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Most Employees Are More Productive When They Work Somewhere Other Than The Office

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Most Employees Are More Productive When They Work Somewhere Other Than The Office

It’s possible that most of your employee’s are wasting time while at work. It’s not their fault, though. An open-floor office is a jungle full of distraction, and it can be hard to get anything done in a space like that.

A new survey of 2,600 hundred people found that 76 percent of people can do better work outside of the office! Flex Jobs, a job bored focused on finding employee’s remote jobs, cited that most people found the office too distracting and that interruptions from coworkers killed productivity.

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It takes time to get in the zone when you begin working each day, and it takes a lot to stay in the zone. Consider working like driving on a long road trip. When you’re on the highway, you’re getting to your destination as quickly as possible. It takes time to get from your home to the highway entrance ramp, and each time a coworker pulls you away from your task, you have to get off the highway and pull into a gas station. It takes time to get back on the highway and get into driving mode.

Commuting Leads to Decrease in Productivity

Distraction and interruption isn’t the only reason that employees prefer working from home, a coffeeshop or a library. They also cited commuting as a major reason for their lack of productivity. It’s important to begin each day on the right foot. How you start your day sets the tone for everything you do that day. Many employees are starting their day in an hours worth of bumper to bumper traffic.

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According to an article in TIME, the morning commute causes a rise in blood pressure, anxiety and stress. Many employees are on the edge when they arrive at work, long before they have the chance to even start interacting and being productive.

Office Politics as a Big Productivity Killer

In addition, employees cite office politics as a big productivity killer. Like the morning commute, this is a big form of stress and anxiety. It’s true, many people do thrive on a cutthroat office environment. Some find it exciting. Many people don’t find it exciting, though. In fact, many people are disengaged by the office politics game, rather than being motivated by it. 

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This should come as a wake up call to office managers out there. The work environment we’re used to may be outdated, and it may be time to reevaluate your companies policy on remote work. If you’re worried that some of your employees aren’t being as productive as possible, consider taking action:

What to Do Then?

Offer a Remote Work Policy

Most survey respondents cited that they’d be most productive at home. In fact, 30 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to take a 10 to 20 percent pay cut if they could telecommute. As a company, you could test that theory out. It may be quite a stretch to suddenly allow all your employees freedom, but you could give the policy a test run with a few of your trusted employees.

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Create And Do Not Disturb Workspaces

This idea comes from my college library, where we had large rooms that were strictly for studying. In these rooms you weren’t allowed to talk or collaborate, you were only allowed to work on your own. This is a good option for companies that aren’t ready to offer a telecommute option, but see the need to revamp their office culture.

Make Your Office Healthy

According to the survey, health is a growing concern in the office culture. The lack of flexibility of a job means that your eating and exercising habits are at the mercy of your office. In fact, 80% of respondents think they’d be healthier if they didn’t work at an office. Not only that, but eating health foods increases brain power and productivity. Ease your employee’s minds and make them productivity machines by offering healthy snacks at the office, and possibly even an exercise break.

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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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