The coronavirus pandemic forced the global workforce to move indoors, making work from home the norm at business establishments all over the world. For over a year, as the pandemic continues, employees have had to work entirely out of their homes. The most obvious question that arose from this new arrangement was if it was hampering the productivity of employees. Working from home meant being in a surrounding that could potentially offer many more distractions that are usually missing from a professional workplace. Research conducted on productivity in the past year has managed to shed light on the evolving nature of productivity at home and how employees are adapting to this new shift.
Is working from home making employees more productive?
Research over the past year has shown that working from home is producing a better turn around on projects. A survey also found that work from home employees spent less time avoiding work (15% difference) and also spent 1.4 more days working each month. In surveys, employees have also reported that working from home keeps them away from distracting coworkers and they spend 30 minutes less talking about non-work topics. When quarantine first began last year, major companies like Splunk, Affirm, and Microsoft saw a large spike in productivity.
The flipside to working from home
Almost a year after the pandemic, working from home has also brought its own share of stressors. Prolonged periods of isolation have led to workers reporting lesser job satisfaction and needing more time to tend to their mental health. Further, research has also attributed the initial surge in productivity at the beginning of quarantine to panic. This panic productivity was a direct result of people fearing that they might lose their jobs. Working from home also means that people might have to work longer hours - since they’re at home, there seems to be no clear demarcation between a professional and private life. Working longer hours might result in more productivity but it does not prove that the person would be successful in performing the same tasks in a shorter duration at the workplace.
Ways to improve productivity while working from home
Fluctuations in productivity as a result of the stress and fatigue associated with the pandemic is natural. Some ways to improve one’s productivity include: