Remote work is one of the biggest changes in the business industry over the past few years. While a global pandemic pretty much forced global companies and businesses to shift from traditional work setups in order to continue operations, some continued to adopt remote work and include working from home as a flexible setup for their employees.
Working from home has its benefits. Employees have the flexibility to work under their own conditions. More importantly, working from home prevents employees from wasting time traveling to the office when they can easily access work a couple of steps from their bedrooms instead. Taking this into consideration, some may think that working remotely is an absolute paradise. You get to stay at home and spend your time as efficiently as you could.
While this is true, working from home also has its set of challenges. Depending on your living situation, you may be dealing with an attention-seeking pet, loud neighbors, or time-consuming and distracting chores. Aside from that, temptations such as the mere sight of your extremely comfortable bed or your home entertainment setup can quickly distract you and tear your focus away from the important tasks needed to be done.
Simply put, both external and internal distractions while at home can easily prevent you from being the most productive worker that you can be. Letting this go on can later affect the quality of your work as well as your overall productivity and efficiency. The question is how can you maintain a productive setup while working from home? To help you with this, here are some helpful tips to maintain your productivity while working from home.
3 Common Productivity Inhibitors To Avoid
Before we go through the different ways to keep productivity while working from home, let’s go over some of the most common productivity inhibitors that remote workers deal with. Even if you’re working from home, you are not immune to the wide range of workplace distractions that you unknowingly spend and waste a considerable amount of time on. Since remote work setups lack direct and face-to-face supervision from persons of authority, it is so easy to get away with non-work-related activities.
Most, if not all, remote work involves the use of computers and the internet. Taking this into consideration, remote employees have access to the vast expanse of the online world during work hours. According to recent research, employees spend an average of 5 hours browsing through non-work-related websites every week. That is a total of 20 hours of productivity lost every month.
Given that social media sites are some of the most addicting online platforms, it is so easy to lose track of time while browsing Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and the like. Whether it’s on a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or any other mobile device, internet browsing is easily one of the most common workplace distractions.
Unscheduled meetings and interactions
Meetings are necessary for a business to keep everyone on track and on the same page. It is also a convenient way to gather people and work collaboratively together for the growth and development of the business. However, meetings can also become a distraction for some employees.
The latest data shows that 40% of employees believe that impromptu meetings or unscheduled interactions with co-workers are significant distractions at work. This is because impromptu meetings not only typically take a lot of time but also steer their focus away from the set goals and assigned tasks to finish at the end of the day.
In traditional office setups, it’s common to hear a phone ringing every minute and an employee speaking ever so loudly while on the phone. While remote work setups don’t really involve coworkers shouting over another employee, they can also experience some distracting noise from time to time.
Depending on your location, you may hear a lawn mower or leaf blower blaring next door, the sound of speeding cars on the highway, or even family members hustling or bustling just over the room next to you. A recent survey says that a majority of 61% of working professionals mention that the biggest workplace distraction involves loud colleagues and noisy environments.
3 Effective Ways To Maintain Productivity While Working From Home
Now that we’ve gone through some of the most common productivity inhibitors in the workplace, let’s jump right into the different strategies to keep your productivity up while working remotely at home.
Isolate your workspace
One of the major differences between traditional offices and remote work setups is the lack of a designated workspace or workstation. Normally, people working from home use any table or surface they can prop their devices. Whether it’s on a kitchen counter, a dining table, or a small coffee table in the middle of their living room. Not only is this not particularly comfortable, but this also means that it’s possible that they share their workspace with other people in the room.
Circumstances like this often lead to the notion that remote work environments are not conducive which decreases the productivity of employees. When you don’t have a designated workspace, the more likely are you to be distracted by people moving around you, the noises they make, and the mere discomfort of not having an office chair and table to work on.
Taking this into consideration, one effective productivity hack for remote employees is to have a designated workspace isolated from the busiest and loudest parts of your home such as the kitchen or the bathroom. Even a small cubby with a small desk, comfortable chair, and good lighting would allow you to increase your productivity while working from home.
Keep track of your time
It’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re so focused on what is in front of you. While this can be considered an advantage when you’re working on important and urgent tasks, the same concept applies when you’re so busy focusing on the latest entertainment news. Under this circumstance, you’re losing track of your time over something that has nothing to do with work or with keeping you productive.
Keeping track of your time will help deal with this. A wide range of time management strategies helps people become more aware and mindful of how they spend each passing minute of their day. This also allows them to realize which tasks or responsibilities take so much of their time. At the same time, they also get to know which ones take unnecessarily long to accomplish. From there they can make the proper adjustments to better utilize their limited time at work.
It is a good practice to plan your days ahead in order to allot the right amounts of time to tasks and activities that are the most important or most urgent. It also allows you to visualize how your day would go and eliminate activities that do not contribute to your work life or improve your productivity.
Establish a work-from-home routine
Remote working provides employees with a great deal of flexibility. Typically, they can do pretty much what they want] and how they want just as long as they produce quality output on time. However, some people may take this flexibility for granted. They wake up a handful of minutes before they clock into work, skip meals, or take quick naps from time to time. While this can be enticing at first, creating an unproductive work lifestyle can affect your productivity long term.
To avoid this, it’s best to consider remote work the same way you treat working in a traditional office. Establish a healthy routine and lifestyle around your remote work setup and adjust your work life accordingly. Wake at least an hour earlier and set some time to do your morning rituals whether it’s a 10-minute yoga or meditation session, a quick coffee break at the patio, or a light breakfast to jumpstart your day. Doing this can help your mind and body get up to speed with the mentally and physically demanding tasks ahead.
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