All the "stuff" | Productivity
16 August 2021
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, millions of employees finally got their wish to work from home. Not long after, employers saw that working from home productivity among employees was higher than in-office productivity.
That’s why top employers like Google, Facebook, and Atlassian are now considering switching to full-time and hybrid remote working arrangements for most of their employees. If your current remote work productivity is slipping due to fatigue or disconnect, you might struggle to cope with your job becoming permanently remote.
Read on to learn how to be more productive working from home and see statistics that indicate that remote work might be the new normal.
Unexpected Working from Home Statistics
Before delving into our tips for increasing productivity working from home, let’s look at some surprising statistics about remote working.
- Increased Performance: A Stanford study involving 16,000 workers revealed that working from home (WFH) can increase employee performance by 13%. According to the study’s participants, they did more work at home because they were comfortable and had fewer distractions. Due to the increased comfort, the remote workers required fewer breaks, sick days, and time off.
- Improved Work Satisfaction: Lack of job satisfaction leads to low employee engagement and high turnover. The same Stanford study showed that remote workers experienced more work satisfaction and were 50% less likely to quit their jobs. Also, according to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers believe that telecommuting significantly improves employee retention.
- Longer Hours: According to an SHRM report, 70% of people who work remote jobs work during weekends. Among these remote workers, 45% work longer hours during the week than in the office. Surveys also show that WFH employees are 15% less likely to avoid work.
- Higher Pay: The average remote employee earns 8.6% more money than an in-office worker doing the same job. Also, WFH employees earn $4,000 more per year than the average office employee.
- Improved Productivity: The answer to “does working from home increase productivity?” is a resounding YES. Employees who work remotely a few times a month state that they are 77% more productive than when working strictly onsite. 30% of these employees also mentioned that they complete work in less time while working from home.
- Less Downtime: Most telecommuters resume work faster after surgery or other medical treatment. Also, remote working provides flexible hours that allow WFH staff to run personal errands without missing workdays.
- Better Work-Life Balance: 91% of US employees prefer remote work for its better work-life balance. Maintaining an optimal work-life balance reduces stress and the risk of burnout.
- Reduced Expenses: Employers that provide WFH opportunities can save $11,000 a year on each employee that telecommutes half the time. These employers spend less because of increased employee productivity, lower turnover, and reduced office expenses.
10 Tips on How to Be Productive Working from Home
As the above statistics indicate, working from home can benefit employers and employees. However, remote working can become disadvantageous for everyone if you don’t go about it the right way. If you want to stay efficient and complete tasks on time without burning out, follow these remote work productivity tips:
1. Take Frequent Breaks
You might be in the comfort of your home, but if you work long hours without taking enough breaks, you will soon burn out. When burnout occurs, your productivity and the quality of your work will fall.
Add multiple breaks to your daily work schedule to keep your mind fresh. Taking breaks every couple of hours will also reduce the risk of becoming disillusioned and losing interest in your work.
The quality of your breaks is just as important as their frequency. For the best results, do something relaxing and try to avoid screens during your breaks. You can even exercise or give your friends a call.
2. Keep a Regular Working Schedule
Having a defined schedule for your workday will help you complete tasks on time and reduce the risk of developing a backlog of unfinished jobs. You can set alarms to avoid missing meetings and other appointments that are on your schedule.
Another benefit of having a schedule is it prevents your work life from encroaching on your personal life. That’s because your schedule will provide separate times for handling personal affairs and work duties.
3. Invest in Proper Technology
Lack of proper equipment can frustrate working from home. For instance, bad internet makes collaborating or communicating with your team tedious and unproductive.
At the very least, your home workspace should have a reliable computer and fast internet. If your home’s internet service is poor, consider working at a coffee shop or another conducive location with reliable Wi-Fi.
The quality of the furniture in your workspace is just as important. Invest in a high-quality ergonomic chair that will support your spine and arms when working at your computer. The chair’s support will reduce your likelihood of developing muscular or skeletal issues that can interfere with your work, such as neck pains or carpal tunnel syndrome.
4. Use Remote Work Productivity Tools
At the office, your company provides the support you need to stay productive. When working from home, you are responsible for your own productivity. Fortunately, several remote work productivity tools are available for staying efficient and on top of tasks. Some of our favorite productivity tools for WFH include:
- Slack: Slack is great for collaborating with teammates spread across different locations. You can also use the tool to monitor the progress of projects and share media files.
- Forest: Forest is a Chrome extension that helps you focus on work. It accomplishes this by blocking your access to distracting websites like Facebook. You can set it to block these sites until you close for the day.
- Zoom: Zoom is ideal for holding video conferences with at least a hundred people. You can connect with all your teammates at once and brainstorm solutions for projects.
- Charli: Charli is an AI assistant that brings order to content chaos. When your colleagues send you documents via email or the cloud, Charli will sort and keep track of the files. If you need a document, you can find it in seconds with Charli’s user-friendly search tool.
5. Ask for Feedback
If you are highly productive and deliver impressive results while working from home, your employer is less likely to ask you to return to full-time office work. Are you unsure about how to measure remote work productivity?
You don’t have to wait for your formal monthly or annual performance evaluation. Reach out to your manager, team lead, and teammates to get honest feedback about your performance. Use the feedback to fix your shortcomings and prove that you are a valuable asset even when working from home.
6. Set Ground Rules with Your Housemates
If you don’t live alone, make sure that the people you live with know your working hours. Otherwise, your housemates could become a distraction and interfere with your productivity. Avoid problems by providing your housemates with clear rules regarding entering your workspace and being quiet during work hours.
7. Move Your Body
A sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy, and poor health will negatively impact your productivity. Take breaks from work to stretch and exercise your muscles. Walking, jogging, biking, and swimming are great choices because they promote good cardiovascular health and give you a chance to leave the house and clear your mind.
A healthy diet is just as important for maintaining a sound mind and body while working from home.
8. Have a Dedicated Workspace
Working on the couch or in front of the TV can be distracting. Pick a conducive and private spot in your home and turn it into a workstation. As your body acclimates to this space, your mind will know to focus once you sit in your work chair.
9. Request Face Time with Coworkers
20% of remote workers have had to deal with loneliness. Loneliness due to lack of socialization can cause reduced employee engagement, which negatively impacts performance and productivity. If your colleagues are too far away for in-person socialization, socialize with them virtually. Informal weekly video meetings with your coworkers and management will make you feel connected and less isolated.
10. Ask for Help When You Need It
If you run into issues while working on a project, you don’t have to handle it alone because you are telecommuting. Contact your colleagues or team lead to ask for assistance. If they can’t help you, they can at least refer you to someone who can help. The faster you get help, the sooner you can return to being productive and completing your tasks.
Are You Ready to Boost Your Remote Work Productivity?
That’s everything you need to know about how to be productive working from home. Remember to make the process more enjoyable and less tedious by using the right remote work productivity tools and collaborating with your colleagues.