Bad Habits Getting in the Way of Your Focus and Productivity

While many businesses have been operating remotely for over a year now, doing so still comes with plenty of challenges. One in particular is keeping employees motivated and productive in their work-from-home (or “work from anywhere”) environments.

The solution here is multi-faceted. For starters, consider the essential office tools and technology employees need to get their work done. While a report from ServiceNow shows that 83% of Canadian workers don’t think employers are meeting their state-of-the-art technology needs, the fix is fairly straightforward.

Beyond providing the tech support needed to get things done remotely, the more difficult productivity problems to solve are rooted in habitual behaviors. Employers and managers need to be mindful of the following “bad habits” when educating teams on the best ways to work from anywhere.

Prioritizing Quantity Over Quality

Discussions around productivity often idealize how much you can get done while glossing over the importance of output. Rather than pushing for speed and quantity, nurture a company culture that focuses on quality and meaningful progress. Doing so will help generate better work and increase employee satisfaction and loyalty as a result. Also, turn to reliable third-party solutions for tackling more tedious work like shipping, printing, and mailing. This will free up time for your employees to focus on tasks that are more creative and rewarding.

Lacking Organizational Supplies

The psychological effects of clutter are well-documented. There’s no arguing that a messy desk or office space will impact overall work performance. Equip your remote teams with supplies for organization. File sorters, supply caddies, and paper trays, for example, are great to have on hand for desktop organization. You can also utilize accessories like classification folders and expanding files for categorizing important files and/or business briefs.

Skipping Brain Breaks

Regular breaks are crucial for focus and helping the brain recharge before a new task. However, depending on company culture, employees might feel overly tied to their desks (and the clock). It’s your job as the employer to rectify this and promote a healthy culture that encourages work breaks throughout the day. Stress the importance of self-care activities with your team for the sake of protecting their mental health long-term.

Not Setting a Work Routine

The flexibility of remote work allows us to work on our own schedules, but that doesn’t mean starting the day without a plan in place. One way to practice accountability (and encourage it among employees) is to create a to-do list at the end of each day with the three major tasks you want to accomplish in the days ahead. If you’re putting a task off or simply don’t enjoy doing, block time for it on your calendar for whenever you feel the most focused. For many people, mornings are ideal for knocking stuff out but tailor each day to your unique mindset.

Replying Immediately to Emails

Checking email is one of the biggest time-sucks because it’s a never-ending process and major source of distraction. Maintain focus throughout the day by designating specific intervals at which you open your inbox. Otherwise, keep your email closed and mute notifications. As an employer or manager, make sure to set reasonable expectations for email response times and encourage healthy inbox habits company-wide.

By Staples Canada

May 21, 2021