How to Improve Productivity Working from Home | Iris Reading
How to Improve Productivity Working from Home

How to Improve Productivity Working from Home

How to Improve Productivity Working from Home

Working from home can increase productivity when done correctly. If you feel unproductive working from home, there are techniques and other tips to optimize your productivity, such as setting boundaries, taking a break, and prioritizing tasks. 

Productivity is the ability to increase output by working efficiently within a specific time. It is a crucial element of business and economic growth. However, high productivity may not be achievable by some and is arguably harder to accomplish in a work-from-home scheme. 

However, a 2020-2021 monthly survey found that productivity at home is seven percent higher than expected. 

Whether you are a full-time worker, a part-timer, a freelancer, or a business owner, knowing how to improve one’s productivity can help boost morale, increase efficiency, and create a high chance for a pay raise and more incentives.  

Tag along as we provide and explain the tips on how to improve your productivity from home. Ready? Let’s get started!

Tips to maximize productivity while working from home

There is no magic formula for high productivity, but one can take steps to increase productivity while working from home. Below are the tips you can follow to maximize productivity.

Tip #1: Setting up a working space

A designated working space helps you focus and easily set physical boundaries between your work and home life. Research also shows that an effective workplace can increase productivity.  

Choose a stress-free place inside your house to comfortably set your desk with less noise and good natural light. If you don’t have a private space, ensure that your working space is where your roommates or family are less likely to roam around to avoid distraction. 

Style your workspace however you want. Sitting near a window, looking at a view of trees outside or indoor plants can enhance employee satisfaction and optimize productivity by up to 15 percent.  

Tip #2: Set a working schedule

Setting a work schedule that you can consistently follow keeps you accountable for your work responsibilities. It also helps you maintain a work-life balance by giving you an overview of the tasks that need to be accomplished, streamlining and allocating work at a specific time, and recognizing when you can take on more work. 

Knowing your work schedule can help you manage your time well and prevent being swallowed by your workload, effectively maintaining a work-life balance. 

When planning your schedule, consider your morning routine to start your day right. Allow time for breakfast, quick exercise, meditation, and other personal tasks you have to do before starting your work. Always include time for any wellness activities in your schedule. 

You also have to be aware of your productivity style. Some people are naturally more alert at a specific time of the day that ties to their circadian rhythm. You can plan your high-priority tasks first during your high-energy period and less important tasks for the rest of your working time to enhance productivity. 

Tip #3: Limit internal and external sources of distractions

Limiting distractions can increase your focus, prevent cutting your workflow, and disrupt concentration, thereby making you more productive at work. 

Research from Michigan State University found that even the slightest distraction, averaging 2.8 seconds of interruption, can double the number of errors you can make at work because it cuts off the flow and shifts your focus to something else.   

There are two sources of distractions – external and internal sources. External sources are background noise, phone notifications, and roommates or family members roaming around or interrupting your work. 

To limit distractions, you can use a noise-canceling headset, stay in a quiet workspace, use the “Do Not Disturb” phone setting and inform your roommates or family about your work schedule. 

Meanwhile, internal sources of distractions are hunger, stress, or boredom. Once you identify the source, you can deal with it through eating, taking a break, taking a power nap, taking a walk, or doing a short breathing exercise.

Tip #4: Prioritize tasks

Prioritizing tasks can help you keep track of what you need to do by identifying and ranking tasks by their level of importance and deadline. It prevents you from being overwhelmed by your workload and helps you stay calm and focused. 

Making a to-do list is a classic way to prioritize tasks and keep track of your workload and responsibilities. A planner also helps you keep track of your deadlines, meetings, and other appointments.  

List down first all your tasks to organize your workload. You can then break large tasks into smaller ones and identify which tasks are high priority and which are not. 

There is a sense of relief when you tick off the tasks you have accomplished, which motivates you to achieve more and tick another task off the list. 

Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the bulk of the workload and forget to write down essential matters related to our work. If you are bothered by your lack of memory, you can take an online course on improving one’s memory to sharpen your memory and increase work productivity.  

Tip #5: Take a break

While this sounds counterproductive, taking a break is an excellent strategy to be more productive at work because it allows your brain and body to recharge. A few minutes of break time will help your mind rest and mentally reset, thus boosting your performance and maximizing output. 

These are the signs that your body naturally signals you to take a rest: 

  • You become forgetful because you are overwhelmed with too many tasks. 
  • You struggle to concentrate and finish a task. For example, you find yourself reading a single line repeatedly. 
  • Your brain is fully loaded with information that you cannot take anymore.
  • You are easily distracted and have trouble picking up the task where you left off. 
  • It takes longer than expected to finish the tasks. 

If you notice these signs, it is time for you to take a break from your work. Productive people prioritize rest to keep them mentally healthy and happy with their work.

There is no exact formula for taking a break and no exact number of required breaks. However, you can try the Pomodoro Technique as a guide. 

Pomodoro Technique is a simple timing technique that breaks down work into intervals. With this technique, you can have a five-minute break for every twenty-five minutes of work. After repeating this four times, your next break will be fifteen to thirty minutes longer. 

Avoid venting out with your co-workers or scrolling and checking your social media accounts during your break because these can worsen your mental fatigue and prevent you from fully detaching from your work. 

Instead, you can take a walk, do stretching, meditate, play games, or take a power nap when taking a break to keep your mind off work. This way, you re-engage to your task fully prepared with a fresh mind and a better-rested body. 

Tip #6: Don’t multitask

While it seems productive to do two or more tasks at once, many studies report that multitasking makes you achieve less than you think. 

The switching of attention back and forth between the two tasks lowers your efficiency because it disrupts concentration, makes you forget details, and makes you commit more mistakes in your work. So, avoid multitasking; monotask instead. 

Monotasking is focusing on a short, concrete task at a time, which can improve your concentration. Thus, it increases your efficiency and optimizes your productivity. 

To effectively monotask, set a concrete goal of what task you want to finish and how much time is allotted for a specific task. Setting a time limit for each work and taking breaks in-between will make you complete more jobs than expected. 

Tip #7: Self-Care

Self-care involves eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise. Even the basics of taking good care of yourself can reduce stress, improve your mood and stamina, and enhance your cognitive function. As a result, you can be more efficient and productive in your work and day-to-day life. 

Eat healthy food to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. Plan your meals beforehand to eat exactly on time before you get hungry. Maintaining a consistent glucose level through eating small meals can help stop the spikes and drops in blood sugar, which are bad for the brain and productivity.

Sleep is also a crucial factor that can affect your productivity. Lack of sleep can result in lack of concentration, difficulty learning and retaining new information, moodiness, emotional instability, and irritability, affecting your work and interpersonal relationships with others. 

Getting enough sleep minimizes distractibility and improves your focus and mood, making it easier to get the tasks done. 

Regular exercise can improve concentration, enhance creativity, sharpen your memory, and strengthen mental stamina.

This study also found that employees who exercise during their break are more productive, collaborate better with others, and effectively manage their time and tasks. 

Tip #8: Establish boundaries

Establishing boundaries can help you maintain a work-life balance and prevent yourself from burning out. Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) report showed that having a work-life balance can increase motivation, lower the rate of absences, lessen susceptibility to stress and sickness, and better productivity and efficiency.

Besides establishing physical boundaries at home, inform your workmates that you will only entertain work-related messages at a particular time. This way, they will know when to communicate with you so that your personal time is not interrupted. 

Set a water-tight psychological boundary to keep you from being tempted by the things around you, such as your favorite food on the plate. Be disciplined and do work tasks during your work hours and personal tasks after work hours to avoid compromising personal productivity.

Lastly, learn to say “no” to tasks that are too much to take at the moment. Avoid overcommitting work. Be realistic about your situation, and honestly inform your manager or co-worker about it. 

Tip #9: Effectively use meeting time

A meeting is a time to check and communicate with your co-workers when working remotely. A study in the Journal of Organizational Behavior found that teams who take time to meet for debriefs had improved productivity by brainstorming and producing innovative solutions to the problems. 

However, a frequent meeting that is not critical for the business and employee’s welfare can rob off employee’s time on other responsibilities. 

Before scheduling a meeting, assess your agendas, whether gathering all your employees is needed, and how much time the conference will consume. This information can help your workers adjust and allocate their time for said meeting and not compromise other tasks and responsibilities. You can also do a micro-meeting of 15 minutes to disseminate information and make decisions. 

Wrapping Up

Workers’ productivity is so much more than increasing efficiency and maximizing output. It is also about taking care of your employees and taking care of yourself as workers to better function and carry out assigned tasks and responsibilities satisfactorily. 

We have laid out the tips for improving productivity while working from home. You can test and experiment with these tips until you find the ones effective for you. 

If you are still having issues with your personal productivity or your company’s productivity, an online productivity course is available. You can try the Personal Productivity course from Iris Reading. 

They offer lifetime access to the learning materials, have 33 instructional materials, a bonus of three webinars about productivity, and a certificate of completion, which guarantees improvements in your productivity level. 

A productive worker is a happy worker. Take the Personal Productivity course now.

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