As certain workers are beginning to return to the office, some are thrilled to have regained an environment more conducive to their personal productivity. For some, the office has fewer distractions and just makes it easier to get work done, particularly if their projects are highly collaborative.
But for others, working from home has actually provided a large productivity boost. And working remotely could potentially provide even more effectiveness as they continue to work from home but have fewer restrictions and less uncertainty in their overall lives in coming months.
As a time management coach, I’ve been partnering with my clients in navigating the transition from working in the office to working at home and back again. And I have found those who use these five strategies have been able to increase their overall productivity when working from home.
1. They convert their commute
Among the individuals who have found working from home to be a welcome change, I’ve seen a fairly similar pattern of converting their commute time into exercise time. Typically in the morning, they’ll workout (or at minimum walk their dog). And in the evening, they’re often choosing to go on more leisurely walks either on their own, with their dog, or as a family.
This pattern of physical activity not only improves their physical health but also has positive benefits on their mental health and alertness throughout the day.
2. They block focused time
I’ve always recommended setting aside time for focused work. But one challenge in an office environment is that even if you’ve put the time as “busy” in your calendar, colleagues can still drop by. These drive-by meetings can be productive at times but can also lead to an inability to have unbroken work blocks. In these situations, I’ve often recommended creating some physical distance such as shutting your door, going to a work “telephone booth,” or working remotely.
But one good thing about being at home is that you have physical distance from your coworkers, so you can block focused time and stick with it. I recommend that you either have recurring focused time in your calendar, such as for an hour or two in the morning. Or that on a weekly basis you block in some chunks of time for the key activities you want to get done, such as putting together a report or writing an article.