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Boost Your Team’s Productivity With These Tools

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Boost Your Team’s Productivity With These Tools

Let’s face it, there are never going to be more than 24 hours in a day or seven days in a week, except between the pages of a science fiction novel. So, with our working lives getting busier, our to-do lists getting longer, and the demands on our time increasing, the need to stay focused and productive and make the most of our working hours without burning out or becoming side-tracked has never been greater. Unfortunately, the distractions have never been more numerous.

Tempting as it is to be candy crushing when you should be number crunching, tweeting cat gifs when you should be lead-generating, and updating your Facebook status when you should be analyzing sales figures, managing your time effectively is key if you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors. Technology is a blessing, but can also be a curse for business.

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Making use of intelligent tools to maximize productivity, streamline processes, and manage projects is one way to work towards better results. There are hundreds of apps and programs out there, all promising to help you get things done quicker and more efficiently, but we’d like to concentrate on a few ideas that we’ve found particularly useful.

Trello

Trello is the ultimate project management tool. It allows users to see all tasks relating to a project or projects at a glance. Highly visual, it takes the form of various lists arranged horizontally on a page. Within each list are cards which contain items relating to the project — checklists, images, links, notes, and more. Cards can be dragged and dropped to other lists to record progress, reordered if their priority changes, and be updated by anyone who has access to them on any device. And because Trello updates in real-time, all team members can understand the status of a project from anywhere, avoiding task repetition and costly mistakes.

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Clever Checklist

Clever Checklist is another web-based task management system that enables users to organize and track the progress of tasks. Checklists for each job are created to keep track of everything that needs to be done. Processes, procedures, and policies are documented to show why things are done, and records and forms are produced to show what work was done, when it was done, and by whom. It keeps everything in one place, allowing for easy access and analysis of data and uses a series of customizable templates to make it extremely user-friendly and versatile.

Cyfe

Cyfe is a powerful business data dashboard app that lets you display and monitor all your business and media data and metrics in one place. The beauty of Cyfe is that it can monitor a huge range of information and data — you just add widgets for each aspect of your business that you want to track. Individual departments and multiple websites can be monitored by adding extra dashboards. You can instantly see social media engagement, look at analytics, sales figures, and reports. Your entire business can be tracked in real time. Within an office environment, displaying a team dashboard on a flat panel display to share this information and coordinate projects can be a useful motivator to your teams and help boost productivity.

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Calendar apps

Staying productive is also about staying organised and managing time effectively, and a calendar app can help with that. Don’t be the white rabbit, always late for that important meeting. Don’t over-schedule. Don’t double-book. If your job involves receiving lots of meeting requests, make sure you block out time on your calendar and encourage your team to do the same so that meetings can be arranged at mutually convenient times. A calendar app can usually allow you to specify free meeting slots so everyone knows when you’re available. Make your team aware of them so everyone’s time can be respected. Everyone’s busy, so the more in sync everyone is with everybody else’s schedule the better.

Mixing work and pleasure

Notifications are the modern enemy of productivity. These days, we all get them constantly on our phones. Emails, texts, reminders, Facebook updates, retweets, mentions, requests to connect on LinkedIn — and it can be difficult to not stop what you’re doing and check them. We do it without even realizing we’re doing it. It’s incredible how much time can be eaten up during the working day while responding to the barrage of non-work-related communications we receive. But there’s a time and a place and it’s important that they don’t distract from the job at hand and affect productivity. If you’re the boss, set an example by putting your personal phone on silent or do not disturb, or even out of sight in your desk drawer. Encourage others to do the same. While many companies are relaxed about allowing employees access to social media sites at work, make it clear that it’s a distraction best avoided until they’re on a break. If you or members of your team have to take personal calls during working hours, take them away from your desk to avoid disturbing others.

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Even constantly checking work-related emails is not always a productive use of time. There’s usually no need to check every email as soon it comes in, unless it’s marked important or is directly related to something you’re working on a that moment. Set aside time to work through them at various points throughout the day so that you can concentrate on the task at hand and meet your deadlines. Remember: productive people focus.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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