Working from home was an unexpected transition that the pandemic has brought around the globe. This had been the initiative of agencies and businesses to be able to adapt to the current situation and continue their functions without compromising the safety of their employees. Today, this is no longer new to us. Many employees have adjusted to this setup and are happy to be spending more time with their families. The work from home setup has also been an avenue to discover new hobbies and interests. Moreover, communicating outside the workplace, such as sending files and conducting meetings, was made effective and easy thanks to the present technology. However, a question lingers, does working from home affects employee productivity?
According to Shafizadeh et al. (2020), the work from home setup increases employees’ productivity. On the contrary, the results of the study conducted by Monteiro et al. (2019) resulted otherwise. Either way, there is a relationship between working at home and employee productivity. The results vary because of the higher autonomy that employees have. Meaning, they can do the work scheduling and organizing and do their task anytime of the day. So, their productivity depends on how effective they allocate time and produce output on that designated schedule.
Productivity and its benefits
Productivity is the amount of work that an employee produces at a specific amount of time. This shows how employees effectively make use of their working time. Having a productive day does not only mean being able to finish today’s task. A benefit alongside it is the sense of fulfillment that it gives. Finishing the tasks early also means employees get to decide what they would like to do with their spare time, which could be working on some of tomorrow’s tasks or simply make it their personal time to spend with their loved ones.
Read similar and related articles on thebackroomop.com and ph.asiatatler.com.
Barriers to employee productivity when working at home
Despite attempts and goal settings like “I will get it done today to avoid cramming for deadlines”, there are factors that will affect focus and productivity. Here are some of its causes and how to manage them.
Getting the work done “later” until the last minute and instead scrolling through Facebook and other social media platforms, online shopping, and playing online games are only a few among the forms of procrastination. It is more tempting to procrastinate while working at home since there is no close supervision. It would be beneficial to understand what triggers it and the how to beat them.
- Underestimating the size of the work that needs to be done and overestimating the time to do it. We often feel that some tasks of the day are easy and require a small amount of time to complete. However, there are instances that we fail to acknowledge that there can be a few of those that are time-consuming and difficult, or the task comes in bulk. To avoid this, make a schedule and a to-do list for the day. This keeps you on track on the tasks’ status of completion.
- Lacking knowledge on what needs to be done and how to do it. As ironic as it sounds, feeling unsure because of complicated and unfamiliar tasks can also lead to procrastination. Ask questions or research about it as soon as you can. If you’re going to do it anyway, then it’s worth allotting time to learn and accomplish the task.
- Assuming that you can be able to finish the job at the last minute. The key is that you shouldn’t be overconfident since there is still a possibility that something may arise out of your supposed schedule, and it might not end up the way you want it to be. This helps to avoid committing avoidable errors, cramming, and stress during deadlines.
Check some other tips on how to break procrastination on piathought.com and beat the Mañana Habit.
2. Lack of Motivation
There are days that you feel pumped-up to get things done and there are also days that that you don’t feel like doing anything. Motivation is very important in doing tasks. This will make you feel less burdened and happy to do it. However, days when you lack motivation may come your way. Regardless of working on site or from home, motivation still affects an employee’s productivity. Here are some reasons of motivation time out.
- Disappointments due to unappreciated efforts can cause employee demotivation to do their tasks. An example of this is when you’ve worked hard for a project or being able to formulate ingenious ideas for the improvement of the organization, yet efforts were unrecognized. Appreciation for hard work does not necessarily need to be grand. A simple gesture like a pat on the back creates motivation to pursue ideals and improvements. After a long day at work, employers and superiors who give credit where credit is due, are rewarded with motivated employees.
- Too much work kills motivation. Employees are overwhelmed when they realize there is too many difficult tasks to be done in too little time. To beat this, it would be helpful to break the huge task into smaller ones. This way, you get to see the portion that you have finished than just the entirety of the task being undone. You can also monitor and allocate your time effectively.
- Completing the task takes too long that it gets boring. Dealing with repetitive and tedious tasks can be tiresome. It’s like the more you do the task, the more your motivation depletes. Handle this by taking quick breaks in between to relax your mind and regain focus.
As you give more and more value to your job, it will give you more and more reasons to keep going. Carrots.ph wrote, “people would rather do things that have personal meaning to them and that’s all they need to be to stay motivated”.
3. Employee burn-out
This is a special kind of work-related stress. It is the exhaustion to both physical and emotional health which affects employees’ productivity, sense of accomplishment, and pleasure on what they are doing. Employee burn-out is commonly caused by the following factors:
- Work-life imbalance. When work takes too much of your personal time and effort, it triggers burn-out. Instead of relaxing or spending quality time with your family and friends, your tasks consume it where you end up leaving work late from overtime or working during rest days. When working at home, it is inevitable to spend extra time on your work since you are just in the comfort of your home. However, you should remember that you have a life outside work too.
- Stress from dysfunctional dynamics in the workplace. This happens when you feel the toxicity from your work environment or when you’re feeling uncomfortable with how things are done. To manage the stress brought by this, try the act of Mindfulness. It is where you will face every situation with patience, openness, and without judgment by entering into an intense awareness of what you are sensing as of the moment by using your breath flow. Also remember that as you face these challenges, do not let an unrewarding job compromise your health.
- Lack of Personal control over tasks. It feels great to have the freedom to be creative in your job and do things in your own terms. On the contrary, if an employee is not given the autonomy in making decisions, like handling tasks and problems, they may feel restricted and have no control over daily decisions. This is a greater risk of burnout. Manage this by looking at the things you have control of like how’d you work smart, which tasks you would like to prioritize, or your simple strategies to make your work easier. Focusing on these things will help you be motivated and productive.
Take advantage of this work from home moment to look at the bigger picture. If you feel unmotivated at times, think of your reasons why you still and want to keep moving forward.
4. Distractions and home environment
Working full time from home inevitably affects focus and motivation because of distractions and the home environment itself. Not all homes are designed to be work-friendly which makes it hard to keep your focus and momentum. Here are a few factors.
- Kids and other family members’ routines. Kids, especially, would behave differently from the people you have in your workplace who are busy with their respective tasks, and just like you, would not want to be disturbed. Even your spouse might start a conversation when you are in the middle of work. This is a typical home scenario. It is even more challenging if you’re living with an extended family or relatives. Having your own house and lot proves to be advantageous, especially in this situation, as you can have your own space where you can do your office work. It would be helpful to find your own corner inside your home wherein you can focus, and at the same time, make your family understand that you should not be disturbed during working hours.
- Noise from surroundings. One of the major factors to consider when you’re buying a house and lot is its location. It should be accessible to major thoroughfares but exclusive enough that you would not be bothered by the noise from vehicles on the road or by businesses of other people. As an example, Lessandra homes, which are all quality and affordable house and lot, are situated in strategic locations – near commercial establishments, major transports roads, etc., but provide a quiet and peaceful neighborhood, thereby decreasing this kind of distraction.
no designated workspace at home. Lighting, windows, fixtures,
and the amount of space allocated for the things you use at work is very
important in promoting productivity. To deal with this, designate an area in
your home where you can work and away from distractions. On the other hand, if you are still looking for a home to call your own,
check on the list of quality and affordable house and lots for sale in
the Philippines, and look for the one with
dedicated space designed for working from home, like Lessandra Sienna’s
Hive. A designated work spot will
help you in effectively performing your tasks. Invest in good lighting and fixtures. Make your workspace
clutter-free and well-arranged. Be creative and make your corner fitting for
Find more information on how to buy a house and lot in the Philippines in Lifestyle and Home Investment and tips on how to design your work-from-home space in Home Design.
- Other household duties. You are about to get ready to do your tasks, and while passing by the kitchen, you see a pile of dishes that need to be washed. You felt uncomfortable leaving this mess, so you consume about half an hour to clean it up. Then now you passed by a mountain of laundry to be folded. And the cycle continues. This consumes time and effort that should have been used to do your work. Keep boundaries and bear in mind that you need to accomplish your tasks for the day. When you have extra time after finishing work, then you can be able to do the chores. Do not compromise your work for things that you can do later.
The takeaway: How to boost overall productivity while working from home?
Regardless of where you are doing your job, the aim is to accomplish your tasks and meet deadlines. This process should not always be so dreadful. Here’s a summary of what you can do to further boost your overall productivity:
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself because this will result to stress and demotivation.
- Take short breaks to breathe and relax in between tasks.
- Create a scaffolding by keeping a reasonable schedule and sticking to it. Along with it, try a time management technique that works for you.
- Maintain a work-life balance.
- Share the load if there is more work than you can handle. Ask for help from your superior or colleagues.
- Ask for the household members to cooperate and avoid distracting things that they do during your working hours.
- Be mindful of your procrastination tendencies.
- Discipline yourself.
Most importantly, remember why you keep on going. What or who inspires you. Don’t let your work be a constant battle ground. Motivation also starts with understanding yourself and your goals, and with that, productivity will follow.
Shafizadeh, KR, Mokhtarian,
PL, Niemeier, DA and Salomon, I (2000), ‘The Costs and Benefits of Home-Based
Telecommuting’, UC Berkeley: California Partners for Advanced Transportation
Technology. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/49c1n7hg
Monteiro, NP, Straume, OR and Valente, M (2019), ‘Does remote work improve or impair firm labour productivity? Longitudinal evidence from Portugal’, NIPE Working Papers 14/2019, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
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