No doubt 2020 was a hectic year for employees and employers alike, and 2021 will likely bring much of the same chaos. That being said, companies still need to complete their goals which means employees still need to be productive, or even increase their productivity. Even though it may be hard to remain productive with all the changes and uncertainties caused by COVID-19, there are steps you can take to remain as productive as possible.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that organisation is an important skill of adult life. With the uncertainty in the world today, this is even more true. Whether you are working from home, at the office, or a co-working space, having an organised workspace will save you time and headache.
At the office, this is a simpler task. Make sure to keep your work area clean and free of any debris. Take advantage of under-desk cabinets and desktop organisers to have a dedicated place for anything you use in your workspace. Having small decorations like plants and photos on your desk can give the area a homey touch but be careful not to go overboard. If you find your work neighbours are not organised and it’s affecting your work, consider having a team meeting to set ground rules for office organisation and etiquette.
At home, being organised is not as easy. You don’t have access to the equipment that an office has and children or even spouses have a tendency to be messier than co-workers. There are ways to work around this, though. It’s important to try and emulate the office environment with similar features, such as good lighting and an ergonomic chair and desk. Not having this kind of equipment can cause you pain and even health problems down the road.
It’s also helpful to have a dedicated work area, whether it be a guest room, garage, attic, or even a corner of the living room. Once you have a space picked out, think about what you need to do to convert it into a practical workspace. Do you only have to apply a fresh coat of paint, or will you need to add or knock down walls, add electricity, or other large changes? It’s also important to think about what purpose the area might serve when you go back to the office (maybe a game room or kid’s study room?). If funding for this project is an issue, consider asking family or friends, or refinancing your mortgage to a lower interest rate, taking out a personal loan or drawing from a savings account.
Lastly, not only should your physical space be organised, but your computer should also be too. Cleaning out your inbox and using folders to organise it will help you keep track of important conversations. Making sure to use your work computer for work and a personal computer for other things will also help you stay focused on work throughout the day.
Anyone who’s been in the workplace more than 10 minutes knows that communication is critical to doing your job well. That does not mean that people always communicate well though, or even at all. If you want to remain productive, you need to be on top of communication.
In the office, this is easy. Make sure to follow proper etiquette and schedule meetings with colleagues ahead of time, obeying whatever process your employer dictates. When in meetings, come prepared and ready to add something to the conversation. If it’s possible, consider planning or attending out-of-office functions with you and your team.
While remote, this is substantially more difficult, however, it can be done. Instead of having meetings in-person, video conferencing software can be used for company-wide and team meetings, as well as one-on-ones and other small gatherings. Chat applications can also be used to replace some of the office banter, as well as providing a more casual option to ask quick questions or comment on something throughout the workday. Of course, both employees and managers need to make the effort to communicate and reach out, both when something is wrong and just to stay on track. Implementing these policies now is helpful in the current world, as well as in the future when companies employ both in-office and remote employees.
Take Care Of Yourself
Especially during COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns, we’ve heard plenty about health. This is not without merit, as taking care of your physical, mental and emotional health not only lowers your medical bills and can help you live longer, it also can make you more productive.
At the office, moving around is key. If they are available to you, consider using a standing desk for all or part of the day, or investing in an under-desk mini exercise bike to keep the blood pumping. You can also go for a walk on your lunch break, or even do a lap around the office every hour or so. It’s also important to resist the temptation to order take-out, or snack on soda and unhealthy foods all day. It’s very practical to pack a nutritious lunch or snack from home or find out what food options near your office offer healthy options (and walk or bike to them) for lunch!
While working remotely, being healthier can actually be easier! Since there’s no commute, that extra time can be used to work out, or cook healthier meals instead of high-calorie options. You can also consider using your lunch hour to go on a quick walk or perform some at-home workouts. Of course, when at home, it can be difficult to resist chowing down on unhealthy foods throughout the day. To counter this, consider not keeping unhealthy snacks at home, or only keeping a small amount of them. You can also make pre-portioned snacks ahead of time to eat throughout the workday.
The need for productivity has increased significantly since 2020. This is also a time of uncertainty, which can make being productive difficult for many workers. However, following these tips and taking a deep breath can make being productive a completable task, whether you’re working from home or at the office.
Author: Engage for Success Team
Photo Credits: Pixabay