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How to increase productivity when working from home [5 step practical guide for teams and individuals]

Posted on 03/31/2020

The escalation of 2020 coronavirus pandemic all over the planet led to a new remote work trend. Entire teams and companies needed to adapt quickly, setting up home offices to work from home. Whether you’re an individual or a business, your routine is likely experiencing these impacts on your productivity.

Focusing on remote work needs organized processes and workflows. So, at the end of this read, you’ll be able to bring you and your team to the same page, identifying what can damage or increase productivity when working from home.

Also, you’ll have an overview of methods to get over it and eradicate that feeling of never completing tasks. 


What is productivity?

Productivity is measuring that: the quantity / quality of work done and the resources spent to carry out this work. We quote quantity and quality because the success of a task to be performed depends a lot on its nature.

Regarding resources spent, the most valuable of them is time. Money and physical efforts have their portion too.


What does it mean to be productive?

In an increasingly competitive economic context (whether due to the crisis of the last few years or the growing dynamism of the market), it is essential that productivity tops the list of priorities of entrepreneurs.

Increasing the efficiency of your employees and production processes is an important need, which can become precisely the differential that your company needs to stand out from the competition.

After all, with an increase in productivity it becomes possible to offer products and services at more competitive prices, increase your profit margin and reduce costs in the company!


Individual and team productivity

This distinction is essential, because there is not always an equivalence between individual productivity and team productivity. Often, for example, the low productivity of a single person can hinder the results of the entire team. In such cases, it is important that the team manager perceives these nuances, knowing how to distinguish which problems are individual and, therefore, need a specific solution for an employee. In other cases, the problem lies in the team’s dynamics, its organizational format and so on. So keep that in mind when implementing changes in search of more productivity.


Professional / business productivity

In the professional environment, productivity is measured by the results that each employee generates for your organization.

Positive results mean that there was a focus on activities. However, negative results require that priorities be revised so that the employee becomes productive again.

Often, we follow a daily routine previously established by our critical sense of priority. However, how many times do we give importance to just what we want? So it is very important to pay attention to what is stealing your time.


Productivity enemies

  • Disorganization: how is your workplace? Is it functional and allows you to find everything you need easily?;
  • Procrastination: How much do you delay your actions? This is common, but it becomes a problem when it prevents the normal functioning of your actions;
  • Saying yes to everything: Saying yes to everything can lead to excessive activities and overwhelm you. The overload of work generates greater fatigue and, consequently, less productivity;
  • Distractions: how much time do you spend looking at emails, messages and social media? Nowadays, it is very easy to get distracted and spend hours doing it.
  • Unnecessary meetings: could that meeting be an email?
  • Time waste generated by the environment: They are more difficult to eliminate, but not impossible. Meetings, side conversations, reports without practical use and unnecessary visits are some examples.


Productivity hacks

1. Make expectations clear.

You cannot demand from yourself or your employees levels of productivity that have not been previously agreed.

Thus, to ensure the best results, it is necessary to communicate to the team what is expected, what tasks must be performed, the demands for quality of work, among other aspects.

Otherwise, when they do not meet these veiled expectations, there will be frustration for both management and the employees themselves, who do not know the parameters of service provision. Set clear objectives.


2. Focus on tasks / results.

Productivity is not measured by hours worked. This has already worked in the case of excessively mechanical work, in which the employee simply could not slow down his production pace.

Nowadays, however, productivity has much more to do with performing complex tasks and presenting results. The more intellectual the service provided, the greater the possibility of reducing productivity due to lack of focus, due to bureaucratic difficulties and inadequate team dynamics, for example. Make a small project out of every task, adding deadlines.

So break projects in smaller tasks, otherwise it’s got great chances of being another item of your list that never gets the check-mark.


3. Create efficient processes.

For a good measurement of these tasks performed and the respective results obtained, constantly monitor your employees and their production lines. In addition to maintaining up-to-date knowledge about the status of each production process, this is a measure that encourages the whole to maintain a constant productivity routine, instead of just showing peaks on delivery times.


4. Apply well defined workflows and deadlines.

Whether you prefer Agile frameworks or traditional PMBOK gant charts, the biggest impact on you and your team productivity is to have tasks, activities and processes streamlined. This will directly influence the deadlines given to customers and the availability of professionals, who always have the flexibility to work in various roles on an alternating basis.

Generic Kanban board to manage tasks, projects and operations.
Traditional Gantt chart as per Project Management Body of knowledge (PMBOK) best practices


5. Learn to give and receive feedback.

Often, the best suggestions on how to increase productivity in the company come from the employees themselves.

After all, they are the ones on the factory floor (regardless of the area of ​​operation) and, therefore, they know exactly what are the biggest obstacles in production, what needs to be improved, what works well and so on.

Its function, in this context, consists of opening direct communication channels between employees and the company’s management, as well as filtering the suggestions that should be adopted in the future.



Don´t forget to check these other resources to keep learning:

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