According to Statista, more than 5 million Canadians (or about 20% of workers) worked from home as of May 2021—versus the 4% who worked mostly remotely in 2016.
Working from home offers a number of benefits.
- A more flexible schedule improves work-life balance
- Lack of a commute decreases stress, and
- Valuable savings can often be realized from reducing costs for transportation, lunches out, and proper workplace attire
Equally beneficial, when done right, is the opportunity that conducting business virtually offers to ramp up your professional output.
Here’s everything you need to know about increasing your productivity while working from home.
Are we truly more productive at home?
In addition to the time saved traveling to and from an office, working from home can increase productivity by improving your ability to focus.
With fewer co-worker interruptions, less office politics and background chatter to contend with, and the ability to run more-efficient virtual meetings, research suggests that:
- 90% of Canadians working from home are at least as productive as they were at their usual place of work, pre-pandemic
- More than half (58%) are accomplishing about the same amount of work per hour
- Almost one-third (32%) are accomplishing more work per hour
By most indications, the work-from-home trend is not only here to stay, but promises a permanent rise in productivity in the long run.
Productivity traps to avoid
Despite increasing overall productivity, remote work does carry the potential to decrease efficiency in some cases.
- Boosting output, for example, may come at the cost of working more total hours in a given day or week.
- Coordination activities and online meetings can quickly trend upward, along with disruptions for workers with children at home.
- Less face-to-face time with teammates and supervisors, meanwhile, may reduce the flow of ideas that contribute to productive outcomes.
With a little awareness, forethought, and planning, you can avoid common traps and mistakes like these—and make increasing your productivity while working from home a highly achievable goal.
Tips to increase your work-from-home productivity
There are 3 key ways you can become more productive while working from home.
#1: Clarify and communicate expectations
If there are other people at home, you’ll need to be very clear about boundaries involving your workspace, privacy, noise levels, and chore-sharing.
Where your remote work team is concerned, you should do your best to suggest, establish, and enforce meeting-free periods, along with communication protocols that minimize disruptions (e.g., you may want to use different channels—like text, email, instant messaging, or video—for different types of interactions, based on their level of urgency).
#2: Set and stick to a schedule
Try using a calendar app (like Google or Calendar.com, for example) to lay out your daily schedule, being sure to define a clear end-time each day while building in regular breaks.
You’ll save time and stay mentally fresher, meanwhile, if you prep meals the night before and use your breaks to engage in non-digital activities like moving, meditation, running errands, or interacting with pets, friends, family, or team members.
#3: Take advantage of work-from-home technology
Thanks to the recent surge in remote work, there are ample free and subscription-based tools available to increase your productivity at home.
You might, for example, choose tools that allow you to:
- Manage your time more effectively
- Block out distracting websites or noise
- Access all your work and device connections from a single location
Make sure you also customize and organize your physical workspace for maximum efficiency and comfort.
Home environments can be less predictable than dedicated, professional work settings. You’ll make steadier headway toward maximizing your productivity if you take advantage of opportunities to work outside traditional hours whenever it makes sense.