Many of us have been working remotely for over a year now. Whether we love it or hate it, remote work will be here for some time yet. The majority of employees want to keep working from home once the pandemic ends. That means employers could be looking at remote work as a long-term solution.
Although more than 80 percent of companies feel their transition to remote work has been successful, there are still concerns about work-from-home productivity levels. You’ll want to address productivity concerns before you add a permanent WFH clause to your employment contracts.
You might also want to take a look at these tips because there’s a good chance you could still improve your productivity.
Clean Up Your Space
You might not think the tidiness of your workspace is important, but it can make an enormous difference. Would you be able to find things faster with a little more organization? Don’t forget your digital spaces too. Where did you put that file?
Tidy workspaces impact our mental state as well. If you find yourself distracted or unable to concentrate, the culprit could be a messy desk!
It may sound silly, but mess and clutter weigh on our mental state. We might find we’re cranky, tired, or even apathetic if we spend most of our time in a messy space. Tidying up can help boost productivity since it clears distraction from our mental space.
You should aim to keep your workspace as decluttered as possible, with the exception of maybe a couple of personal items or a plant or two.
Flexibility and Breaks
While many people think their coworkers slack off in WFH environments, many of us found we were actually pulling long hours. Perhaps surprisingly, productivity didn’t increase. That has to do with productivity peaks.
Even with a regular 8-hour workday, we’re pretty worn out long before it’s time to clock out. A lot of people notice a “three o’clock slump,” and research backs this up: most workers are strikingly less productive in the late afternoon, even when they’re in the office.
One issue with WFH is that it’s tempting to cram all your work together. Instead of trying to power through, be sure to schedule regular breaks. You’ll also want to take a look at flexibility in scheduling. Someone might work very well in the early morning but burn out in the late afternoon. Some people do their best work late at night. Can you accommodate these workers’ peak productivity hours?
Doing so will help keep productivity higher.
Set Clear Boundaries
This is an important task for everyone in the organization. Employees need to set boundaries with each other, as well as with the other people in their home. They must be clear on the boundaries between work commitments and home commitments. Just because someone is home all day doesn’t mean they’re available to take care of household chores. Having 24/7 access to their workspace doesn’t mean people should always “be on” either.
Set expectations and boundaries with co-workers. Is it appropriate to email someone at 9 pm and assume you’ll get an immediate response? What if someone is working split shifts or a flexible schedule?
As the employer, you also need to set boundaries. Let your team know what is and isn’t appropriate. What are the expectations for responding to questions?
Boundaries also apply to who is responsible for what. You may have one employee who is always available to answer everything, but some questions are clearly not in their jurisdiction. Even if they can answer them, they should leave these queries to the appropriate team member. That helps them establish healthy boundaries and it ensures clear communication.
Get Help from the Right Technology
Of course, having the right technology on your side is also an important factor in WFH productivity. If you’re not already using an HRIS, it’s time to discover what one can do for your organization.