August 5, 2023

Work from Home Productivity🏠

It’s probably been 2 years now since you’ve started working from home and you’ve probably settled into your new work life. Based on a survey conducted by Buffer on 3500 employees where 98% of responses said they would rather work remotely, there’s a clear direction that remote work is here to stay (or at least hybrid work).

But we were curious to understand how long term work from home can benefits or negatively impact mental health or work output. We’ve compiled a few interesting findings across these domains and identified some tips to stay productive when working from home:

Key Findings on WFH and mental productivity:

1. Resurgence of Techno-Stress

Adoption of technology was essential in enabling remote work globally. However, this rapid adoption of technology exacerbates the already growing issue of Techno-stress. The term was first established in 1984 by Craig Brod and is triggered by excessive stimulation from technology and inability to disconnect. Now that you can be contacted via email, mobile, Teams, Slack, etc, its almost impossible to avoid technostress. Not only can being unable to disconnect, but poorly introduced technology can cause increased workloads, lack of standardisation, and adoption fatigue.

2. More Time = More Me Time

During the pandemic, with widespread remote work mandates, many individuals were able to completely eliminate commuting time. According to a survey conducted by Owl Labs in 2020, remote workers reported saving an average of 40 minutes to 1 hour or more per day on commuting. This represents a significant time gain that can be redirected towards personal activities, family time, exercise, or additional work tasks. However, many of these benefits are counteracted by the next finding.

3. Separation of Work and Home

Due to the fact that work is no longer separated by a commute, the line between Work and Home is blurred. In a report developed by ACTU in 2021, up to 48% of responses noted that due to work from home, it has been difficult to achieve separation of work and home life which has led to difficulty in unwinding. It was noted in a research done by NordVPN that the number of hours worked due to work from home has has increased by 25% in the UK, attributable to shorter lunch breaks a works blurring work time and leisure time.

Improving Work From Home Productivity and Mental Health:

1. Establishing Boundaries

You might not be feeling the Work from Home fatigue yet, but chances are, over time the blurring of work and life boundaries will start to add up. Here are some tips to help you stay mentally productive:

  • Creating Physical Boundaries: The best way to stop thinking about work is to stop seeing things related to work. Set-up physical boundaries such as creating a designated area for work that isn’t in the line of site of where you rest. Set-up work in the kitchen or partition your room. This also works vice-versa. If you’re prone to jumping onto distraction while working from home, removing the visual triggers can help you stay productive.
  • Establish Technology Boundaries: If you’re feeling techno-stress, this one is for you. Establish clear boundaries where you are un-reachable. Whether this is setting a time of day or communicating to your team that certain times of day you’ve blocked out for deep work. This can help you remove the feeling that you need to reply an email or reply to that Slack message. Additionally, start using your Do Not Disturb options to keep non-urgent work at bay.

2. Creating A Productive Environment

When you work from home, you aren’t restricted to a cubicle or hot desk. You have the ability to optimise your work environment to your working style (i.e. playing music, when to take breaks, how your desk is set-up). Below are some ways you can make your work from home environment more conducive to productivity:

  • Creating a Productive Routine: One of the biggest changes from working in the office is that there is no longer any collective routines. No commute time to switch into work mode, no coffee breaks with teammates, and no Friday beers to signal the start to a weekend. This is where you can start creating your own routines. In order to get your mind ready for work or switch off after work set personal triggers. This could be as simple as telling yourself that work only starts when you finish your first coffee, or the moment you finish your timesheets on Friday, its time to disconnect until Monday. These routine triggers can help stay focused or switch off.
  • Organised environment: If you’re working from home, you no longer have the perks of a cleaning team to reset your workspace every night, water the plants, or have the snack bar neatly stocked. However, these environmental benefits should still be emphasised when working from home. A study done by the Princeton University of Neuroscience Institute using fMRI noted that disorganized environments can drain cognitive resources and make less productive. By organising your space, you can optimise your cognitive load to help you focus on the task at hand.

I hope you found some of the findings and tips interesting enough to help you improve your work from home experience. If you’re interested in more productivity tips and tools sign up to our newsletter at www.kinetics.dev or try out or download our free browser for work at here.

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