Back

How To Nail Your Productivity While Working From Home

May 5, 2021  in 

Working from home was an inevitable change that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought around the world. To comply with social-distancing policies, many businesses have seen a drastic structural change and had to be able to adapt quickly to the unprecedented situation. In the past year, most workers have adjusted to the new work-from-home set up, and surprisingly, it has turned out to be the new ideal way of working for many of us.
 
As other tech companies, KosmoTime was already organised as a distributed team pre-pandemic era, and each team member was already working from their own location. Even though we did not see any impact on our organisation from that point, we have definitely learnt massively from it, and thought it was about time to share our recommendations and learnings with our community.
 
What studies found: working from home makes you more productive!
 
Whether working from home is a temporary phase or a permanent set-up for you or your business, we are glad to bring good news!
 
First impression is that a work-from-home arrangement would lead to less productivity. We automatically think of obstacles such as home distractions, procrastination and lack of motivation, loneliness and screen time fatigue, lack of supervision versus too much autonomy, in comparison to a traditional office environment. It would be totally understandable if we saw a drop in productivity, however studies have shown that the opposite is actually true.
 
According to this Airtasker study – for which they polled 1,004 full-time employees across the U.S. and 505 of whom worked remotely: remoters worked 1.4 more days every month than people who worked in an office, which results in more than three additional weeks of work per year. It also shows that work-from-home employees spent less time avoiding work (15% difference) and felt less distracted by co-workers, spending 30 minutes less talking about non-work topics.
 
Another study of 16,000 workers over a period of time of 9 months led by Stanford University, found that working from home increased productivity by 13%. This rise in performance was due to more calls per minute attributed to a quieter and more convenient work environment. Workers also reported improved work satisfaction.
 
However, it is worth mentioning that researchers also found that working from home has its own challenges: it can be more stressful and more difficult to stay focused than working at the office. So here are a few tips to bring home!
 
How you can make the most of working remotely
 
What follows is based on my own personal experience, and also taken from some of the discussions that have recently flourished on Product Hunt:
 
➡️ What is the good side of working remotely?
➡️ Working from home
➡️ Is working from home making you lazy?
➡️ How do you keep distractions at bay when working from home?
 
1. Set up your daily routine
As you eliminate the commute time, take advantage of this extra special time at the start and at the end of your day to focus on yourself and activities that matter to you. Read that book you would normally read on the train to work, listen to your favourite podcast while making a breakfast that you usually skip, go outside, get some fresh air and move your body for 30 minutes. And then, get ready for your work day (which you should read as: ‘Get out of your pajamas!’). Also, have set working hours: make yourself accountable, be your own boss, and know when it’s time to shut your computer down.
 
2. Take breaks during the day
The most effective way for remoters to stay productive, according to that same Airtasker study, is to take breaks (37%). The research found that office workers took shorter breaks than remote workers, though longer breaks have been shown to increase productivity. In the same idea, several Product Hunt members mention the Pomodoro technique in the discussions linked above. They see it as one of the most effective techniques for productivity while working from home. The Pomodoro technique consists of working for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break, then repeating the same cycle four times, and then taking a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

3. Build your home office environment 🪴
The level of comfort that you give to yourself impacts your level of productivity. Create your own workspace, customize it as much as you like and dedicate it to work only – so this becomes your space, where you can’t be disturbed by your children, partner, cat and dog. Choose a quiet room where the surroundings bring good energy: natural light, green plants, a door you can close, a comfortable chair to sit on. Invest in materials and technology that will boost your productivity and keep you focused. This goes without saying that you need a stable Internet connection, and it might also be worth investing in a quality webcam (oh, hello Zoom!). If you work on a laptop, I highly encourage you to invest in a computer stand, a bluetooth mouse & keyboard, and even a second screen for a maximum of comfort.
 
4. Remember, you’re mobile! ✈️
Some days, productivity inevitably hits the wall and that’s when a change of scene might be needed. That’s also one of the best pros of working from home, right? Now that restrictions get lifted and places start to re-open, you should be able to switch places when you feel the need: maybe it’s about working from your favourite coffee shop, maybe it’s about socialising yourself and working from a co-working space, or maybe it’s about spending a few days away in a AirBnb where the view is refreshing. The world is your oyster, take advantage of your mobility!
 
Our way of working at KosmoTime
 
Regardless of where each of us is working from, we have a simple goal as team members: accomplish our tasks and celebrate progress. To help us organise our work and be successful as a distributed team, here are the main tools and softwares that we use on a daily basis:
 
📅 The KosmoTime Calendar app (obviously!) – which we also use individually as a tasks manager – synced with Google Calendar
🗣️ Slack, for instant communication
🤝 Asana, to manage projects collaboratively
🖥️ Zoom, for our meetings
📧 Google Workspace – for emails and shared documentations
 
Success is the sum of our individual achievements and that’s how we proceed individually: we keep a to-do list, follow a schedule and eliminate distractions. Easier said than done? Not anymore: the KosmoTime app has become a real game changer in our personal productivity thanks to its unique features reunited in one single app:
 
1. Block time: create, group and schedule tasks directly in your calendar.
2. Mute distractions: mute all distracting tabs and Slack notifications when you start a task.
3. Track time: keep track of your time and see how you spend your days.
 
KosmoTime has brought the discipline that we were all missing. Motivation and organisation starts with having the right tool on hand, and with that, productivity follows.
 
We encourage you to try it out (it’s free!), and we look forward to hearing your own tips on how to get the most out of remote working!