5 ways to make it as productive as possible
By Donna McGeorge
In 2019 I remember having a conversation with the CEO of a national organisation who vowed and declared that no-one would ever work from home in that organisation. I suspect the CEO had read and perhaps bought into Marissa Mayer’s philosophy at Yahoo, who in 2013 decreed that employees would no longer be permitted to work remotely as it was more productive and collaborative to be together.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2020, and the CEO had no choice. All of us were sent home, some for longer periods than others, leading to mid 2023, where remote and hybrid working are being fully integrated into the ways of working for most organisations.
Whilst some organisations are pushing for a return to office locations, remote and hybrid is fast becoming an employee value proposition that appeals to many.
We’ve come a long way from the first “telecommuters” of the 1970’s and there’s no doubt that there have been plenty of productivity gains over the past three years to ensure that remote and hybrid work has proven its worth.
Now that the rush is over, and we are settled in for a longer haul, what have we learned that will make working from home as productive as possible for 2023 and beyond?
Establishing a daily routine that includes regular work hours, breaks, and exercise can help create a sense of structure and ensure that you stay on track. For example, some people find sticking to a normal 9-5 work schedule helps them stay focused and productive during the day. It also leaves room to bookend or incorporate exercise to maintain physical and mental well-being.
Whilst the jury is out, many find that sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to their health and productivity. Standing or adjustable desks to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day help combat a potential sedentary lifestyle. By alternating between sitting and standing, you can not only improve posture but get more done.
Having a designated workspace helps focus on work and minimises distractions. Ideally, your workspace should be separate from your living area or relaxation space and should be equipped with what you need to do your job effectively. Not everyone has the privilege of a study or spare room. However, setting up the corner of a bedroom into a makeshift office allows for better concentration when working, and relaxation when not.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you need to be 100% on 100% of the time. Setting clear boundaries with your co-workers and family members about when you’re available and when you’re not, can help reduce interruptions and improve your overall productivity. I’ve seen many examples of “do not disturb” signs stuck on bedroom doors, and even on the back of chairs. My experience of boundaries is that when people are aware they are good with them, as evidenced by the normalising of school drop off and pick up these days.
If you’re feeling tired or unproductive, consider taking a power nap. Research shows that short naps (20-30 minutes) can improve cognitive function and alertness. During the pandemic and lock down years, many people discovered benefits of power napping when struggling with afternoon fatigue. By incorporating a 20-minute nap into your daily routine, you can rejuvenate and maintain productivity throughout the day.
The key to productivity in a remote work setting lies in finding the right balance between discipline and adaptability. Trying these strategies, will unlock your potential for a rewarding work-from-home experience in 2023 and beyond.
Donna McGeorge is a global authority on productivity, and best-selling author of the “It’s About Time” book series. Her latest book, “Join the ChatGPT Revolution” (published by Wiley) was released earlier this year.
Find out more at www.donnamcgeorge.com