Working From Home: How to be Efficient and Productive?

The coronavirus pandemic has seen a surge of lockdown all across the globe. In these trying times, people are forced to maintain social distance and most of the organisations across the globe have adopted the work from home policy. But how do you adapt to such a drastic change in daily routine? 

A study conducted on the American workforce showed that almost 46% of US companies have shifted their office workers to home. This has led to almost 40% of the office workers having to work from home due to quarantine. Many people might feel working from home should be a piece of cake but the reality is much more different. The study shows even though working from home initiatives has grown exponentially in the past decade, it is nowhere near the percentage of the total workforce. A mere 3.4% of the workforce is engaged in work from home arrangements. So it is safe to assume that the majority of the people caught in this pandemic are struggling in working from home for an extended period.

Most people would find it difficult to cope with the new work system and it might take some time to get used to it. The idea of having an endless weekend without the hassle of commuting to the workplace every day might seem tempting but the charm soon wanes if you get caught into the cycle of non-productivity. We will try to explore what are the best ways to utilise this work from home opportunity and means to keep up the productivity.

Having a strict routine 

You might be thinking what’s the point of working from home when you still have to run by the clock. That is one of the common misconceptions. See the thing about maintaining a routine is to ensure you don’t slack off on your achievable goal. Sure it’s fine enough to lay back and enjoy this unexpected break from 9 to 5 work schedules. But getting too used to the lay back situation might ultimately drive boredom and make this stay at home phase a non-productive one.  

So to overcome such a scenario, it is advisable to make a proper routine of daily activities. Assign time as per the importance of the task and make sure you’re taking breaks and not simply remaining dived into work. Take a small break every hour as that might help to relax the brain. It is also important to incorporate workouts into the routine. Some jogging and stretching would help to stay energetic and focused.

It’s better to treat the working from the home phase as an actual work phase. Have a meeting or discuss the daily agenda with your colleagues at the start of the day, catching up on the colleagues not only helps to better understand the work scenario but also helps to keep the overall organisational flow going.

Finally, to wrap up the day, make a note of the tasks completed and a to-do list for the next day. rather than juggling between work and family time, assign individual times so that you can focus better on both.

Communication is the key 

It is important to ensure there is no communication gap between the team or the colleagues that you work with. The thing about physical offices is that it is a workplace where you gather for a specific task – work. Access and communication are much easier in the workplace compared to a home. So maintaining communication is very important. Be it sales, or marketing or any other functional head, keeping track of activities and achievable will help to better track and monitor the organisational goals. The end goal is to maintain productivity and communication can be an important tool to maintain that. 

 However, it is also important to have a proper communication method. Every team should focus on a singular platform for easier and group communication. Skype and zoom can be an effective medium for conference calls. Teams should have at least 2 meetings per week to effectively monitor work progress.

Minimising distractions 

The best thing about working from home is that there are no hard and fast rules or fixed time of work. While that may sound great, it also gives way to distractions. It is very easy to get sucked up into social media or other unimportant things.

We mentioned communication is the key, but that’s not true for every case. Sometimes you need to just shut unnecessary conversations and focus on the task at hand.

The main focus should be to strictly maintain the formulated schedule. Focusing on the work at hand would help to better utilize free time. It will also help to improve performance and ensure more family time.

Work on developing skills 

Remember how you planned to learn the basics of data analysis? Or excel spreadsheets? Well now is the time to focus on those self-development opportunities that you had put a hold to. Working from home not only offers more time to relax, but it’s also offering you free time to finally garner those essential skills that might be useful for future career prospects or simple recreational purposes. So whether its mastering data science or just humming a tune in that guitar, get on it and get started to be productive. Learn something new. It will not only help you to spend your time better but also help you to feel more confident and productive.

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