Working from home

The future is now, even if we may be a little bit too distracted to realise it just yet. 

Although many businesses have been operating on some form of work from home (WFH) policy for a number of years, the devastating emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic has pushed more companies and workers than ever into making the transition from the office to the home-office. 

The development of remote technology and automation has meant that more businesses than ever are in a position to allow employees to work from home, which is highly fortunate when it comes to longevity in the time of Coronavirus, but it begs the question; is the WFH lifestyle a productive one? 

Despite a wide array of creature comforts available at arm’s length and a higher number of potential distractions, current research suggests that WFH can actually greatly benefit the output of workers as opposed to life in the office. 

According to a leading 2019 survey on the topic of WFH, Airtasker found that home-based workers found benefits in the elimination of commuting times and the development of healthier lifestyles that ultimately led to better levels of productivity.

However, it’s fair to say that the spectre of procrastination is still a daunting one for many workers, and productivity isn’t as binary as the research suggests. With this in mind, let’s have a look at some of the numbers behind the WFH productivity polemic: 

Remote Productivity

It would be reasonable for employers to expect something of a drop in employee productivity while embracing WFH. After all, home is readily associated with relaxation and generally switching off. However, the aforementioned Airtasker study suggests that the opposite is, in fact, the case. 

Statistically speaking, remote workers effectively worked 1.4 more days each month compared to their office-based counterparts, totalling as much as 16.8 extra days of work on a yearly basis. 

Even more interesting is that researchers have also found that home-based employees have found the WFH life more stressful than that of a predominantly office-based job. Around 29% of WFH employees surveys expressed stress at maintaining a healthy work-life balance, as opposed to just 23% of office workers. 

Furthermore, as much as 54% of WFH employees claimed to be ‘overly stressed during the workday’, compared to 49% of workers based in an office environment. 45% of remote workers felt ‘high levels of anxiety during the workday’ as opposed to just 42% of office workers, while similar numbers of WFH and in-house workers admitted to procrastinating on tasks – at 37% and 35% respectively. 

The fact that WFH clearly has benefits to be found in terms of productivity means that businesses may feel a little bit less concerned about adapting to remote work. However, it’s important for anybody engaging in WFH scenarios to adapt to their environments in order to fend off the prospect of procrastination in order to work to their full potential. With this in mind, let’s look at the figures that demonstrate how to keep productive while at home:

Ways To Stay Productive

With research appearing to favour the productivity of WFH employees, let’s take a deeper look at how they achieve their better levels of productivity. 

The first interesting stat regarding productivity at home is that WFH workers typically enforce break times into their schedules and attempt to use discipline in following them. 

Statistics suggest that the most effective way of staying productive is by invoking established break times into their days. 37% of respondents insisted that proper breaks are their most significant way of keeping switched on at work, while nearly ⅓ of those surveyed said working to recognised business hours helps to retain their levels of focus. 

30% of respondents advise keeping to-do lists as a form of proactively keeping track of their productivity while WFH. 

The development of technology astute tools like Evernote has no doubt evolved to become an asset to many WFH employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. 

How To Avoid Procrastination

WFH employees can only realise their productive potential if they’re willing to combat the threat of procrastination, which will undoubtedly hinder their ability to complete deadlines and tasks. 

Similarly to Evernote, there are a range of great premium-quality services and apps that have been made available in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. OpenForBusiness is a resource hub that’s painstakingly collected a range of conferencing, task management and password protection tools that users can access for free while COVID-19 has forced global lockdowns across the world. 

Fundamentally, it’s vital to plan your day accordingly before your WFH. Provided that you’re aware of what your daily jobs are, and understand the importance of breaking up your day around regular break times and a lunch period, it’s reasonable to expect your distractions to be less influential and your working time to be more productive.