It’s easy for us to fall into the vicious struggle of staying focused while rushing through the endless stream of work, only to realize we did not achieve as much as we’d hoped for at the end of the day. However, it’s important to keep in mind that working longer hours does not equal to working productively. So, how do we keep our heads in the game to reach our end game?
Proactively Set Goals And Communicate With Your Team
Being physically apart from your managers and colleagues makes synchronisation a challenge and communication is now more crucial than ever. We no longer have the advantage of walking up to our colleagues for a quick clarification or discussion hence, it’s important to proactively follow-up and go the extra mile in our communications.
Take the initiative to set quarterly goals and to-do lists with your manager and teammates. By doing so, your expectations and directions will be clear. Additionally, unforeseen circumstances or situations that occur during work can immediately be conveyed and fire fighting can be done to mitigate the situation.
In return, this alignment enables you to plan and carry out your tasks efficiently. Apart from that, meeting outcomes can be improved by providing sufficient references for better comprehension and deeper insights during discussions/ projects.
Frequently Connect With Others
Working from home for an extended period of time can make us lose our sense of belonging to the company and motivation to work as we, human beings, naturally crave for social interaction.
Aside from work, it’s also important to maintain social connections with our family and friends. Sometimes we can get too caught up in work and lose touch with close ones; however, the consequences are quite detrimental to our mental health, more than we’d expect.
Healthy relationships support good mental health, while social isolation and poor relationships can be risk factors for mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
Start by getting rid of our “busy mindset”. This is a mindset I’m very familiar with and has used it as an excuse countless times to decline hangouts or rush through family gatherings, making family time more stressful than enjoyable. We need to acknowledge the fact that everyone is busy and if others can make time out of their busy schedule for us, why can’t we?
So instead of quickly declining invitations, it’s time for us to be mindful of our decisions and make time to unwind and spend time with our loved ones.
Take Frequent “Microbreaks”
With the absence of social interactions and office routine, we sometimes tend to forget our breaks and work through lunch or dinner just to get the job done. This results in us being burnout, mentally and emotionally drained.
During our working hours in the office, we tend to take microbreaks without knowing. For instance, it could be getting up to get a cup of coffee from the pantry, heading to the toilet to freshen up or even colleagues striking a conversation with you. These little breaks take your eyes off the screen for a few moments, giving you small breaks.
Studies show employees that take mindful microbreaks at least three times a day feel more relaxed, focused and energetic. Microbreaks can be pretty much anything from stretching, getting a cup of water, watching funny videos or doing breathing exercise.
Incorporating microbreaks into our daily work life helps to boost our productivity because they break us out of our monotonous routine and allow us to refresh our minds. Most of us live by our calendars thus, the easiest way to pick up this practice is also to schedule them in our calendar.
If you’re more of a goal achiever, you can use microbreaks as a reward for completing small milestones. Achieving small goals during your workday also helps to keep you motivated so why not kill two birds with one stone?
Learn Something Useful Or Fun
This is a sentence we often come across and hear but may not know the significance of actually doing it. Learning something useful or fun brings us back to the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; self-actualisation. Maslow (1943) describes this level as the desire to realise one’s potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
Our productivity and motivation stem from doing something that makes us feel fulfilled, accomplished and making the most of ourselves. By learning something useful or fun, we’re contributing to our self-development and personal growth. There’s no clear definition of useful and fun - it can be anything from drawing to planting to learning new business strategies.
Putting our time to good use will help us to boost our self-achievement which translates into a boost of productivity when it comes to work.
Practice Good Work-Life Balance
More and more people are stressing the importance of mental health in the workplace. Practising a good work-life balance offers numerous positive effects such as lower risk of burnout, increased in well-being and lesser stress. In return, this will help boost our productivity and motivate us during work.
It’s not easy to achieve the perfect and ideal work-life balance but we can strive for a realistic one. Here are some tips on how to balance work and life when working remotely.
There will be days where we spend more time on work and other times, we have more time for ourselves or loved ones. We have to be more mindful of how we are spending our time and slowly adjust from there. Keep in mind that balance is achieved over time so as long as there is a balance overall, we’re doing fine.
Good Workspace Ergonomics
Having a good workspace ergonomics suited to your needs at home can improve your productivity significantly. It also reduces the risks of musculoskeletal injuries, eye strain and mental health.
Set up your workspace in a room with sufficient light and clear space to move around safely. Minimised clutter by only having the necessary on your desk to avoid visual distractions.
It is also essential to ensure that the equipment and furniture are appropriate to your needs. For example, we spend most time sitting down during work. Poorly designed chairs could lead to back strains and poor blood circulation/ muscle cramps therefore, the right chair goes a long way when grinding out the long hours.
Additionally, lighting plays an important role in affecting our mood. A low-lighted room can make us feel sleepy whereas, we may struggle to focus in an overly brightly-lighted room. It would be ideal to have our workspace in a room with lots of natural daylight however if that is not an option, then to have artificial lighting that allows us to see and work without getting headaches or irritation.
As we transition into flexible working styles, it’s important to keep in mind that our productivity comes from our mental and physical health as well as well-being. By taking care of ourselves well, we would be able to work more productively at work.