Work from home? Don’t feel too productive? Johnson Wong gives TJ five productivity hacks.
Today, the workforce has become a dynamic ecosystem where organisations are constantly subjected to disruptions by new technologies and business models. The dramatic rise of the gig workforce has taken centre stage as a mainstream employment approach for many companies. Last year, it was reported about 167, 000 workers belonging to freelancers as their main job in Singapore.
Merits of a gig workforce
Many stakeholders saw the increasing evidence that flexible work policies can provide meaningful advantages not just for their employees but also for their business. Some key benefits are higher productivity, lower absenteeism, the uplifting of employee morale and greater autonomy and flexibility for project deployments.
Challenges of working remotely
Research studies have indicated that there are also significant challenges gig workers face when working remotely at home. Some major challenges include:
- losing a sense of purpose
- diminishing corporate camaraderie
- experiencing loneliness
- distractions at home
- lacking mentoring and guidance
- deep communication issues that undermine the very purpose of working remotely
- missing a sense of belonging
Regardless if you are a freelancer, part-timer or contractor working remotely from home, you can use the following five hacks to achieve more successful outcomes when working from home.
Five hacks for achieving successful outcomes when working remotely
Reach out to a working buddy or a community
Working alone at home can be isolating. Reach out to other remote workers in your network or find them through a local online community such as Meetup. Schedule co-working dates to meet up at a convenient co-working space (Hive, WeWork, etc.) or local café.
During the meetup, you can exchange learnings of a new skill together directly or indirectly related to a work project. These interactions with either a working buddy or a community help avoid feelings of loneliness, and it can also provide some much-needed project idea inspiration and fresh, productive thinking.
Plan your day schedule
Unlimited flexibility on how you work can be daunting. Establish a daily routine by listing a work plan for the week and utilise a calendar to schedule your daily work regimen. You can achieve higher productivity by setting realistic goals for each day and only calibrating them if you are interrupted by other unforeseen urgent and important matters.
Be disciplined and conscientious in following your daily work schedule, as a plan is only useful if it is followed through.
When planning your schedule, synchronise your best circadian rhythms by finding your most productive time and weave in those critical tasks during this period. You will be surprised how much work you have achieved during this focused period.
Celebrate milestones and wins
Don’t be limited by not being able to share your success when you complete project milestone or struck a new deal. You can celebrate your victories by rewarding yourself a lunch treat or rope in your working buddy or community for a social gathering on the weekend.
By pausing to acknowledge a job well done, you can become more positive and motivated in achieving greater success.
Dress like you’re in the office
Certainly, most people believe that one of the benefits of working from home is that you can wear the entire day casually. Although your home office may be a few steps away from your comfortable bedroom, that does not mean that you should show up at your desk in the same thing you wore to bed.
There is a tendency that if you are wearing pyjamas or sweatpants that you may feel too relax and less serious about the work. Think of how you show up in work clothes versus causal ones. Chances are your clients or bosses will soon notice as well even if it is only a teleconference call.
This habit of getting dressed like you are in the office helps you adjust the mindset of working from ‘home relaxing’ and getting things done effectively.
Reduce the chance of distractions
Treat your workspace at home as your office. Dedicate a place for your home office that is free from family distractions and surround your workspace with work-related things rather than TV, toys, massage chair, travel books, family to-do-list, and stacks of laundry.
Some of these items create distractions such as reminding you of chores or errands that you need to attend to. Organise your desk space by decluttering what you need and do not need items for work. Make sure that your equipment such as your computer, phone, printer, writing instruments and notepads are readily accessible and other resources that enable you to be productive.
It is clear that being a gig worker has inherent advantages as well as challenges. Nonetheless, by practising those hacks and continuously adapt to new work demands will determine the extent to which you thrive in the gig economy.
About the author
Johnson Wong is a learning strategist and director of Empower Training and Consultancy Pte Ltd., where he provides services for clients in learning design, learning technology solutions (e-courses), business design, human capital development and training advisory.