My mom and I have become work friends.
For context, we’re in Haiti, Port-au-Prince to be exact. The country's going through a fuel shortage crisis, along with political, economical, and insecurity crises. Also for context, my mom and I are very different people. I'm an introvert and she is not, I enjoy peace and quiet, and she's the life of the party.
As work-from-home became less and less of a permanent situation, it became apparent that everyone in the house would need to get along in order to make the best of this situation. It took time to adjust, as it always does when different people are forced to spend all day together. But, we’ve made it work and, with what we learned, I want to share 3 ways to make the best out of a work-from-home situation in order to increase your productivity.
1. Open Communication
Tell others when you have meetings and need pockets of quiet time.
There is nothing like hearing someone yell loudly while you’re on a work call. Avoid the frustration and set yourself up for success by communicating at the start of the day or before going into a meeting what you will need from everyone.
Share frequent updates with your supervisor and teammates.
A study showed that regular, even daily, and short check-ins, between employees and their managers, led to better performance at work (1). With that in mind, open communication while working remotely might look like sharing your to-do list for the day for instance.
2. Flexibility & Integrity
There are countless advantages to working from home, one of them being the flexibility it affords you. You’ve reduced your commuting time to zero, so this gives you an opportunity to be even more intentional with your time. Time blocking, taking 5 to 10-minute breaks between deep-work sessions, moving around when needed, these are all options now available when working remotely.
Of course, it's also important to show integrity and actually do the work.
3. Finish Line
This is probably one of the most counter-intuitive yet key factors to productivity and overall enjoyment of the work-from-home lifestyle. A study found that 55% of participants said they work more hours working remotely than at the physical office (2). Now, productivity isn't always about quantity, but about quality. A survey found that “employees are typically productive for five to six hours a day, with close to half (45%) indicating so” (3).
It might take time to get used to, but having a discipline of work and rest is a great way to boost the quality of the work you produce, without needing to increase the number of hours you invest in your work. So, what's the Finish Line?
The Finish Line is the practice of having a hard stop at the end of your work day.
If you work 9 to 5, it means starting exactly at 9 and ending exactly at 5. This keeps you from working overtime, at all hours, and keeps your work and life separate enough so you don't feel like a tired hamster on a wheel.
If you’re finding yourself, for a season or long-term, working from home with other people around, my hope is that these 3 guides, Open Communication, Flexibility and Integrity, and the Finish Line, will help increase your productivity and make this remote-work lifestyle more enjoyable.