The global pandemic has changed how businesses operate and nothing has been more affected than the way people work. Remote working has become the new normal for many organisations, forcing staff and managers to find better ways of monitoring workloads and teams.
This has all prompted the debate, ‘are remote workers more productive?’ We will try to answer this question today by looking at what productivity is, how it’s different from efficiency, how you can boost productivity at home and what are the benefits of working from home.
What is Productivity?
At its most basic, productivity is defined as “a way to measure efficiency”. As an example, a one acre farm that produces 100 oranges a year isn’t efficient but a one acre farm that produces 10,000 oranges a year is. The latter is a productive farm.
As with anything, context matters. Over the years, the way we have come to do and see our work is very different.
Think of productivity, then, as a way to do more, in less time. It’s not about being busy, it’s about maximising what you produce in a given amount of time, energy and tools available.
Productivity vs Efficiency
At its most basic, productivity is the total output produced by an individual, a team or a business. Efficiency is the resources used to produce that work. The more resources used, the less efficient the work is.
Productivity can be affected by things like man power - both quantity and quality, equipment and or machinery, material supplies, time and finance.
Efficiency can be affected by very similar factors. If you don't have the right staff, they can take longer and produce lower quality work. Not having the right tools available to complete work can make the process more arduous. Poor management of tasks can make teams disjointed in their approach to completing tasks. All of these factors contribute to poor efficiency.
How to Boost Productivity Working from Home
From major technology players like Google and Facebook implementing Work From Home (WFH) procedures to small service businesses, we have seen a massive global shift in remote working. Organisations like Coinbase & Shopify have spoken of the move to WFH providing a strategic opportunity for their businesses & better recruitment opportunities due to a lack of a physical presence needed.
Global Chinese travel firm, Trip.com discovered that by making staff work from home over a 9 month period, they were in fact, 13% more productive.
How can organisations improve productivity working from home? Here are some tips;
- Create a specific area to work, and only work. Don’t make it your couch where you watch T.V.
- Work with some ambient music or nature sounds. Buy noise cancelling headphones if possible to clear distracting background noise.
- Place boundaries around your working space so no one else can use it.
- After a day of working from home, put away electronic devices and relax. Give your eyes and body a break.
- Don’t get distracted by visitors. Set a daily schedule and stick to it.
- Be sure to video communicate with your teams and really connect with your work colleagues.
- Get out of the house. Give yourself a break every hour or so. At lunch, get out for a walk, even if it’s only for a quick trip to the local shops and back.
By having the right tools and managing your remote teams and their time more efficiently, you can boost productivity in your organisation.
Benefits of Working from Home
There are of course key benefits when it comes to working from home for both the worker and the employer. With the right tasks, tools and set up, both can achieve better productivity by;
- Removing the stress from commuting. Both physical and mental stress is relieved.
- Improved work-life balance. Yes, you need to separate the work and non-work elements but you have more time to dedicate to your family/hobbies as well.
- Better mental health can be achieved by not having workplace stress thrust in your direction.
- An office that is tailored to your needs and not a group of people. This could be by a window or with furniture you enjoy sitting at.
- Fewer distractions from colleagues and having to do bitty jobs that get passed along.
- Removing office politics from your day to day helps you focus on the task at hand.
In short, working from home can be more productive when done the right way. Using the right tools such as the Thomas Managing Remote Workers Report you can develop better techniques to help remote workers be more productive amongst other Thomas International products and services available.