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Many businesses around the globe are resorting to a work-from-home policy during these unexpected times. This has left many employers and employees working remotely for the first time in their lives. Naturally, this type of change in one’s work-life can affect productivity levels.
Productivity has been the top concern when it comes to allowing employees to work remotely. While this is completely understandable, a study showed remote workers to be 13% more productive than their in-office counterparts. To assist you in joining that 13%, we are providing you with six tips on how to improve productivity when working remotely.
Procrastination is one of the largest contributors to lack of productivity in general life. As humans, we are more likely to put things off until we absolutely have to accomplish them. In an article by Dr. Ferrari PhD, his research reflected 20% of U.S. women and men as being chronic procrastinators. This accounts for everyone who works, attends school and their relationship related tasks.
There is no denying that we have all procrastinated at some point, but how do we overcome this habit that becomes so easy to fall into?
By setting a deadline on projects or tasks, this will give you an understanding of how much time you need to accomplish them. Try to set your deadline in advance by a day or two just in case an unexpected event comes up. This will allow you enough time to stay on track while reducing procrastination.
Organization can go a long way in terms of saving time. When working remotely, set up your home office in a way that’s similar to your work office. Know where your pen and notepad is located. Be sure to have your laptop charger close by in case you need to plug it in. Have your bottle of water or cup of coffee handy for easy access. All these tactics will prevent you from getting out of your workflow or putting you back into the slump of procrastination.
Work naturally becomes easier when there is a prize or goal to reach after completion. When a goal is reached, it gives a sense of accomplishment and joy. These feelings can carry throughout your workday and workweek. In return, procrastination will automatically start to diminish.
An example of setting a realistic goal would be dedicating an ‘X’ amount of time during the first half of your day on a specific assignment with an idea of what will be accomplished within that time.
By planning ahead and developing a schedule, you will have an idea of potential roadblocks and possible issues to work around. There’s nothing wrong with putting in the time to plan in order to be more efficient. Proper planning can significantly reduce unnecessary work with great results.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.” — Abraham Lincoln
I personally like to write down my daily schedule the evening before. I detail my day-to-day operations so I have a clear understanding of what I need to do in order to be productive and successful.
First, I prioritize which tasks need to be accomplished. Once identified, I set a specific amount of time for each. Here is a look at my step-by-step planning process to improve time management for an 8 hour day including a 30 minute lunch break:
Depending on how long a project takes, this schedule can differ, but notice how I keep most of my daily time devoted to the top priority item(s). By ending my day by getting a headstart on my next project it allows me to lay the groundwork and develop new ideas along the way for the following day.
It is important to change your routine when you notice productivity levels are no longer increasing.
According to SWNS, 80% of Americans admit to being stuck in a routine. Don’t be one of them. Change it up and keep your productivity high.
By tracking the amount of time you have invested into your work, it allows you to know where you’re devoting and investing most of your time. Time gets away from us, and that’s normal, but having accurate documentation is a great solution to improving productivity while working remotely.
There are many modern time tracking tools available. Seeing tangible results from the time data collected and displayed on a timecard can help you develop a schedule to complete jobs and tasks on time and efficiently.
In today’s remote working environment, having access to a time tracking app to conveniently clock in and out each day allows employers to understand if a said employee is meeting expectations while holding an employee accountable for their attendance.
Taking a break throughout the day holds many benefits to one’s overall well-being. As some could view taking breaks as being “lazy”, it is far from being that if done properly. The reality of it is simply that humans are not designed to concentrate for eight hours straight at a time.
Avoiding breaks comes with negative effects such as stress, mental fatigue, muscular strain and eye damage. I typically recommend taking a break every 90 to 120 minutes. It is also common practice to take a break every 75 minutes if need be.
61% of employees stated they are burned out on the job, and 31% of employees are facing high levels of stress.
You may be asking yourself what the major benefits are when taking breaks. Below are some of the top benefits:
I recently read an article about employee engagement and wellness, and learned that a whopping 61% of employees stated they are burned out on the job, and 31% of employees are facing high levels of stress.
These numbers are not just alarming, but also an indication of how important it is for employees to do what is necessary to improve their well-being in order to increase their productivity.
Distractions can happen at both office or home environments. The best option is identifying these distractions and learning how to eliminate them.
I personally like to turn off all push notifications on my mobile devices.
I have found this to be a great solution to keeping my focus on the task at hand instead of being interrupted by an alert that is usually not very important.
The push notifications I typically like to turn off include all social media, text messages and emails.
As previously mentioned, I devote time to these notifications in my daily schedule to avoid missing anything important.
If you’re working from home then chances are you have access to a television. My advice is not to turn it on in order to decrease any additional distractions you may encounter while improving productivity and staying on schedule.
You can always turn on the TV during your break to catch up on news, your favorite show, etc. The best option is to completely avoid unnecessary electronics while working to keep your momentum going and getting as much accomplished as possible.
You would be surprised how much time you can save by practicing these few recommendations!
After a long day or week of work, it’s OK to treat yourself. This could have a large range of benefits like making you feel appreciated, the gratitude of knowing you accomplished your goals, and knowing you play a huge role in the company’s success.
Perhaps one of the biggest things in life we forget to do is rewarding ourselves.
Rewarding yourself can also improve motivation. Working hard and reaping the benefits is a great feeling and you will start to develop the habit of looking forward to accomplishing goals and working hard. How you reward yourself is entirely up to you, but it’s important to not overlook it and pat yourself on the back.
If you’re the CEO or leader in a remote-working company, consider setting a recognition and rewards programme in place to ensure your remote employees know that the company appreciates their hard work.
Successful people typically have a tremendous amount of motivation that improves their productivity. So, it’s safe to say that motivation and productivity go hand-in-hand.
When developing your tactics and schedule to improve your work-from-home routine, keep in mind that you are the one who holds the power to your success.
As long as you establish what is right for you, you will experience a great amount of productivity that will make you feel happy, less stressed, motivated, and more productive 🙌
Tim Glendenning is the Marketing Manager for OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps over 10,000 companies all around the world to track time.
Tim has a background in digital marketing with main concentration in SEO and content writing. When he is not contributing to the world of marketing, Tim enjoys spending time with his family, going fishing and working out.