How to Stay Productive When Working from Home

February 24, 2023
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You can’t escape the fact that the world has changed pretty significantly over the last few years and that’s inevitably changed the way people work too, with almost half of the UK workforce now being home based for at least part of the week.

This has some real advantages. For example, working from home saves approximately 408 hours of commuting time a year and companies who facilitate working remotely have around 25% lower employee turnover. So far, so good. However, let’s be honest … there are some real challenges too.

Distractions are rife when you’re at home. Be it children, animals, the pile of washing or the overly talkative delivery driver, it can be really difficult to give due attention to the task at hand. So what can we do to help focus attention, minimise distraction and perhaps most importantly not end up totally burnt out?

Research shows that negative emotions narrow the ability to focus while positive emotions can broaden it; when people feel good, they are more creative, adaptable and efficient. Try to notice what information you’re consuming. Especially during the working day really try to limit the negativity you expose yourself to and where possible take an hour to do something that makes you feel good.

Be conscious too of what constitutes negativity. A quick look at the news, or a scroll through social media might not seem a big deal but notice how it really makes you feel. You might find you’re better off setting time limits for these activities, or restricting them to out of work hours. After all, nobody’s going to feel great sat at their desk on a dark winters day if they’ve just spent half an hour looking at somebody else’s pictures of a sun soaked private yacht in the Bahamas!

We all have two types of attention; Proactive - the two to the three hours a day that we are at our most productive; and Active - the few hours afterward where we are still able to focus but are not as effective.

For most of us our proactive attention peaks during the morning so this is the time we should use to generate new ideas or tackle the most important tasks of the day. Try to resist the temptation to simply get through emails as soon as the working day starts, you risk squandering your proactive most productive time.

Use your active attention time to catch up on emails, do routine jobs and take calls. Making a ‘to-do’ list at the end of every day can help you delegate your time most efficiently between proactive, and active hours the following day.

If you’ve got a large work project on the go try breaking it down into small chunks which not only makes it much more manageable, but also easier to stay with it. We’re less likely to have our productivity derailed if we allocate tasks into 15 minute slots and use these small increments to build towards the bigger goal.

Try and stick to a schedule too. We’re creatures of habit by design, so scheduling in break times, stopping for lunch and allowing yourself an hour to catch up on chores is a great way to keep your day moving in a positive direction! Making sure you fit in some time for what makes you feel good is imperative too. Go on a dog walk, do some exercise or finish that chapter of your book you keep putting off!

At YOPLA we’re here to help your business navigate the challenges of today’s world and tomorrow’s future. We can support you in creating a healthy, productive, digital work place that enables everybody to reach their potential. To start your digital transformation journey just send us an email or fill in the contact us form – we’d be delighted to speak to you!

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Co-Founder, Yopla
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