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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A Comprehensive Guide to Improving Business Productivity From Home

Working from home can be difficult for both employees and employers. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your role in the business may be - being thrown into an environment that you traditionally associate with relaxing, watching TV, and doing non-work related things can be a big challenge. You’re expected to keep up the same level of productivity and ensure workflow is optimal, all the while surrounded by extreme distractions. It’s even harder if your family is home at the same time! So, what can you do to improve your business productivity from home? Read on and you’ll learn a few things in this comprehensive guide:

1. Review Your Equipment

Start by reviewing your equipment. Do you need an upgrade? Does your team need an upgrade? If working from home is going to be a regular thing, using company money to purchase equipment could be a good idea. Comfortable chairs, desks, and computers are often key to actually getting any work done. Buying second hand and refurbished can cut back the costs and ensure equipment is still high quality. Noise cancelling headphones can have a profound effect on productivity, too.

2. Invest In Automation and Collaboration Software

Automation and collaboration software will save so much time and hassle, keeping everybody on the same page and ensuring that motivation and morale is at an all time high. People’s most productive hours can be spent on what they actually do best, too, rather than work that can be done by a machine. You can check out the benefits of invoice processing with DocuWare to give you a good idea of what one simple piece of software could do for your business overall. 

You’d be surprised at how slowly introducing new software can impact your business and productivity. You can also consider other tools like a virtual business phone system, which can boost collaboration within your company. Boasting several useful features, team members can seamlessly connect and communicate from different locations or departments. Whether it’s project updates, client interactions, or internal discussions, the system ensures everyone is on the same page. Plus, the ability to easily share voicemails and call recordings among team members fosters better information sharing and problem-solving.

3. Encourage and Take Breaks

Breaks are needed. Burnout is a real thing, and you’re not always more productive the longer you sit at the computer. In fact, studies show that short breaks can have a positive impact on memory, productivity, and morale. Try the pomodoro method, where you work intensely for 25 minutes, no distractions, then take a 5 minute break. If you can do this 4 times then you will likely get more done in a much shorter amount of time.

4. Create A Suitable Place To Focus

Creating your very own workspace where you can focus and get things done may be more or less difficult depending on what your house looks like. An open plan home may have less opportunities for peace and quiet, which is why noise cancelling headphones can be a savoir. A good place to work has the right equipment, is clean and tidy, has natural light, and even some plants. Making it not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing and inspiring can make a huge difference to your productivity and satisfaction.

5. Stay Up To Date Over Emails

Staying up to date with everybody over emails can ensure a cut back on pointless meetings. Even if there’s nothing really to report, setting out emails can help everybody to still feel like part of the workforce. People can become complacent when working at home alone.

 Image Source: Pexels

6. Be Understanding

Being understanding, both of yourself and your team, is a must. The seasons don’t stay the same year round, so why should productivity be at an all time high year round? We’re affected by the change in seasons, and we’re not superhuman. Be understanding, not only of the inevitable teething problems when just starting to work at home, but of things that slow you down. There are many distractions in the workplace, and many people will have to do twice as much once they work at home. Open communication will ensure that your team can come to you if they have any big issues and need to make changes. Having a caring and understanding attitude is key.

7. Understand The Perils of Multitasking

You can achieve anything if you focus on just one thing at a time, but many people decide to multi-task instead, and this can be a big issue. Productivity doesn’t mean doing more work at once. It means working on the right things. And when you focus on one right thing after the other, you can achieve pretty much anything - but you need to develop hyper focus on one thing first. It may feel like you’re doing more initially, but you could be slowing yourself right down and overcrowding your brain.

8. Work On Your Personal Projects, Too

Make sure your personal projects don’t fall to the wayside when working from home - and encourage others you work with to do the same. This gives a respite from work, and ensures that satisfaction is high. Your team should feel like they are achieving their own projects and goals, too, and not just helping you to achieve and conquer yours. Many workplaces are implementing this with great success.

9. Practice Self Care

Self care can help you to feel rejuvenated, avoid burnout, and ensure you’re able to work the way you need to. It’s all about how you rest, not just how hard you work! Self care could mean going out for a walk, reading a book, meditating, taking a bath - anything. Doing these things throughout the day can break the day up and help you to keep your head screwed on.

10. Know What Being ‘Busy’ Means

Being busy doesn’t always mean being productive. It can mean doing things that don’t really matter in order to feel productive. Learning how to prioritize effectively is crucial. Pick three things that you absolutely have to do on any given day and make sure you tick them off your list first. Anything else you do on top of this is a bonus, and you’ll automatically feel more accomplished.

11. Have Rituals and Triggers In Place

Having rituals and triggers in place can help you to get ready for work. For instance, many will have a morning ritual to set them up for the day, as well as an evening ritual to get out of work mode. It’s also a good idea to have triggers to signal when it’s time to work again. For instance, putting on noise cancelling headphones and your glasses and pressing play on a classical playlist. If you do this differently each day, it may be difficult to get into the right headspace to work productively.

Image Source: Pexels

12. Educate Yourself Regularly

Educating yourself regularly should give you a good knowledge base to ensure you’re as productive as can be. You don’t always need to read self help and improvement, but doing so can definitely help. Make sure you listen to podcasts and audiobooks, too!

13. Remove Distractions From Your Day

Before you start anything, make sure you remove distractions from your day. You may want to block social media on your main working device and put your phone somewhere out of site. This will be different depending on how you get distracted, but it can be a big help.

14. Set Boundaries With Your Family and Friends

Your family and friends may think that they can contact you or visit you whenever they want when you work from home. You absolutely must set boundaries if you’re going to get anything done. Make sure they know that they should check with you first, and that they can't just assume you’re free. Distractions like this may be welcome sometimes, but other times they may get you out of work mode and leave you unable to continue.

15. Get Some Exercise

Exercise is a great mood booster, and many find that when they do it in the morning it helps with focus and productivity. Even a short walk outside can help!

16. Get Dressed and Take A Shower

Getting dressed in actual clothes and taking a shower can be a good trigger to help you prepare to work. Working in your pajamas might be painted as a ‘dream’ by many but it often leaves people who work from home feeling lazy and unfocused.

17. Manage Your Energy

Managing your time is one skill, but what about managing your energy? Make sure you know when you are at your most energetic so you can use those hours to your advantage. Don’t waste your most productive hours scrolling social media and doing things that don’t really matter! Your peak performance period is usually a 3-5 hour window when you will have energy, willpower, motivation, and mental clarity. If you’ve ever begrudged yourself for not feeling that way all day long, stop now. Just identify when your PPP is and you will be able to use that window to get as much done as possible before doing less mentally taxing tasks. Regardless of what is on the agenda for the day, you’ll get a lot done.

Remember, many people are at their most productive 2 hours after waking. Pay close attention and develop your own PPP!

Are you ready to get more done from home, and help others to do the same? Leave your thoughts below!

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