Working Smarter To Enhance Productivity During WFH

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Covid 19 has emerged as the great leveler and equalizer. No one has been spared – all of us are running scared. Amongst the list of infected – ordinary people leading ordinary lives, to sportspersons, politicians, Prime Minster of UK, Boris Johnson, to various Hollywood celebrities & eminent sportspersons. Regardless of economic status, nationality, gender, and race – people across nations these people have been impacted. Both on the personal and professional fronts, our lives have drastically changed. Equations have been reversed and people cannot do anything about it. 

As Work From Home becomes the new norm, we all appreciate the urgency and look at delivering more value from the tasks we are supposed to complete. There are only 24 hours in the day, so making the most of your time is vital to ensure you finish your tasks to ensure work from home productivity.  There are two ways increase your productivity–either put in more hours or work smarter. Most people prefer the option of working smarter.  Being more productive at work is not too tough, but it does require being more focused about how you manage your time.

Let’s look at some unconventional but effective ways to increase your productivity at work.

Breaks Matter : 

It sounds quite strange, but availing scheduled breaks can actually help heighten and improve your concentration. Detailed research has helped conclude that taking short breaks during long tasks actually helps you to maintain a sustained level of performance; but working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.

Standing meetings:

If the meeting is absolutely essential, then you can have a standing meeting! There is strong proof that standing meetings (yes – everyone in these meetings stands – no one is allowed to sit) can result in increased group involvement, decreased territoriality, and improved group performance. In WFH, if it’s a web-based meeting or a concall, make sure everyone stands!

Exercise breaks.

Leveraging work time to get in some exercise may actually help improve productivity, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. If possible, weave in specific set times during the workday for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what’s needed to clear your head and get your focus back. In WFH, take a stroll or do in-place jogging or a few pushups. 

Being proactive, not reactive.

Running around to get small issues resolved but overall ending up accomplishing nothing? Letting incoming phone calls and emails dictate how you spend your day,  means you do a solid job of putting out fires–but that may be all you get accomplished. My friend and fellow professional Shrijay from LegalWiz.in says, “Set aside time for responding to emails, because if they dictate what your day is going to look like, you will never get things done. Have a plan of attack at the start of each day, and then do your best to stick to it.” Especially in WFH, you can do without the extra distractions.

Notifications need to be “Offed”

Thanks to technology, we have these intruders called notifications – they sound off and the temptation is too much. No one can be expected to resist the allure of an email, voicemail, or text notification. During work hours, turn off your notifications, and instead allot a specific time to respond to & check email and messages. 

The 90-minute rule

An interesting finding that researchers at Florida State University have proved: elite performers (athletes, chess players, musicians, etc.) who work in intervals of no more than 90 minutes are more productive than those who work 90 minutes-plus. They also found that top performing subjects tend to work no more than 4.5 hours per day. If you really feel the need to increase your productivity at work, resist the temptation put in longer hours or pack more into your already-full calendar. Instead, take a step back, and think about ways you can work smarter, not harder.

Some interesting stats are

  • According to one study, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year. 
  • 29% of remote employees said they struggle with work-life balance, and 31% said they have needed to take a day off for their mental health.
  • One of the most effective ways workers can stay productive is by taking breaks throughout the day. The Pomodoro Technique is one such method for employees to decompress for a moment and come back refreshed and ready to focus.