Have you been asked to work from home because of the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? According to the Pew Research Center, only 7 percent of U.S. workers had the option to telecommute in 2019. With the recent pandemic, however, companies in nearly all sectors are asking their employees to work from home. If you’re among this ever-growing crowd, you should follow these telecommuting tips to stay productive during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Check Your Email Less Frequently
While email is a convenient communications platform when telecommuting, you should be conscious of how much time you spend browsing your inbox. A study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that the average employee spends nearly 11 hours each workweek reading and responding to emails.
Constantly checking your email is a distraction that prevents you from focusing on work-related tasks. By checking your email no more than once every hour when telecommuting, you’ll achieve a higher level of productivity that’s reflected upon the quantity and quality of your work.
Speed Up Your Wi-Fi
Slow Wi-Fi can harm your telecommuting productivity. According to a study conducted by SanDisk, slow Wi-Fi is responsible for one week of lost productivity, per employee, each year. You may have a blazing-fast internet service at your home, but it won’t do any good if your Wi-Fi is slow. Rather, you’ll still encounter slow speeds when downloading and uploading data over the internet.
Here are some tips to speed up your Wi-Fi and increase your telecommuting productivity:
o Place your computer or device closer to the router to which it’s connected.
o Remove physical obstructions between your computer or device and the router.
o Since routers use the same radio frequency bands as microwaves, video cameras and other electronics, changing the channel may speed up your Wi-Fi.
o Monitor bandwidth usage in your router to identify data-hogging devices that could otherwise slow down your Wi-Fi.
o Install a Wi-Fi booster to extend the range of your router, and therefore speed up your Wi-Fi.
o Update the driver for your computer or device’s network adapter to the latest version.
o Update your router’s firmware to the latest version.
Illuminate Your Home Office With Sunlight
Rather than relying on artificial light, such as an overhead fixture or a desk lamp, use sunlight to illuminate your home office. Not only is it more energy efficient, but illuminating your home office with sunlight can also increase your telecommuting productivity.
According to a survey conducted by Harvard University, 70 percent of employees say they are more productive when working in a sunlit environment as opposed to an artificially lit environment. Exposure to sunlight promotes lower stress levels, which in turn raises productivity levels. To illuminate your home office with sunlight, set up your workstation in front of a window and open the curtains.
Use a Video Conferencing App for Meetings
If meetings are a regular part of your workweek, you should consider using a video conferencing app. While it’s possible to conduct meetings by phone as well as by email, video conferencing is a better solution because it allows you to both see and hear the people with whom you are meeting.
Social isolation is one of the biggest challenges faced by telecommuting workers. And with COVID-19, it will likely become increasingly problematic for at-home workers. The good news is video conferencing allows you to hold productive meetings while socializing with your coworkers, managers, clients or other individuals. Some of the top video conferencing apps include Skype for Business, Zoom, Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting.
Dress for Success
You might be surprised to learn that your attire can affect your telecommuting productivity. Far too many telecommuting workers roll out of bed in their pajamas and immediately head to their home office. Wearing pajamas or other extremely casual clothes, though, instills a sense of relaxation that lowers your motivation to work.
A three-piece suit and tie typically isn’t necessary when telecommuting, but you should wear professional-looking clothes. Otherwise, you may subconsciously slack off.
Don’t forget to take breaks when telecommuting. Squeezing a few short breaks into your workday will help you relax both mentally and physically, which may have a positive impact on your telecommuting productivity. An infographic published by Lifehack even suggests that taking a 30-second break, known as a microbreak, increases a worker’s productivity by approximately 13 percent.
For regular breaks to have a positive impact on your productivity, you must separate yourself from all work-related tasks during them. In other words, use this opportunity to rest, eat, exercise or socialize with members of your household. When your break is over, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the workday.
Create a Work Schedule
Telecommuting often comes with the freedom of setting your own hours. Unless otherwise stated by your employer, you can choose when to begin your workday and when to end it. Unfortunately, the flexible hours that come with telecommuting leads many workers down the wrong path. If you work erratic hours, you’ll struggle to stay focused and productive.
To stay productive when telecommuting, you should create a work schedule. With your workdays planned out, you’ll become acclimated to working during those hours.
Refrain From Social Media
Unless it’s associated with your job, you should refrain from using social media when telecommuting. According to a study conducted by TeamLease, the average office worker spends nearly one-third of his or her working hours on social media.
Maybe you want to check Facebook to see how your friends are holding up during the COVID-19 outbreak, or perhaps you want to pass the time by watching videos on Twitter. Regardless, you should wait until your workday is over to use social media.
Regardless of how long you’re planning to telecommute during the outbreak, you can stay productive by following these tips.
If you have any questions, our team would be more than happy to help. Call us today at 215-393-9787.