Image credits: Carl Heyerdahl
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News Article

How to Redefine Productivity and Create the Ideal Home Office

By Cas Biekmann | Mon, 05/11/2020 - 18:23

It is official - home office is here to stay. Sixty-four percent of Mexican CFO’s plan to make it a staple of a new office policy. What will this mean for individual productivity? Some might enjoy higher productivity due to less distractions but those with families and pets or people who benefit from a bit of social pressure might disagree. To improve performance, people can benefit from re-defining their notion of productivity and focusing on ways to improve based on this starting point.

The New York Times reported a notable trend set by US’ market giants Google, Amazon and Facebook: there is indeed a race to move back to the office and these companies are aiming to be last. Home office policies have been extended to at least September. It is clear that these tech giants value home office and appreciate the benefits, but working from home can take a toll on individuals clinging to outdated notions of productivity as well. Therefore, it is important to examine what really drives productivity and focus on improving this, instead of getting frustrated trying to control unimportant factors.

At home it can become hard not to get involved into smaller tasks that simply present themselves. Doing the dishes quickly, letting the dog out for a minute or tending to the kids might seem unproductive and can invite self-punishment from those who demand top performances of themselves. El Economista, quoting HR firm Nexian, says that this is somewhat unfair to ourselves. After all, in a normal work day people can lose up to 35 percent of their time on tasks that do not actually bring the company or the individual closer to their goals. Another 15 percent is spent on meetings that are not entire useless, but nonetheless take much longer than needed. Spending time on things not related to the job need to be distinguished from procrastinating or being completely idle. After all, you are doing something that is necessary. And by completing a short, simple task, such as the loading the washing machine or doing one’s taxes, people can often create renewed focus on the work at hand.

Generating an ideal work environment in the house can further improve individual results. Forbes outlined a few tips to make one’s home office a better working space. These include improving the space in which you work, which should ideally have some motivational personal items or a nice view that would not even be attainable in the office. Pets such as cats and dogs and candles might be discouraged in traditional working space but can provide a much more pleasant atmosphere at home. Home decoration focused on color and shapes unlocking creativity, focus or calmness can help as well. All of these tips have one goal in common: to create a home office that feels more personal and even better than what a traditional office can provide. Why not make your own coffee, tailored to your exact taste, instead of drinking the standard office coffee? Forbes does mention one risk: the balance between work and private life needs to be emphasized. It is easy to blur the boundaries, leading to stress in hours that actually call for switching off. By generating clear norms with one’s team and oneself about how to schedule time, this final hurdle can be overcome and home office made productive.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
The New York Times, El Economista
Photo by:   Carl Heyerdahl
Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst