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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 08 March 2021
  • Jelani Markus

6 Ways to Stay Productive While Working from Home

It’s almost hard to believe there was a time when working from home was seen as a novel occurrence. Before 2020, many employees went to their dedicated offices surrounded by co-workers and completed their work duties. But things have changed. And as a result, the small business landscape now requires a lot of fresh perspectives. That starts with productivity maintenance. In order to keep your small business engine moving, it’s important that all employees contribute as they would in the office. The following six practices can help you get the most out of your employees working from home.

person doing yoga at home

Assume the Best

While it may be hard to believe for many, the numbers don’t lie: On average, people are 47% more productive when working from home. This could very well be the case with your own team. In order to get the most out of your employees, start with the assumption that they are already ready and willing to work hard for you. Don’t focus on getting them to work. Instead, focus on is creating an environment that makes it easier to be as productive as possible. Read ahead to learn more.

Target Your Emails

Starting your day by reading email after email only to discover that more than half don’t need your attention can feel like a waste of productivity. But what’s worse is that this daily routine can detract from your ability to get work done. If you want to remove this obstacle from your employees’ path to success, target the emails you send to them. You can use an @ symbol along with their name to push a notification directly to them or flag the email as urgent (but only for the people who need to see it immediately).

Use the Right Online Tools

Zoom. Microsoft Teams. Monday. The number of different productivity programs available to facilitate collaboration with employees working from home can feel daunting. To help you pick the tool that’s right for your team, the best process may be to ask your team members for feedback about which functionalities they really need. Once you have a set of tools in mind, you need to get everyone up to speed on how to use them. If you or someone on your team is a subject-matter expert, organize time for them to dig deep and share tips and tricks with employees who need more help navigating new systems.

Encourage Break Time

At the office, breaks were easy. Everyone can see you step away from your desk for a short time to decompress, recharge and come back ready to get back to it. In a working-from-home scenario, this can prove more difficult. Many employees (and perhaps even you) may feel guilty about not being productive. What may seem like dedication might lead to less than stellar results. We all need to take moments to ourselves if we want to deliver the best work possible. Let your employees know that breaks and time for themselves are important components of doing good work. It’s also important to assign workloads in a way that allows them to take breaks. If everything seems to be due all at once, your employees might not feel like a break is worth taking.

Provide Home Office Tools

When you walk into an office, there’s obviously a certain vibe that is hard to replicate. While you can’t really bring the office home, you can make working from home feel more like the office. If you’re comfortable with letting your employees borrow office supplies like ergonomic chairs, invite them to stop by and pick one up. Be sure that they let you know about any office supplies and furniture they’ll be taking home so that office inventory doesn’t become an issue. You can also provide a stipend for employees to use for printing (or buying a printer) so that they have access to hard copies of their digital files when needed.

Have Non-work Conversations

What’s something from working in offices that falls by the wayside when working from home? The watercooler conversations. Part of being a team is the feeling of camaraderie that comes from getting to know your employees at the same time that they get to know each other. Try to organize time with your team to just share their day, weekend or any big event they may have experienced outside of work. These chats can happen before or after a meeting or can be scheduled separately. The goal is to maintain the humanity of your employees and give them the feeling of accomplishing something worthwhile.

As we continue to learn more about working from home, new insights will steadily reveal themselves. The tips above are just some of the ways you can strengthen day-to-day productivity and get the best out of your employees.

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