How have your working habits changed after working from home? Are you Team Office or Team Work From Home? Numerous studies have found different results. Some find that working from home boosts productivity, while others find that working in the office is better. Depending on the nature of your job and the circumstances at home, I’m sure your answers would vary. Regardless of which one we choose, we all aim to be productive. Bosses prefer productive employees who are able to get work done efficiently. On the other hand, employees feel a sense of achievement when something is checked off the to-do list. Yet, how do we find the perfect balance and be productive at work regardless of our environment? The answer is simple. You just have to work S.M.A.R.T.L.Y.
Set Realistic Goals
Everyone knows that goal-setting is important, but are you doing it right? Goals are like a compass to keep you on track, especially when you are embarking on a long-term project. It gives you a clear end in mind and guides you on how to get there. Not sure where to begin? Start by creating SMART goals! For your day to day tasks, create a to-do list with just 3-5 things on the list. Yes, we have so many things that we want to do and have to complete, but setting unrealistic targets is counterproductive. It burns you out and creates unnecessary stress for yourself. So, focus your energy and do things one at a time rather than trying to multitask and juggle a variety of projects.
I’m sure we have all experienced the terrible Monday blues. The alarm clock rings and the Monday blues hit you straight in the face. All you want to do is to take a day off and sleep in, but you drag yourself to work. If you are lucky enough to find a job that you really love, good for you! Many of us work out of necessity and not because we enjoy it. But this affects our productivity. We tend to procrastinate and do things half-heartedly when work becomes a chore. Instead of dreading work on Monday, why not change your mindset? Think positively and look forward to Friday. Rather than procrastinating, think about getting off work on time and engaging in activities that you enjoy.
Just 2 more minutes of Facebook. Just one more game. How many times have we said this to ourselves and stuck to it? With the temptation of social media, games and messenger apps, your phone has become a productivity killer. If you are thinking of switching off your phone, stop right there! You don’t have to switch off your phone or be uncontactable during work, but check your phone only when you are taking breaks. If you are facing personal problems outside of work, either take time off from work or settle it after work. Bringing your personal problems into work is never a good idea as it can affect both the quality of your work and your colleagues.
Remove Toxic Culture
Office politics? Colleagues fighting over who’s right and wrong? This stifling environment is affecting your productivity! We spend more than a third of our time in the office, so being in a negative environment greatly affects your productivity. Don’t waste your time proving who’s right, be open to feedback and try to come up with a constructive solution instead. If you are a boss, empower and encourage information sharing. Happy employees can also reduce organizational issues like high staff-turnover rates and low productivity.
Being productive does not mean sitting at your desk all day and doing your work. All work and no break increases the chances of work fatigue and burnout. Just like how a car needs to take breaks during a long road trip, humans are the same as well! Studies have shown that taking regular breaks from work actually improves your concentration. Even a 30 seconds break is enough to refresh your mind! Be it taking a short stroll around the office, taking a short nap or having a coffee, do something that takes your mind off work.
Have you ever felt frustrated when your projects are moving too slowly, yet there is nothing much you can do to help? Does your team have problems meeting deadlines? Doing well alone is not enough as projects become more integrated. Chances are, projects will be affected if one of your colleagues is falling behind, so offer support to those who are struggling. A simple tip or just checking in on them could make a difference. Don’t forget to reach out and support colleagues emotionally. Lend a listening ear and motivate your colleagues. Your team is only able to succeed if everyone is doing well together.
You Are In Control
On days where you feel like work is spiraling out of control, take deep breaths and repeat this to yourself – You are in control. It is perfectly normal to have bad days at work and it is alright to feel overwhelmed (even I feel overwhelmed at work sometimes). Pick yourself up and try again.