Recent statistics show that a large population has opted to work from home in the last two years. This is mostly due to the global pandemic whose mitigation includes maintaining social distancing and maintaining general hygiene. Most companies have embraced Information Communication Technologies that allow their employees to work from home.
Statically, over 70% of full-time workers work from home. Out of these workers, 97% do not want to get back to the conventional workplace environment. Instead, they wish remote working become the norm. Due to the organizational structures already in place, working from home will continue for a while. I mean, businesses have also embraced e-commerce and digital marketing due to the severity of the pandemic.
Then of course there’s those of us who freelance and consequently work remotely from the comfort of our homes. The deal-breaker with working from home is our productivity. In many cases, working from home may compromise people’s productivity due to the nature of the working environment. I have worked from home majority of my professional career. Out of the 4 years, I have been working in a professional capacity, I have worked in a traditional working environment for roughly 9 months. My experiences in both a traditional working environment and working from home have given me an insightful viewpoint on the two working structures. In this article, I will share the tips that have worked for concerning improving my productivity over the years.
Set and manage Goals
The most effective approach to increasing productivity is setting and managing or monitoring goals. I always believe that having a goal is most the important aspect of any endeavor. In our case, you need to have a goal before considering anything else. Set goals in terms of the growth you expect, how much you expect to learn, and how much you expect to earn. Creating goals will help envision other aspects such as workspace, working hours, and working routines that are tied to your goal.
More often than not, people set goals and think that it’s enough. However, it’s never enough! It is crucial to track, monitor, or manage your goals to be productive. Assess estimated time and actual time taken to achieve the goals. If the goals were achieved in time, on time, or outside the set time. This will help you evaluate your productivity. Based on your assessment, you can make improvements to improve your productivity. Bottom-line, it all starts with having goals and monitoring or rather managing these goals.
Create your workspace
After creating a goal(S), the most important consideration is your workspace. Your workspace determines your productivity. The first thing I consider before moving into a house is deciding where to place my workstation. This is my deal-breaker. It should also be yours if you work from home. I consider a house with natural lighting, a serene environment, and of course a good view.
The other consideration is the placement of electrical appliances. For instance, the workplace should be close to an electric socket that supplies power to your devices with ease. Next is the placement of the Wi-Fi router. Your workstation should be close to the router to ensure you have a strong internet connection among your devices. The most important is the location of the power supply. Concerning the internet connection, there are various ways of increasing bandwidth so that shouldn’t be a major issue.
My profession in digital marketing, content creation, and web development often requires creativity and concentration. For these reasons, I look for a quiet place with a good view and minimum distraction in the vicinity. Depending on your career, I would recommend you find an environment that works for you. However, I believe that proximity to power supply, natural lighting, serenity, and minimum distractions is the basic requirement.
Consistent working hours
Time management is a key aspect when working from home. The most effective approach to time management is having consistent working hours. To be honest, this is the most challenging aspect of working from home. It is possible but requires discipline to achieve. I always struggle with having consistent working hours which is mainly attributed to working with different clients from different time zones. I, therefore, understand the struggle that you will be going through if you opt to follow this strategy towards improving your productivity while working from home.
However, over time I have managed to have close-to-consistent working hours and this increased my productivity significantly. I not only earned more but had enough time to spend with my family and rest. The common misconception is that working from home means spending more time with our families. To be honest, I spend more time in my office than I spend in the living room especially when I’m working on several projects simultaneously.
Scheduling your work
After establishing consistent working hours, the other important thing is to create a work schedule. There are several tools that can help you with scheduling various tasks such as Trello. This tool is often free and can help you organize and manage tasks especially when working with a team. However, I prefer old school pen and paper in this case.
I have a mantra where “I work with what works for me”. It helps me break norms and choose the strategy that works better for me. I choose writing down because I understand my tasks to the core compared to when using a tool. It also helps me break down my tasks to the core such that they become second nature.
Bottom-line, break down your work and schedule them based on the deadline agreed upon with the client. This will help you track your tasks better and consequently improve your productivity.
This point complements the above point on scheduling your work. However, I thought it would be better to address it individually because of changes in deadlines. The primary objective is to complete your tasks on time and deliver high-quality results. This is my definition of productivity, “delivering high-quality output to your clients or employer without excuses”.
To-Do lists help the most when clients change deadlines. At this point, it is important to allocate some tasks more time, choose a more hands-on-deck approach, or outsource depending on the nature of the situation. I consider To-Do lists as crucial assistants especially when deciding the most urgent tasks that need immediate attention. They help me avoid compromising my work schedule which would alternately compromise the delivery of other projects in the schedule. It is therefore important to have a To-Do list for such situations.
The goal of every professional should be to deliver high-quality results, grow their skills, learn from their activities, and earn more in terms of compensation for their work. Achieving these ultimatums can be challenging especially during the current organizational structure entailing working from home. However, the tips shared above are crucial in ensuring each professional improves their productivity as they work from home.Setting and managing goals give one a vision and drive towards improving their productivity. Click To Tweet
Having a conducive workspace improves one’s output and consequently their productivity. Next is having consistent working hours. This will help you by creating a consistent working schedule that you can track. Finally, have a To-Do list that will help you through urgent or arising tasks that might compromise the pipeline of your ongoing projects.
This strategy has worked for me and helped me grow over time from managing one client to currently managing several clients as well as having a team of freelancers as I work from home. Truth be told, it’s a challenge but then every challenge is worthwhile. It will require discipline and dedication to master this strategy but I can promise you that it will transform your professional life. I hope you learned something new from this article. Stay tuned for more in the future. Follow us on our social media pages to receive our updates. (Twitter and Facebook)