The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way employees work, with much more of the workforce working from home or adapting to a hybrid home/office schedule. However, the modern world is full of distractions, from watching videos on TikTok to queuing for Eras tour tickets, there always seems to be a reason to put off sending that email or finishing that report. We break down the best ways to stay productive when your boss isn’t there to look over your shoulder.
Set up a clear schedule. While it might be easy to work through lunch or become so busy you forget to take breaks, having a clear schedule that you stick to will help improve those productivity levels and reduce the temptation to procrastinate.
While people taking part in surveys and studies generally list the lack of commute as the biggest positive of working from home, not having a separate working area can blur the lines between work and play. If possible work in a different space to where you sleep to avoid affecting your bedtime routine.
Get clear instructions on tasks. It is very easy to put off a difficult or unwelcome task especially if you aren't sure how to complete it. If possible, get clear instructions from those you work with to help avoid delays and the inevitable Instagram doom scrolling.
Reduce distractions. Obviously, the ability to spend endless hours on social media, or just pop to the shop, or catch up with a friend over coffee is easily done when working from home. However, minimizing these distractions can help make you more productive. Setting up a social media app blocker or using timers can help, as can trying the Pomodoro technique.
In a Chinese experiment, call center workers had a 13 percent performance increase when working from home with 4 percent more calls per minute, which was attributed to a quieter and more convenient working environment.
Make sure everything works. This might sound super obvious but having broken or slightly slow computer software or internet can put a real spanner in the works when it comes to working productively from home. One study, carried out by researchers from Berlin, concluded that “sufficient and functioning technical equipment as well as a high degree of autonomy are important for healthy and satisfied work from home.”
While a lot of the research stems from the pandemic lockdowns, working from home seems to be here to stay.