Productivity Hacks for Home-Based Work

August 30, 2021

Remote work presents both challenges and rewards. This is especially true for teams who have little experience collaborating virtually. Indeed, it is the cohesiveness of a team that largely determines its productivity. 2020 upended the conventional workplace as we know it, as the world ushered in the era of the remote workplace. Working from home can be challenging, but there are plenty of rewards for the remote worker. We have assessed the best productivity hacks for home-based work, to ensure that you get things done with plenty of time to spare.

One of the main reasons why people enjoy remote work is because they get to work in a familiar, comfortable, relaxed setting, with relatives and pets nearby. All the pressures of in-person office-based work instantly evaporate, save for the work itself, virtual meetings, and deadlines. The time and cost savings from commuting alone are significant enough to warrant serious consideration. In major cities around the world like London, Paris, Milan, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami, commuting to and from work is an extremely tedious undertaking. Without the daily commute, employees can get a better night’s rest, save more money, enjoy more leisure time, and be more productive.

Avoiding Distractions

Now that we have established that the biggest bugbears for remote workers are distractions, how do we counter them? As employees, we are easily distracted from the tasks at hand. It’s human nature. When we are removed from a formal work setting, and managerial oversight largely disappears, it is possible that productivity declines will ensue.

To guard against such outcomes requires a helping hand in the form of a series of deliberate actions. The best time management system is one that has the best chance of succeeding. We begin by assuming an eight-hour workday, with one hour allocated for a lunch break. That’s the standard. Next, timeslots need to be filled in to determine how best to maximize productivity per hour.

Time Management Systems (TMS) require planning in order to achieve their desired outcome. For starters, remote employees should map out how much time is being spent on different tasks, activities, and actions. This information can then be used to create a functional daily schedule. Like a budget, it’s important to stick to a schedule.

During the course of the workday, or work week, different tasks may need to be prioritized. It’s important to optimize work performance by focusing more time on the most important tasks, and minimal time on the frivolous tasks. Work allocations should be done wisely, by grouping together similar activities and delegating to individuals and teams best equipped to deal with that type of work.

Routines make You More Productive at Home

Sadly, there are way too many distractions at home. They will take you away from work if you let them. Consider the kitchen, the TV room, the swimming pool, the kids, the pets, the phone, et al. But with a designated workspace, away from the hullabaloo you can certainly carve out a niche for yourself making it much easier to stick to a routine.

If you’re finding it challenging to stay on point, use technology to assist you. An excellent example of technology promoting productivity is a pair of noise-canceling headphones. The difference is like day and night. When ambient sounds prove too distracting, you can count on noise-canceling headphones to bring peace and quiet to your workstation. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed to stay focused on the work.

But it’s not only the audio elements that are a nuisance for remote workers, it’s the visual stimuli of the World Wide Web. Every time you open your browser, and multiple tabs, you are bombarded with advertisements, news stories, sensationalism, and all sorts of enticements designed to take your attention away from your work. It comes as no surprise that every one of us is prone to distraction, particularly people who work on their computers.

Statistics suggest that every 10.5 minutes remote-based employees are distracted. It could be something as simple as navigating away from your work to read an email. This is a major problem for anyone working against a deadline. Productivity is only effective if you can cut through the distractions and focus on the work.

A powerful Chrome Extension known as BlockSite teaches you how to stay focused at home. You can easily set this productivity tool to Work Mode. As its namesake suggests, this feature keeps you apprised of all work-related deadlines. Distracting sites can be blocked during work sessions in your daily schedule, but accessible during your free time/break.

A nifty redirect feature is also available with this particular extension, which redirects you from a site that you’re not supposed to be visiting during work time, back to a specific URL for work purposes. By creating healthy work habits, it is much easier to stick to a remote work schedule that actually enhances productivity.

Remote work environments are filled with distractions because they’re more pleasant than an office. Consider some of the work environments that remote workers are choosing to perform their work:

  • Gym
  • Lounge
  • Juice Bar
  • Spare Room
  • Home Office
  • Converted Garage
  • Local Coffee Shop

The list goes on. Each selection comes with its own set of distractions. Regardless, it’s important to have a dedicated workspace. That way, you can tailor your work environment to expectations. Ergonomically, it’s important to have enough space to work, but not too much space to laze about and be unproductive. It is always a good idea to have a window next to your workstation because sunlight is great for enhancing productivity

An optimized workspace is sacrosanct. You can’t get work done if you don’t know what the work is because everything is too cluttered. Too many papers, pens, files, folders, diaries, and calendars are confusing and counter-productive. OfficeMax conducted a survey where 77% of respondents roundly agreed that a messy office desk impaired their ability to be productive. Minimalism is the key to enhanced productivity. All that’s needed is the bare essentials – mental acuity and organization always go hand-in-hand.


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