Many say that work from home is like the ultimate test for an employee's productivity. Some say work from home offers flexibility and a chance to spare some time for family members apart from increasing productivity. In comparison, many argue that it requires self-motivation to perform the task efficiently and deliver it on time.
With the Covid-19 pandemic pushing millions to work from home, they have left much frustration and angst unlike never before. The primary reason is the remote-working system was implemented suddenly.
Hence, the situation left both employees, managers, and even HRs alike to navigate this new working reality style. This change, along with concerns about the health crisis and the uncertainty of the situation, left many feeling isolated, distracted, stressed, and unmotivated.
Some saw this change as a blessing in disguise because of the flexibility it offers. Also, there has been a steady rise of telecommuters in the workplace since 2005. As per Global Workplace Analytics, there has been a growth of 173% of telecommuters since 2005. Furthermore, it is estimated that at least 4.7 million work part-time from home.
Additionally, the survey stated that 80% of the employees would prefer to work from home at times.
So, regardless of which camp you are part of, that is, love it or hate it, with the 'new normal' due to the coronavirus pandemic, the landscape of how we work has changed. With more companies encouraging or making employees work from home, many are still trying to adjust to this paradigm shift and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
In this article, we will look into how employees can increase their productivity while working from home. But before we delve into that, we will look into some figures related to work from home and how HR deals with it.
While many find working from home a challenging situation, according to recent surveys conducted by FlexJobs survey even after the post-pandemic crisis, 65% of the respondents wanted to become full-time work from home employees. 96% want some remote working environment, while 31% favor hybrid work from home facilities.
The same survey revealed that employees are willing to take about a 20% pay cut for the opportunity to work from home.
As per Gartner Survey, 80% of the company owners/leaders are willing to allow employees to work from home, in some part-time capacity, even after the pandemic crisis is over. 47% of the respondents said they would allow full-time remote working opportunities to their employees.
Those figures are further boosted because the Global Workplace Analytics survey stated that remote employees are between 35% and 40% more stay productive than their in-office colleagues.
CNN Business added that over 90% of the employers said that the productivity had been the same if not higher when staff started remote working due to the pandemic.
According to the Society For Human Resource Management, 71% of the organizations are still trying to adapt to this new working system for their employees. 65% stated they were facing an immense challenge to keep the staff's morale working from home.
But according to the PwC survey, 78% of the 669 CEOs agreed that the remote working style is here to stay even after the pandemic. Hence, both the organizations, leaders, managers, HRs and employees can adapt to this change.
Now that work from home is not going away from anywhere, it is time to reconsider the strategies. So, it's time to think away from the fact that remote working, mainly working from home, has more distractions as we are working professionally while spending maximum time in personal life; it is an isolated feeling since you interact less with fellow employees, resulting in less productivity.
Here are 10 ways you can increase productivity while WFH:
With work from home becoming routine for many, remote team managers need to encourage employees to have a dedicated workspace. This will increase productivity because it keeps the employee away from the distractions that often happen at home.
There have been reports that some organizations are offering stipends to employees for creating office space in their homes when they are working remotely.
While it is true that sitting in front of the TV on the couch is very tempting while working from home, it will show your (an employee's) unprofessional attitude. So as an employee, you must have a dedicated workstation when you work from home.
One of the most common problems that employees face during work from home is they are not able to understand the company’s major objectives and strategies. Due to this, after trying hard for a while employees end up failing with no results or their productivity suffers greatly.
The solution may be simple, you can create a business roadmap to keep your employees on track of the objectives and task priorities within their projects. Business roadmaps are easy to use and contain all the details on the company’s strategic vision, plans, and steps on how to get there.
If you are in the line of work attending meetings and conferences, it is expected that you will be connected virtually with others. But if you are in a profession where you work alone, you must start connecting with others.
An office gives you the prospect to talk with others even when you work independently, like the 'water cooler conversations. This opportunity is not there when you work from home.
So to avoid feeling isolated, stay connected with others and keep the line of communication open.
If you want your remote workers to be efficient and have better productivity, it is vital that equipping them with advanced technology. There are many project management tracking apps, video conferring apps that will ensure you can contact the employees daily.
Also, ensure that the computers are updated with all the required software and do not crash when your team members work on them at home.
As an employee, you also have to warrant that you keep office equipment for that purpose only and not use it for games and fun, i.e., personal entertainment.
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One of the key areas that both management and employees need to be aware of while working from home is to set the guideline concerning the work in advance. This will ensure future misunderstandings and clashes.
Imposing rules on mutual agreement on factors like communication policies, time tracking, and maintaining a 'general(community) calendar' will allow open communication of each person's availability when working remotely.
While working remotely, the onus, mainly the management, gives a sense of belonging to that organization. This can be done by establishing a regular check-in system.
Several online platforms can be used, like video calling, group messaging, phone calls, etc. It is a good idea to start the day with the check-ins, set the day's schedule, and establish one-on-one or small group connections throughout the day. As when you start working remotely, it will keep your employees motivated.
When working remotely, you must keep track of your work and how you spend time. A planner or to-do list is essential to ensure you can track your progress. It will also warrant that you don't waste precious time.
You can design the planner as per your preference, giving the critical work the highest amount of time.
When developing the planner, one tip we can give is to think of both short-term and long-term goals that will indicate your project's progress.
As workers, employees generally go home after office, and that is their break. But when you are working from home, this 'taking breaks' can get a bit messy. So, even if you are home, do not sit in front of your computer for hours at a stretch. Instead, move around every couple of hours or scroll social media to overcome stress.
Management, too, must encourage their employees to take regular breaks because the brain's overworking will result in fatigue and reduce the employee's creativity and productivity.
So, if you see an employee leaving for some time, don't fret. Focus on their productivity rather than how many breaks they are taking.
As management, you must understand your employees' current skill-sets, even when they work from home. Based on that, you should allow them to develop and grow. This will ensure employee retention and encourage the employees to perform better even when they are working remotely.
Part of this growth process also includes giving them regular feedback on their performance. It boosts the employee's morale and conveys the message that they are being valued for their work.
As an employee, you also have to talk about your growth and training with HR even when you are working from an office.
Employers and HR must give the employees the flexibility to work beyond the 9 to 5 office schedule. This means lending them more support and trust that they will complete the targeted work, even outside that scheduled timing.
As an employee, it is critical to ensure that you achieve the targets and not concentrate on each day's time. This helps in building trust and hence productivity during the working hours. Also, it essential that remote workers be given the flexibility to work outside the office schedule. Concentrate on productivity instead of their pace and working hours.
We hope the above tips work for those who are working remotely and want to increase their productivity. The responsibility is on both the employee and the management to ensure that productivity stays improved by taking the necessary steps since work from home is becoming the new normal.
About Author: This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.