The year 2020 has seen a complete restructuring of the Australian workforce, with working from home becoming the new norm for many employees and CEOs alike. According to a study done by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in mid-August, around 45% of all working Australians were working from home with that number rising to 70% in Victoria, due to stricter COVID restrictions.
While many people will slowly be returning to their workplaces across Australia as restrictions ease, it is expected that many workplaces are set to transition to a physical-digital hybrid environment, with more employees working from home on a regular basis. In fact, Keith Buckley, the Managing Director and Area Vice-President for Citrix (Australia and New Zealand) stated that he believes working from home will soon become an integral part of Australia's working culture. This statement is not surprising and is further supported by a survey completed by the Financial Review which found that two-thirds of workers believe they are actually more productive when working from home.
Taking all of this into consideration, whether you enjoy working from home or not, it seems that we should all gear up for remote working to become the future of business in Australia.
Five Tips on Improving Your Productivity When Working from Home
While many workers find that they are more productive when working from home, many are still struggling to settle into this new normal. There are many factors that contribute to the ease in which people are able to productively work from home, such as their home environment, whether they have children to care for, their access to the necessary technology and any psychological disadvantages, just to name a few. However, there are measures that workers can take to improve their productivity levels when working remotely. Continue reading for a few tips we have compiled to assist you in making an easier transition from working in the office to working at home.
When working from home, it is often easy to slip into odd work hours, with a lot of people finding it difficult to develop a distinction between the workday and normal life. People may find themselves sleeping in, taking long and unproductive breaks throughout the day, or working late into the night. This not only grains on productivity and motivation levels, but can also have negative repercussions on mental, emotional, and physical health. Developing a regular work schedule plays an integral role in optimising productivity, reducing procrastination, and keeping a healthy work-life balance.
A popular daily work schedule involves working from 9:00am to 5:30pm with a lunch break, as is normal in an office setting – however, this can be tailored to suit the schedule and work requirements of each individual. By setting yourself in-office and out-of-office hours, you can find a happy balance between work and play – even though all may be done within the same four walls a good routine is key.
As simple as this may seem, dressing as though you are going into the office works wonders for your productivity. When you are not going to see another soul all day, it is tempting and easy to just wear track pants and a hoodie or whatever is most comfortable. This, though can make you feel sluggish and unmotivated. When you get dressed as if you are going into the office, it tells your mind that it is time to work which will bring you more energy and increasing productivity.
Creating a designated workspace creates associations in your mind that it is time to work. By setting up a clean and spacious desk with a supportive chair away from any commotion in your home provides a healthy workspace where you can focus on the task at hand. While relaxing on the couch as you send out emails, or even working from bed on those chilly winter mornings may be tempting, this can merge the work and relaxation cues in your mind, thereby making it more difficult to stay motivated and focussed on your work. Furthermore, keeping a space dedicated to work not only means that you are more productive during ‘office hours’, but that the rest of your home is for relaxation and fun – ensuring you maintain that all-important work-life balance.
The beauty of working at home is that you can personalise your space to suit your productivity needs. Maybe lighting a candle can keep you focused or playing music can give you that burst of energy you need. Some people even like to keep the TV on in the next room for a little background noise – whatever works best for you.
While many people feel like they have to overwork themselves in order to appear to be a reliable and hard-working employee to their superiors, this is not a healthy mindset to have, and actually reduces the productivity levels of employees (as shown in research done by Forbes). Employees that adhere to the “work hard” mindset, who miss their lunch break and work long hours, are far more likely to deal with chronic stress and anxiety, which often leads to a decrease in their quality of work and job burnout.
In contrast though, by taking regular and healthy breaks throughout the workday you will be able to release any built-up stress and refresh the mind. This then leads to a greater level of job satisfaction, improved mental health, boosts in creativity, and an overall increase in the all-important productivity levels.
This may seem simple and almost unrelated to work productivity but because we are experiencing social isolation, getting out of your workspace into the real world is crucial to keeping the mind healthy and happy. Getting some fresh air can refresh your mind and body and work wonders on your productivity levels. Try to get outside every day for some exercise, or even just to walk down to your local coffee shop – whatever you can squeeze into your schedule. By doing something as easy as stepping outdoors, you will break up your day and re-energise yourself mentally to take on the next task you have scheduled.
It isn’t looking like we’ll be returning to the office anytime soon – at least not in Victoria – so, now is the best time to perfect your working from home practice and set-up. So trial something new this week and who knows? Maybe you'll grow to love this new way of work life and find that your productivity levels match (or even better!) those that you have when you are in the office!