I miss springing up from the comfort of my sheets as the morning sun strikes its rays through the windows. I miss the office rush, the sound of the alarm buzzing in my ears, shaking the sleepiness off of me with a hot shower, some light half-hearted breakfast, and dashing to another day of hustle at work.
However, the entire world fumbled into an uncharted territory with the blow of a global pandemic. Offices were to be shut down, with only 10% of their workforce restricted to commuting for work. This threw several companies and employees into a whirlwind. A routine that the majority of us were consistently used to, for years, is now no longer the new norm. The concept of ‘working from home’, although not entirely new, was still a strange concept to grasp for a large sector of IT professionals, business workers, and employees from several sectors.
A lot was at stake. Questions like, ‘Does work from home tamper with an employee’s productivity?’, ‘How can a team engage, when the workforce can no longer meet?’, ‘Will online meetings and conferences suffice to run an entire organisation?’, and ‘How can a company onboard its new employees and make them feel at home by the work from home policy?’ arose.
A lot of studies point to the fact that work from home, in most cases, has increased the productivity levels of an employee. First off, a huge chunk of time that was spent commuting to work, was no longer going to be a problem. This in-turn would also cut down on travel expenses. Parking costs, professional attire expenses, maintenance, eating out— mundane actions that we would not have realized cost as much, would now be avoided and help you save money. Secondly, work from home allows us the freedom to customize our work environment, leading it to a healthier work lifestyle.
Although there are several benefits to working from home, the downsides of the same cannot completely be ignored. A survey says that 70% of the organisations had one staggering concern — What if remote working can lead to a fall in productivity? It’s not entirely impossible, considering the other facts like staying in the comfort of our own homes can make us unprecedentedly lazy. We could develop a resistance to learning and exploring. A fall in productivity can ultimately make us plan and execute our plans poorly.
So, this prompts a clear-cut, contemplative question — how does one remain motivated and enhance productivity levels when working from home?
1. Use a scheduler/calendar:
Planning your day by scheduling your meetings, setting reminders for the same can help save a lot of time. Using something as simple as a Google calendar can make you feel more organized with your work. As I started planning my meetings, preparing my work schedule, I realized I was working much more efficiently than I used to.
2. Set goals for the day:
By noting down what you would like to achieve from your day, you’re also subconsciously getting yourself pumped and excited for everything you’re about to do.
In fact, I’ve come to notice that when I have an explicit vision of everything I want to accomplish on that day, I look forward to ticking off the items in the list.
3. Challenge yourself and stay self-motivated:
A study shows that 16.97% of the employees are challenge-driven. Push yourself to take up the right kind of challenges through your work.
If my work is too challenging, I find it taxing and tiresome to continue. On the other hand, if I breeze through the work like a cakewalk, then I’m more likely to lose interest.
So it’s important to find the balance and challenge yourself rightly. Push yourself to the best of your abilities to stay motivated. At the end of the day, self-motivation is the only kind of plunge we all need to keep thriving.
4. Minimize distractions:
Create your own work environment at home. I definitely work better in a quieter place, with some soft music playing in the background, and nothing but my laptop and work setup accompanying me on my work desk. Understand what works for you, and what doesn’t, and customize your surroundings accordingly. Ask yourself the necessary questions. Do you work better when there’s absolute silence or do you need that TV running in the background? Do you need to have those documents and books right on the table by your laptop or do you need to clear the clutter? Question. Prioritize. Hustle.
5. Differentiate between your work time and me-time:
One of the hardest struggles of any passionate, workaholic employee is to maintain that very much needed work-life balance. You could immerse yourself into work for hours and lose track of time. I do the same from time to time, and I often feel extremely tired by the end of the day.
While it is great to be passionate at what you do, it is also incredibly unhealthy to work for hours at a stretch. So, take breaks. Go for a walk or say hello to your treadmill that lies at the back of one of your rooms and hasn’t been used in a long time. Indulge yourself and practice that hobby that you’ve always wanted to get your hands on.
6. Inculcate the Pomodoro Technique:
The Pomodoro Technique is said to work wonders to enhance your productivity levels. Choose a task that you want to complete. Work on it diligently for 25 minutes. Time yourself or set an alarm. Take a 5 minute break after the said 25 minutes. In this small break, you could do whatever calms or relaxes your mind. For example, listen to a song, or read an article. This completes one Pomodoro cycle. Continue the same cycle for 4 times and then take a longer break. Practicing this technique can boost your productivity by a large margin. It certainly has boosted mine.
6. Set meetings with your colleagues to catch up:
Social distancing has kept us out of the loop from our colleagues. Being used to working in a team but currently being restricted to the same because of the pandemic can often leave us feeling unmotivated and dejected.
Set weekly/monthly virtual meetings with your colleagues to stay in the loop. Too many meetings can again be distracting. I make sure I catch up with my colleagues once every couple of weeks to stay in the loop.
7. Schedule video conferences with your team:
Be it an onboarding process, or discussing a new project, or the launch of a new product — whatsoever the important reason, scheduling video conferences can motivate you, as an employee, to propel forward with your work.
However, there are some guidelines to be followed for video conferencing for remote workers. I understand the right etiquette for video conferencing and follow the same.
To make my life easy and save time, I would look for productivity tools that sum up the meetings for me!