Ever since COVID 19 came into existence, the world has been chaotic. Everyone is stressing over this inescapable virus and wishing for the ‘normal’ days to return. The government shook hands with the World Health Organization (WHO) to take the matter into their hands. Work from home productivity has been in question ever since they implemented lockdown, advised the social distancing policy, and brought attention to the work from home option.
Work from home is simply working from a remote place, usually the employee’s home, rather than the office. Even though we had the technology and the resources to work from home, it was somehow considered a bad idea because of the prejudice that “…well, the productivity is not as high as compared to working at the office.” However, with COVID crises on the door, the companies had no other option but to implement work from home. A SAP Concur survey reveals that 88% of the Indian workforce prefers to work from home. Quite contrary to the traditional belief that work from home decreases productivity, 69% of the respondents believed that their productivity increased by working from home.
We all understand that working from home can be distracting. Employees who share their living space with their parents, spouses, or children may face difficulties concentrating and concentrating due to distractions in their homes. We all have seen the clips of children raiding their parent’s official ‘video’ interviews/ meetings. The employee’s efforts to focus on work and help with the households at the same time can often prove to be larger than life task. The first question that pops up in our brains after reading the statistics mentioned above is with all given cons, how can work from home productivity be increased?
Methods to Increase Work From Home Productivity
The answer to the doubt mentioned above lies in taking simple steps. Here are some tips for an employee to increase their work from home productivity.
1. Stick to a Schedule
Remember when you were working at the office? You follow a fixed schedule from start to end in the workplace. But now that you are working from home, these set boundaries tend to vanish in thin air. When the work keeps extending for longer hours on a regular basis, you may feel frustrated and might not give your best. Yous should create a strict schedule where the working hours are fixed. Any work incomplete at the end of such working hours must be carried to the next day. This ensures that you are not bombarded with work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and increases your willingness to give your best to the organization.
2. Create an Office Space
Changing the working areas daily is not practical. Sometimes, in migrating from one room to another, you misplace something. It wastes a lot of time to start a search party for the lost thing. You should set up a separate working area in your home. Set up and organize a desk for all your documents, equipment, and tools to enable quick access to them when needed. This will save your time from moving from one place to another, and you will be able to give your undivided attention to his work.
3. Don’t Shy Away From Communication
Miscommunication, or in some cases, no communication at all, disrupts the flow of work. Not having access to the office environment where you can communicate with the colleagues immediately might reduce your morale. To have a smooth workflow, you must ensure that you have access to continuous and steady communication devices. A constant connection to the network is unavoidable to stay available for communication when colleagues try to contact you or vice versa.
4. Stay Away From Social Media
The biggest nemesis of productivity is social media. Unlike the workplace, an employee’s home does not have a strict smartphone policy. We likely have our cellphones with us when we’re at home, and hence it is easy to get distracted by the constant notifications. Once we take the phone to check ‘just one notification,’ we know the drill. A minute transforms into ten, and by the time we realize that we were supposed to be working, few hours are already wasted. The employee must avoid getting sucked into social media. It would help if you had control over the temptation to see what new meme is trending worldwide. With less time wasted on social media, we are likely to be more productive.
5. Be Equipped with Necessary Tools
The employee should use tools and equipment that help them manage their tasks and time better. Having such mediums that manages their tasks and keeps them connected to the employees’ functions is a boon. Tools like Trello, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. are examples that can keep the team connected and enhance the working from home experience.
6. Don’t Forget to Pay Attention to Yourself
A healthy mind and body is a sign of increased productivity. Your work efficiency tends to be the highest when you are healthy and happy. Take your time after or before office hours to focus on yourself. Eat healthy and take proper sleep. While working from home, take a minute or two to stroll around the house after sitting for long hours. Create an atmosphere that helps you feel at ease. Your productivity will increase when you are comfortable and can focus better.
7. Get Out of the Pajamas
Working from home means that you are not seeing anyone except your family the entire day, especially in the lockdown. The basic instinct of any person in such times is to wear comfortable pajamas all day long. However, while working, you should dress like you’re going to work. There are two reasons for doing so. Firstly, in case of sudden meetings, you can be presentable and ready. Secondly, it is impossible for anyone to feel productive in pajamas. There is a reason pajamas are meant for lounging and sleeping in.
8. Have a Mutual Understanding With Family
It is a bittersweet experience of spending all the time with the family (more sweet than bitter). Usually, we would go home from work and spend a few hours with family, and then either we go to sleep or are busy with our cellphones. In the lockdown, however, we spend all the time with our family. They will likely enter your ‘workplace’ or unintentionally distract you with discussions. It is better to set rules for the family members to avoid such distractions. If you have children at home, give them some tasks to keep them busy. Explain to them that you must focus on work for some time. Give them time slots where they can call you or talk with you.
9. Draw a Line Between the Work and Personal Time
Like how you must refrain from working after the work hours, you must also refrain from doing the household chores during the work hours. Complete your house chores before or after work hours. Doing your tasks during work hours not only wasted the work hours but also delays the official assignments. However, setting separate work hours and personal hours will allow you to focus on your work and complete it within the deadlines.
10. Tune in for Inspiration
The main benefit of working from home is that you don’t have to worry about disturbing your colleagues. This is an excellent opportunity to tune in to your favorite jams and draw your focus into your work. We are all well aware of how music can help one increase their focus. Using your favorite tracks or instrumentals can keep your spirits high, and your productivity increases. The paint to keep in mind is that the music shouldn’t be very distracting. Music can help you zone out from the surroundings and focus entirely on your work.
Working from home is not just about saving the time and money spent on the commute to and from work. It is about staying safe in these crises and yet, not compromising the work quality. If the company is taking the initiative to pay you for working from home, you must work efficiently and not let the workplace’s absence affect your productivity. With approximately 67% of the companies thinking about making work from home a permanent change, it becomes essential for the employees to find a way to increase and maintain their work from home productivity.