How To Feel Productive While Working From Home

Workplace Wellbeing
January 6, 2022
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At this point, talking about how hard it is to work from home is essentially a cliche. Employees are increasingly demanding remote work for the benefits it offers. For some, requesting remote work turns out to be something of a monkey’s paw. While commuting time is cut down, other negative factors and distractions arise. 

If you feel like you missed out on the presumed productivity boost, you’re not alone. Issues with productivity while working remotely are common and understandable. Not being in your conventional work environment with your coworkers leaves a lot of accountability on your shoulders.This can also put a lot of pressure and stress on a remote worker to be hyper productive, resulting in burnout. Employee wellness matters wherever it is that you work, and there are plenty of ways to make sure that you keep up a productive state of mind even when not in the office. If you’re a remote worker looking to regain lost productivity, or a team leader looking to boost employee wellness for your remote workers, these are a few things you can do to help increase productivity.

Define Spaces

If there is one takeaway for employee wellness and productivity during remote work, it’s this – define your spaces. When employed remotely, there is a temptation to allow work and life to bleed into each other. If the comforts of your home are so close, why not indulge them a little bit? Or, why not use your own time for some extra work from the comfort of your couch or bed?

Rather than being an efficient use of your time, this kind of blending of work and life will only lead to you being less effective at either. Defining spaces means that you create as hard a line between work as if you were commuting out to an office. There are a few meanings to “space” in this context.

Space can be a literal place. This means that you should find somewhere at home that you can be earmarked as a workspace. Ideally, this is a home office. Even if you don’t have an office space, at least one room should be the “workroom” in your living space. When you’re in the workroom, it’s like you are at the office. 

Dividing up your time is also a vital part of defining these spaces. We understand the temptation to stay in bed in your pajamas, working on your laptop all day. We really do. But this isn’t going to give you the kind of focus you need. Get up, take a shower, get out of those pajamas (we’re flexible on sweatpants), eat a healthy breakfast, and sit yourself down. Set yourself strict work hours just like you were in the office, mid day breaks, some time for lunch, and keep a regular sleep schedule.

The trickiest part of dividing your time can be mentally. Just because you are sitting down at your desk for an hour, doesn’t make that hour automatically feel like “work time”. You need to set boundaries and do your best to filter out distractions. Speaking of… 

Remove Distractions

Trying to work in an office full of distractions is difficult. Working remotely with distractions isn’t going to be any easier. Your home is potentially full of even more things that will take your mind off work, so you need to be extra aware of this. There are some easy ways that you can cut down on distractions, however.

Once you’ve decided on your work schedule, make sure to inform friends and family of this, and to not disturb you during this time. You may need to have discussions over what are appropriate boundaries for contacting you during work hours. 

(Team leaders and managers – this goes in reverse too. Overloading your employees with unnecessary conference calls and virtual team-building events can have a serious impact on employee wellness and general mental health at your company).

Remember when we said you need to create a dedicated workspace? It’s important for employee wellness that this space not only be distinct but as distraction-free as possible. There are a lot of little ways you can build a great workspace. Trying to make sure it is sound insulated is one – even a nice pair of headphones go a long way. Don’t discount physical comfort either. A nice comfy working chair can prevent back issues and a padded mouse pad and laptop riser can alleviate any wrist pain. 

You also need to watch out for digital distractions. Try turning on “do not disturb” for a set period of time and make sure that all your social media notifications are turned off during the day. The same goes for non-essential messenger apps. If you’re a team leader or manager, you can help employee wellness by being conscious of the number of messages and emails you send out and expect to get returned. 

Physical Health

When you are working from home, there is a temptation to give in to laziness. Your workspace is just a short trip away from your bed, after all. And it might not be much further to the fridge…

Don’t give in to the temptation to become a couch potato – or, rather, an office chair potato. You should treat your exercise schedule and eating habits just as you would if you were partaking in your normal work day in the office. 

Going outside for a walk isn’t just good for some exercise, it’s important to get sunlight and a dose of natural Vitamin D as well. Do everything you can to not become a home office-bound shut-in. This will lead to you being in a better mood, and more able to be productive.

Mental Health

One of the hardest challenges to manage with remote work can be mental health. For many workers, the physical health component of employee wellness only needs minor adjustments when moving to remote work.

Mental health? Well, that’s another story. While we may grumble about commutes to work, they do provide us with a change of scenery. Our office spaces give us a chance for the socialization that we, as humans, require.  

If you are working remotely, make sure that you give yourself a chance to take breaks, get outside, and have social interactions. If you are a team leader or manager, it’s up to you to make sure that you provide social opportunities for remote employees. Virtual team building events, for example, can be a great way to keep team cohesion and morale up even during remote work.

If you are a remote worker worried about mental fitness, wellness, and productivity, make sure to check out our classes and programs. If you are a team leader who is concerned about employee wellness, we have corporate wellness programs you should check out as well. 

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