compared to employees with a commute of less than thirty minutes.
However, productivity may also be affected by the lack of contact with other employees; poor communication has a negative effect on productivity, and working from home is changing how employees communicate. We’re also affected by distractions and interruptions, and working from home presents a different set of distractions than the office - particularly if part of your work day is spent caring for children or dependents.
How can we be more productive?
There are some simple things that you can do to help improve your productivity when working from home.
1. Create a dedicated workspace
One of the easiest ways to manage distractions and interruptions is to create a workspace for yourself. When you arrive at work, it’s a space that you’re in solely to do your job. This has an affect on your productivity because you expect to be working in that space - it’s not usually a space that you use for anything else.
Working from home presents a difficult challenge because you could be working in a space that you relax, or have dinner - the space now has a dual purpose. Creating a dedicated workspace means that when you sit down in this place, you’re sitting there to work - and this can have a huge impact on productivity.
2. Remove the distractions
Things that take your attention away from the task at hand are going to affect your productivity, and as such it's useful to think about how you can reduce them, or remove them entirely. If you’re working in a shared space and you don’t have the luxury of privacy, then there may be limitations to this - but there are still some things you can do.
Smartphones and notifications from apps are a powerful distraction; they’re designed to draw you in, which isn’t helpful when you’re trying to work. Think about where your phone is, and whether it’s necessary to have it next to you during the day. If you do need it by your side, you could think about turning off notifications or removing distracting apps from your home screen.
3. Stick to a schedule
Whether you’re required to stick to a schedule in the office or not, working the same hours each day can have a huge impact on your productivity when you’re working from home. When you’re working on your own it can be really easy to miss lunch, start a little earlier, or finish a bit later than normal. But working for longer without breaks is likely to slow you down.
Ensuring that you’re using your time efficiently includes taking time for self-care; moving away from your workspace at lunchtime, taking a break to get a drink or just stepping away from a screen for a while is essential. Manage your time effectively, take your breaks, and you’ll notice the difference in your productivity.
4. Communicate with your team
Poor communication within businesses has an effect on your productivity, and this is just as true when you’re working from home. This might be something you’ve experienced when you’re looking for some information, or need some help - asking someone a question now requires an email or a phone call.
Having a dedicated platform where you can reach your peers is a game changer. Microsoft Teams has built in video calling and instant messenger, so you can reach the people you need quickly. You can even share your screen if you need help with something. If you want to find out more about how Microsoft Teams can take meetings to the next level, check out our article.
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