Work policies have changed over the years. With technology and smart tools at our disposal, companies are allowing employees the flexibility to work from home. Telecommuting or working from home is an excellent move by businesses to improve employee satisfaction and productivity.
Whether you work in the office or from home, productivity — has been and always will be — a key metric that will define your performance.
So, for an employee who is not familiar with the work-from-home policy, or for someone who has experienced telecommuting in the past, how will productivity come about? Here are 4 tips that will help boost productivity while telecommuting.
Define what’s important and urgent
Working in an office means following a schedule, and sticking to it. That said, working from home doesn’t mean you can’t have the same. But the hierarchical structure — of taking up tasks and executing them — that exists in offices, is missing at home.
This is where you make build your to-do lists, stay in touch with your superior, and prioritize tasks which need to be executed first. However, do keep in mind that when it comes to taking work home, you may easily blur the lines between work and your me-time.
While it’s okay to push hard and get things done, don’t overdo it. Once all your tasks are over, stop immediately. The last thing you want is to run out of gas and feel burned out in the very same environment that only exists to helps you take the edge off work.
Get distracted the right way
Office work presents distraction in their own ways. You have your coffee breaks with colleagues, team meetings, client interactions and so forth. While you can’t really call these ‘distractions’, they’re actions that draw your attention to other matters, giving your occupied mind a much-needed breather of sorts. Productivity doesn’t take a hit in such cases as you’re only diverting it from one point of focus to several others.
At home, there are are plenty of elements that can sway your mind instantly. While these may free up your mind, you’re not necessarily being productive in terms of work or otherwise. Being productive at home doesn’t only mean you get work done. You can engage in other activities that free up your time, complete a pending task, teach you something. For instance, watching a movie or playing a game on your mobile phone is a (major) negative distraction when working from home that will not boost productivity in any manner.
However, reading a few pages from a book, doing your laundry, building out a grocery list, paying your pending utility bills, watering your plants, playing a musical instrument, or feeding and spending time with your pets are all positive distractions that boost as they somehow accomplish a task or improve your mood or skill whilst taking your mind off work.
When you get back to work, there is minimal or no distractions at all, which boosts your productivity as you direct your complete focus towards work.
The only way to work from home
Working from home doesn’t mean shutting everyone out, finishing your task, and punching out. You have to remember that you need to check-in with your co-workers and superiors regularly to get a sitrep of any recent developments. To do this, decide with your team members which tools are to be used that will help in scheduling of tasks, sharing of information, and communication.
Most find working from home difficult as the home is a sanctuary to unwind. Getting work done here can be a hiccup, as workplace elements are missing, partially or completely. Reliable and fast internet connection, ergonomic chairs, adjustable desks, power outlets at every corner and so on are all workplace elements that improve work conditions, keep you alert, and boost productivity.
While not all can be integrated into your home, you can invest in a few. For instance, you can get faster internet speeds from a reliable internet service provider, or invest in an ergonomic and adjustable chair for your non-adjustable desk.
Do keep in mind that while investing in work elements for your home, dedicate a specific area or corner away from your home elements. Doing this will help you focus and stay away from distractions, resulting in better productivity.
Your mind and body
Your home may be your cave, but you can’t stay holed-up in your cave forever doing nothing but work. The human mind needs to breathe, and for it to breathe you need to step out at times and be physically active.
With a sound mind and body, your energy levels will be up which will further give productivity a much-needed lift. In fact, with regular exercise and proper diet, you can ward off and power through illnesses, and will be less susceptible to burnouts.
Get some exercise done in between breaks. Working in a stationary position often puts a lot of stress on your body, especially your back, legs, neck, and arms. Do a few stretches, perform breathing exercises, get up and walk around every 30 minutes or so, and constantly switch between standing and sitting while working. Doing these will relieve your body and mind of stress, and boost productivity.
You can open as many windows as you want, hang out in your balcony, and blast your air conditioners and still feel imprisoned within the confines of your house. This happens because you’re neither seeing or feeling anything new inside your house. Step out for a few minutes, take in the fresh air, bask in the sunlight, feast your eyes to the greenery and unfamiliar sights around you. Engaging in any activity outside the walls does breathe life into your low energy levels and free your mind thereby improving productivity.
Resting is also another trick in the book that can help boost employee productivity. Sometimes, everyone needs to hit the restart button. And this is true for people working from home or the office. Getting some shut-eye between tasks can spike your energy levels and prepare you for any work that lies ahead.
Working from home is a trend that is quickly catching on. While it’s not for everyone, the gig economy, which is expected to grow tremendously in the years to come, has employees seeing the benefits of the flexibility that work-from-home offers.
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