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This post is by Anthony Savage of Sparta Health

Productivity is defined as "the state or quality of being productive". It's what most people are after. Despite what some assume, studies have shown [1], that working from home can improve overall productivity. Here's how to do it.

Be Comfortable

Firstly, you need to make sure that your workstation is set up correctly. When you're comfortable and avoiding pain, your productivity levels will increase.

Working in an uncomfortable environment can lead to what's known as "tech neck" and decrease your productivity significantly. A few practical ways to avoid allowing discomfort to impact your productivity is to ensure your screen is at eye height, your mouse and keyboard are at elbow level, and the chair you're sitting on is comfortable [2].

Approach the situation like working in an office

It doesn't matter that you're working from home. You're still at work, and you need to treat it like work. You can achieve this in a variety of different ways.

In order to prevent distraction from those you work with, you'll need to talk to them about your working hours. Effective communication will not only help them to get a better understanding of the best times to be talking to you, but also to help you plan when you will attend to your other commitments [3].

He who fails to plan, plans to fail. To make the most out your work time, you need to plan when your working time will be. Also, you're not a robot, and if you try to be, you'll negatively impact your productivity. So plan on the hours you'll be working and when you will clock off [3].

Dress appropriately, like how you would for work. If you wouldn't go into the office in breakfast stained tracksuit bottoms, don't work from home in such attire [3]. How you dress is going to affect your frame of mind, if you dress like a slob, your subconscious will be telling you that this is not working time, but relaxing time.

Exercise Daily

Exercise is just as crucial for your mental well-being and productivity as it is for your physical health.

By exercising before you start working, you'll be giving yourself higher levels of energy, reducing stress, and reducing fatigue [4].

These impacts on productivity are as a result of getting increased levels of blood, glucose, oxygen in the brain, particularly the parts of the brain responsible for cognitive functioning and productivity. In addition, your levels of endorphins (the happiness hormone) will rise [4].

Eat a healthy diet

Diet can join exercise on the list of things that improve both productivity and physical health. When eating a diet that consists mainly of foods high in salt and saturated fats, your body's limited supply of blood will be used for digestion, and be directed away from the brain. A poor diet will often makes people feel groggy and in a bad mood [5] – obviously awful for productivity.

On the other hand, when eating slow-burning foods such as wholemeal bread, and fruits, the blood can circulate better to the brain. By doing this, it may increase levels of dopamine, and anti-oxidants which aid in memory, and better memory can lead to improved productivity.

Write a to-do-list

Trying to remember everything that needs to done can be terrible for the brain. Your mind will be all over the place, and this does not bode well for productivity.

Instead, by writing down a to-do-list, you'll have a clearer picture of everything that needs to be achieved. But to-do-lists need to be done correctly.

  1. Write down everything you need to do.
  2. Separate each task into three categories: Work, Projects, Other.
  3. Rank each task in each category by Urgency (should be done asap), Importance (bad consequences if it doesn't get done), and Significance (large impact in the long-term)
  4. Write a plan for what you'll be doing and when you'll be doing it [6].

Ensure you're getting enough sleep

Sleep is vital for productivity. Without sleep, our brains are unable to fully function, and this can impact our mood, memory, and concentration [7], all key to being productive.

Did you know, each year the average person loses the company they work for about $1500 in productivity costs, by not getting enough sleep [7].

The average adult will require around seven hours of sleep a night, but this will vary depending on the individual.

Conclusion

Increasing productivity while working remotely can seem like a challenge. But so long as you apply some of the techniques provided in this article, you're productivity levels should increase.

About Anthony Savage 

Anthony Savage is the Medical Services Manager at Sparta Health, having joined the team in 2017 and is responsible for the overall operational delivery of our high quality services to our clients. He has a solid background in workplace physiology, as well over 12 years of delivering, and holding senior management positions, for leading injury and condition management providers.

He is known for his innovative approach in his design and execution of services and his ability to build enduring relationships.

References 

  1. Bloom N. To Raise Productivity, Let More Employees Work from Home. Harvard Business Review [Internet]. 2014 [cited 7 August 2020];. Available from: https://stayinthegame.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/HBR-To-Raise-Productivity-Let-More-Employees-Work-from-Home.pdf
  2. Paul G. The Ultimate Guide to Working from Home: How to stay sane, healthy and be more productive than ever. Hachette; 2020.
  3. Fleishman G. Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily. alt concepts inc; 2020.
  4. Sanders H. How Exercise Improves Productivity and Your Brain Function - Burke Britton Financial Partners & Secure Life Financial Solutions [Internet]. Burke Britton Financial Partners & Secure Life Financial Solutions. 2018 [cited 7 August 2020]. Available from: https://www.bbfp.com.au/latest-articles/how-exercise-improves-productivity-and-your-brain-function#:~:text=Increased%20productivity%20is%20noticeable%20within,at%20all%20tasks%20in%20life.
  5. Friedman R. What You Eat Affects Your Productivity [Internet]. Harvard Business Review. 2014 [cited 7 August 2020]. Available from: https://hbr.org/2014/10/what-you-eat-affects-your-productivity
  6. Allen D. Getting things done. Penguin; 2002.
  7. Rosekind M, Gregory K, Mallis M, Brandt S, Seal B, Lerner D. The Cost of Poor Sleep: Workplace Productivity Loss and Associated Costs. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2010;52(1):91-98.
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