There are events in life which act as catalysts for change. The year 2020 has seen a huge shift in the work-from-home culture due to the pandemic. This has opened up a new world of possibilities – will working remotely be the new normal?
It certainly seems like that is the direction businesses and companies are going in, by design or by circumstance. More businesses are now looking for freelancers and consultants working remotely to get their work done!
But like anything in life, there are always two sides to a coin, and working from home has its set of advantages and disadvantages.
As more and more people transition to remote work, one of the biggest concerns is managing working from home productivity levels. Companies have this concern with employees who are working remotely, and if you are a Digital Marketer or Freelancer, you likely face the challenge of how to improve your productivity when working from home on a day to day basis. After all, with greater freedom, comes greater responsibility!
So how do you best tackle your working from home productivity challenge?
Let’s first begin with the benefits of working remotely and then we’ll discuss the disadvantages of working from home, and the productivity tips that you can apply.
Advantages of Working From Home
1. Work-Life Balance & Flexible Schedule
One of the biggest benefits of working remotely is that you can manage your time in a way that incorporates all areas of your life. You are able to be more task oriented rather than just being at a designated space for a specified number of hours feeling distracted and sapped of focus (as is often the case with an office work environment). You are also healthier and happier as you are able to spend time with your family/friends, doing things you love, personal health and other activities. Life is more than just our work, and it gives you the ability to have a balanced life.
2. No Commute Stress
Travelling to work involves spending hours stuck in traffic or travelling to our offices. Our time and energy are unnecessarily depleted. Taking the commute out of the equation frees up more time to be productive with work and life.
3. Comfort to Choose Your Work Environment
You have the freedom to create a space that inspires you and works for you. You can always move or work in a different space on a different day. This influences your productivity, and helps you to get more done while feeling motivated. A change of place and pace is always nice. But when you’re at home, just don’t get too comfortable!
4. Avoid the Office Politics
No more unnecessary office chatter and gossip. You can actually stay focused and increase your productive time and output.
Your travel costs, food expenses, clothes expenses are all minimized in a work from home environment. This contributes to significantly lower spending through the month and helps you save more money! You also focus more on the essential need.
Now before we dive into work from home productivity tips, let’s discuss some of the disadvantages and biggest hurdles in working remotely.
Disadvantages of Working From Home
These are aspects of working from home that we all need to be mindful about as they can hamper our productivity levels and output. They can also have an adverse impact on our mental and physical health, and need to be managed well. Here are a few disadvantages:
1. Lack of Defined Work Timings
You can end up overworking yourself because there are no defined work timings, and so you work continuously. This is psychologically not good, as you never end up switching off from work mode! This can lead to increased stress and anxiety.
2. Distractions and Interruptions
There can often be interruptions in the home environment by family, or the household chores that need to get done. There are alaso other distractions, such as TV. When left to yourself, it can be easy for your mind to wander or for your awareness to be extended to your home environment and needs. Having the fridge accessible at all times doesn’t help either.
3. Lack of Socialization and Networking
Whichever industry you’re in, working from home can cut you off from the social aspects of an office work environment and opportunities of networking. It can lead to a sense of loneliness. You would need to make an effort yourself to create such opportunities of socialization and engagement with people. It may also result in you being out of the loop a sto what’s going on, and managing communication with clients or team members.
4. Sedentary Lifestyle
You can end spending hours at your work desk at home or lazing around indoors. If you don’t have a proper work space, it can have an impact on your posture, leading to the all too familiar neck and shoulder aches! Not to mention headaches from working on digital devices all day long.
Working From Home Productivity Tips
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and consistent effort.” – Paul J Meyer
Productivity is not going to manifest itself without your effort. Working from home comes with a different set of responsibilities along with the freedom. Learning to manage it well can allow you to experience the true benefits and freedom that comes along with this type of work environment.
So let’s get into some work from home productivity tips that you can implement to increase your productivity:
1. Hold Yourself Accountable
Have a strong work ethic and hold yourself accountable. When you’re working from home, no one is monitoring you. It is your responsibility to stay self-motivated, inspired and on top of every task on your to-do list.
2. Create a Structured Routine
Craft a routine to give your day some much needed structure. This will help you to have adefined work time and manage your well being as well. It’s important to take care of your physical needs and set your body clock right. Such as eating your meals on time (don’t skip meals in the name of work!), sleep on time, get enough rest are some of the things you can do to stay fresh and at your optimum best through the day. This will help you to stay focused and be more productive.
3. Stay Active
Exercise has a powerful impact on your physical and mental health. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to keep sitting in one place for long periods of time, or sitting with bad posture. Keep scheduled breaks to remind yourself to get on your feet and move from time to time. Activity can reduce stress and help you get back to work feeling rejuvenated.
4. Take Breaks and Be Present
Don’t forget to give time to doing things that inspire you! Be present and detox from digital devices periodically. Working remotely involves continuous interaction with digital devices in some form or another, therefore it’s important to take a step back from it and be present where you are, and do something you enjoy. Whether its reading a book, playing an instrument, going to the beach or park, spending time with family or meeting a friend.
5. Have a Defined Work-Space
A dedicated workspace trains and signals your brain that it is time to be productive. Since you don’t have an office environment built for you, you have to create the right environment for yourself. Don’t lay on your bed. Invest in a desk and ergonomic chair. Keep your space clean and clutter free, so you can focus completely and single-mindedly on the tasks at hand.
6. Get Ready for Work
Wear clothes that make you feel ready to work. Being comfy has its perks (and something you can definitely indulge in at times), but when you need to get down to business, wearing something that makes you feel confident can have a great impact on your mindset! So try to get ready as you would when you’re going out.
7. Use Productivity Tools
Use organizers and to-do apps to keep track of your work items. You don’t need to take on the battle alone, there are a variety of productivity tools and productivity apps available online that are designed to aid you in organizing your tasks, scheduling your time and collaborating with teams to be your most productive self. Always keep a diary and note down anything important.
8. Stay Motivated & Avoid Procrastination
When you find yourself low on motivation, do something that inspires you and then come back to your work. Another productivity tip to avoid procrastination is to get the harder work out of the way when you feel your focus and energy is at its best. You can also use the 5-min rule to trick your brain into starting work and committing to do at least 5 mins of the task. Getting started is the hardest part, and once you do you’ll find that you end up finishing the task or doing a lot more than the 5 mins. This helps you avoid procrastinationg your work and staying up-to-date with your work.
Best Productivity Books
“Read 500 pages…every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” – Warren Buffet
Books have the power to inspire and infuse us with knowledge that is underrated in a world saturated with mindless content on social media. We are all a victim to it. But reading the right books can help on our journey of growth and evolution.
Below I have listed some of the best productivity books out there which are worth reading:
- The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
- Atomic Habits – James Clear
- Deep Work – Cal Newport
- The One Thing – Gary Keller