Enhancing Productivity with the “New Normal” of Working from Home

By April 15, 2020 April 28th, 2020 Blogs
Productivity in Analytics while Working from Home

Most enterprises are in a situation where their employees need to work from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a major transition from an environmental perspective and has a huge impact on individual productivity. We are used to treating our home as the place where we spend our off-work hours during weekdays and weekends, a space shared with family and friends. Most of us are used to working in an office environment, surrounded by our colleagues and meetings in a conference room, using a whiteboard to articulate our ideas. Shifting to this “new normal” can be challenging; however, it can be made simple and if we set up and follow some easy protocols.

Here are some pointers that would help boost productivity and also ensure our health and safety:

Create and Follow a Schedule That Fits Your Needs

Create a schedule for the upcoming week, based on your professional and personal activities. It is equally important for some parents to take care of their kids’ schedules as well if they take online lessons. As far as possible, plan to wake up the same time every day and follow a routine. Include reminders in your calendar for any activity that can be planned, including breaks for meals, a walk, time with kids, and yes, even coffee.

Define Core and Flex Work Hours

It is a good practice to define core work hours that align with 75% of the time with your co-workers and team members. You can set aside 25% of your time that can be at a different time if needed. This would help spending some time with kids during the day or having an extended lunch with them during this period. It would be better to be transparent regarding your schedule with your teams to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Home Office and Ergonomic furniture

A home office set up is very critical. In order to make sure that you take care of your health and safety, make sure you have the required infrastructure per your need. There are companies that allow employees to use their chairs, desk, headsets, and other essential items from the office on loan during this period. It would not be a bad idea to check with your leadership about some benefits that you could leverage to make your work more effective. While setting up a workspace at home, choose a quiet corner that would allow you to work without any distractions during the core working hours to maximize productivity.

Staying in Touch with Team Members with Virtual Coffee Breaks/Happy Hours

A lot of our performance and productivity is inspired by people around us. As a part of defining your schedule, look for options that will allow you to schedule coffee breaks with your colleagues just as you would do so at work. You can use this time to discuss things outside the scope of work and share experiences and learnings with your colleagues. Leverage technology to the fullest extent and have video conference calls, virtual whiteboard sessions, and become creative with your virtual background for your meetings.

At Saama Analytics, we have an initiative from our HCM team that hosts a virtual Happy Hour every Friday. This gives us an opportunity to share some cheer with our teams on Friday evenings, and discuss topics unrelated to work. In recent weeks, we have shared movie recommendations, life hacks to make our WFH better, which apps to use to manage work and home, and also parenting tips.

Have Fun Too!

You could also find options to play online games with your friends and family. There are several apps available to play your favorite games online.

What Helps Make the Transition Stress-Free: Positive Mindset and Planning Ahead

Stay positive knowing that it is a short term situation, and we will definitely overcome this and there is a bright future ahead. We need to stay healthy to fight that battle and come out with flying colors. Do not forget to appreciate your teams during this period. Motivation is a critical aspect of creating positivity and also to lower the stress levels. Staying positive will not only increase productivity, but it will also spread that vibe across our family members and friends.

Planning your activities during the upcoming week ahead is definitely a good way of managing stress and keeping last-minute anxieties at bay. However, quickly review that plan at the end of every day, and in the morning, adjust your schedule based on your learnings. Remember, transitioning at a slower pace can make it stress-free, and not pushing it.

Take Extra Care: Diet Plan and Workouts

While we work from home, our kitchen and pantry are easily accessible and it is tempting to grab a snack frequently. It is important to follow a good diet and be active to stay healthy. Leverage this time to make some healthy drinks using natural ingredients such as fresh vegetables and fruits, and try to stay away from soda and other carbonated drinks.

Workouts are equally important; both for your body and mind. Plan regular workout breaks during the day, and avoid sitting in the same place for a long time. Take a walk around the house, do stretches, a few minutes of mediation, or a short yoga and relaxing breath session.

There is a good chance that you are already following some or all of these tips. Being healthy allows you to create positivity across the organization and deliver maximum productive output.

Stay safe and healthy!

Gopal Swaminathan

Gopal Swaminathan

20 years of Data & Analytics experience, enabling Business Outcomes through Information Insights. Over the last 12 years, exclusive focus has been with P&C Insurers. Gopal currently leads the Insurance Practice at Saama Analytics, spearheading Client Partnership & Analytics focussed Insurance Solutions.

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