6 Productivity Tips Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak
Published: April 28, 2020
Many businesses around the globe have made the transition to a remote workforce setup since the COVID-19 outbreak. These mandatory ‘work from home’ policies can come with certain challenges for both company and employees.
The most concerning aspect as a business owner is maintaining your employees’ productivity while working remotely. On the other hand, an employee can feel more pressure to perform in an unfamiliar environment causing undue stress and even burnout. However, there are several ways to alleviate this and make working from home both productive and enjoyable.
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Work from Home Benefits
Having a remote workforce reaps several benefits that you may not realize right away. First, remote work can limit the negative effects on business disruption during a crisis, much like this outbreak we’re experiencing. Second, allowing employees to work remotely can save costs on building technology infrastructure and leasing expensive office space. This study even showed that companies saved $44 billion USD in 2015 by allowing their employees to telecommute. And third, employee retention can increase through flexible working arrangements. In fact, 76% of employees said that they’re more willing to stay in a company where there are flexible working arrangements.
Even before the outbreak, companies were looking for different ways to increase employee productivity and save on their bottom line. Today, working remotely is not an option anymore, it’s the answer to many business continuity plans during this difficult time.
Work from Home Productivity Tips
Here are a few ‘Work from Home’ tips that you and your employees can practice to ensure productivity and avoid burnout:
1. Dress to Impress – Yourself
That’s right. Get dressed even if no one will be able to see it except for yourself. Establishing the routine of dressing up and preparing for the day ahead conditions your mind that there’s work that needs to be done. Besides, every now and then you’ll need to join in video meetings, so you’ll want to look your best. It’s tempting to stay in pajamas all day, but I can assure you, it will affect your working mindset.
2. Assign a Designated Workspace in Your Home
Having a designated workspace will help set the boundaries between work and home. For instance, if you have an extra room in your house that you’re not using, you can transform it into your home office. Or if you lack space, dedicating even just a small nook will keep everything separated. Like me, I’m writing this in my spare dining room table. This way, I don’t associate work with other household tasks. While it’s tempting to bring your laptop to bed and just doze off whenever you feel like it, you still have tasks at hand, so do what’s expected of you. It’s easy to just give in and watch Netflix all day, but a designated workspace will give you the persistence you need to work. That’s why your customized home office should feel detached from the rest of your house.
3. Plan Out Tasks Beforehand
When working from home, it’s easy to lose sight of tasks and deadlines because your superiors can’t physically see you. You can monitor your own productivity by planning ahead of time. At the end of each day, make a list of tasks to be done for the following day. On the next day, review your priorities and make sure that you stick with them. I guarantee you, being able to accomplish your set tasks and ticking off every checkbox is a rewarding feeling.
Your daily work will flow smoothly through task planning. However, it’s also crucial to plan your breaks. Overworking kills productivity that will eventually lead to burnout. Giving yourself short breaks from time to time allows more creative juices to get going. What works in an office setup can also be applied at home. For us in Telework PH, we give our agents two staggered 15-min breaks on top of the 60-min lunch break to optimize productivity.
4. Determine Your Optimal Productivity Period
Your productivity period might be different from when you’re in the office as compared to when working from home. It’s important to identify when your productivity period is and schedule around it. For instance, you may discover that your most productive period is in the morning. Then, use your mornings to do your most challenging tasks and in the afternoon, do mundane, easy tasks like checking emails and answering messages.
5. Stay Connected with Your Peers
One downside to working from home is the feeling of being alienated from your coworkers. You may not realize this but socializing with your peers keeps you going for the rest of the day and cuts the monotony of work. To resolve this, make an effort to reach out and connect with them. With the advent of communication apps like Slack and Zoom, it’s easy to conduct regular team meetings and conference calls. It’s also ideal to conduct one-on-one meetings to catch up with them.
6. Practice Work-Life Balance Even at Home
Believe it or not, work-life balance is even harder to achieve at home. For many employees, working from home is a privilege granted to them, that’s why they feel like they should be always on and ready to work. This is the reason why the feeling of burnout escalates. To avoid this, practice setting up strict work hours. By establishing specific work hours, you’ll realize that you’ll be more productive, and you’ll achieve a healthy work-life balance at home. Being constantly online can also be a contributing factor to burnout. Instead, try doing hobbies that will take your mind away from work like reading a book or doing yoga.
All in all, these are just a few tips to help you create boundaries between your work and home life to gradually avoid burnout. With the situation we’re currently living in, it’s still ideal to put your best foot forward.