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9 Reasons Working Moms Are Highly Productive

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9 Reasons Working Moms Are Highly Productive

Working mothers face many challenges in life and yet they are often highly productive people. Discover the productivity secrets working moms use to win at the office and at home.

1. They Know How To Manage Trade Offs

In the working world, we constantly face trade off decisions – whether to do choose option A or option B for a product launch event, for example. Working mothers are highly skilled and capable when it comes to managing trade offs. This skill is developed at home as an infant is raised. For example, when a baby finally gets a few hours sleep in the afternoon, a working mother knows that is a great time to catch up on some tasks.

2. They Know How To Focus At Work

Working mothers tend to have a great ability to focus at work because they cannot afford to stay late at the office every day. From the moment they arrive at the office until they depart, they manage each hour effectively. In fact, a 2013 study by Ernst and Young Australia, found the following: Women in flexible roles waste only 11.1% of their working time, compared to an average of 14.5% for the rest of the working population. This finding also suggests that flexible working arrangements contribute to productivity.

3. They Understand The Power of Relationships

As matrix organizations become more common, it is no longer enough to have a command and control approach to work. Instead, working moms know the importance of nurturing relationships. They know that results in the professional world have a much greater impact when the needs of people are taken into account. A 2007 article in Forbes magazine reported that parents often perform very well at work as some of their parenting skills apply to the work environment.

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4. They Use Top Notch Productivity Techniques

Working mothers have no time to waste on rework and related activities. That’s why working mothers become masters of habits to improve their results. For example, many working mothers have learned how to build a checklist to prepare for the school year (e.g. check school times, buy school supplies, plan school transportation). That attention to detail and logistics pays off in the business world. Working mothers know the importance of working through each step of a process. That same skill set can be used to create a great customer experience.

5. They Use Benefits To Improve Their Health

Some people have a view that they should simply work all the time to deliver results. Unfortunately, that approach only works for a limited period of time. Working mothers, on the other hand, know their limits. If their employer offers health benefits, they understand the importance of fully using those benefits. That means less stress and fewer sick days. After all, you cannot be productive if you are sick! Working mothers also tend to be proactive in their approach to health by visiting their doctor and dentist regularly.

Here are some of the health benefits that working moms know to use:

Flexible work time: they may arrive at 8am and depart at 4pm in order to deliver their work and manage their family needs.

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Extended Health Care: some companies provide insurance coverage for massages and other stress relief practices

6. They Know How To Get Help

They know that sometimes you just need someone to lean on when you’re working hard. Working mothers are highly capable in seeking out support to get through the day. For many working moms, that means calling on family (including the grandparents) for help at home. For working mothers with higher incomes, additional options are available: hiring a nanny, taking a spa day and spending on other purchases to manage life and reduce stress.

At work, working moms are ready and willing to seek help when they need it rather than continuing to struggle by themselves.

7. They Know How To Say No

They know the great power of saying no. A key productivity skill is saying no to low value tasks that do not contribute to your goals at work or at home. For example, consider the case of being asked to serve on a committee at the office. Start by taking a few minutes to look for connections to your job’s requirements (e.g. does this committee help you make sales?) or your personal goals (e.g. does the committee grow your network or help you learn new skills?). If there is no connection, it is time to decline.

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Use the following resources to improve your No skills

The Gentle Art of Saying No

9 Ways To Say No To Work Stress

8. They Create Solutions Rather Than Demanding Company Concessions

Many successful working mothers take responsibility for their commitments. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, explains that constantly demanding accommodation and assistance from your employer is a negative in his book “Winning.” In Welch’s view, it is easier to obtain flexibility and concessions once one delivers great performance. This tip is all about taking a proactive approach to productivity, rather than passively waiting for solutions to appear.

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9. They Keep Drinking Water To Stay Productive

They know that the quality and quantity of their work output is impacted by their mental state. That’s why working mothers drink plenty of water. A 2013 study by the University of East London recently found that drinking water increases productivity by 14% (i.e. completed tasks faster). If you are frustrated with the time needed to complete a task, get yourself a tall glass of water! This tip is especially important for coffee and tea drinkers – caffeine has been considered a diuretic (i.e. it dehydrates you)

Drinking water is all about giving your body the fuel it needs to keep you productive.

Featured photo credit: Startup Woman/StartupStockPhotos via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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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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