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Struggling With Productivity While Working From Home? You're in Good Company

By Maurie Backman – May 8, 2020 at 9:32AM

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Many workers have seen their output decline now that they're doing their jobs remotely. Here's what to do if you're one of them.

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way people work in a very big way. Suddenly, a large chunk of the workforce is operating remotely, and not surprisingly, productivity issues are coming to a head. In fact, 30% of workers say they're less productive now that they're doing their jobs from home, according to a recent survey by in partnership with YouGov. Here are just some of the reasons why.

1. Less collaboration

Working remotely means tackling certain tasks solo that would normally be done as a team. As a result, around 33% of at-home workers say their productivity has struggled due to less collaboration with colleagues. If you've had the same experience, one thing you should know is that just because you're physically separated from your colleagues doesn't mean you can't share ideas and offer one another feedback. Schedule regular videoconferences to review ongoing projects, or create a team channel using a chat app to stay in touch. You may find that having your teammates' input and support helps your productivity take a turn for the better.

Man holding his dog while typing on his laptop.


2. TV and/or media streaming

It's hard to stay focused on work when you have access to a TV at all times, and you don't have a boss standing over you to catch you streaming content on your laptop instead of tackling job-related tasks. In fact, about 30% of at-home workers blame the distraction of TV and media on their lack of productivity. But remember, if your productivity drops to an unacceptable level, you could end up in a situation where your job's on the line, and in today's extremely shaky economy, that's not a good place to be. So, schedule time for TV and internet breaks rather than sneak them in. If you have that time blocked off in your schedule, you'll be less likely to get sidetracked when you're supposed to be doing actual work.

3. Less mental stimulation

For 30% of workers doing their jobs from home, their decline in output comes from a place of not feeling mentally stimulated. If that's the case, propose a new project you're excited to work on that will add value to your company or team. It will serve as a break from the regular grind and give you something you might actually enjoy.

4. Sleeping in more

When you don't have an office to report to physically, you may not be motivated to get out of bed in the morning. About 30% of at-home workers say they're sleeping in more, and that's hurting their productivity. The solution? Get on a schedule and set your alarm for the same time each day. Not only will it help with your output, but it'll also lend to better sleeping habits.

5. Anxiety about COVID-19

For about 28% of workers who are doing their jobs remotely, COVID-19 fears are zapping their focus, resulting in a decline in output. But while you can't just snap your fingers and forget that the pandemic is happening, you can pledge to only check the news a couple of times each day. Right now, much of what's being reported is either negative or speculative in nature, and that's hardly helpful. A better bet is to limit your news consumption to 15 minutes or so in the morning, and a similar check-in at the end of the day. If there's a monumental development in the fight against COVID-19, don't worry -- you'll hear about it.

Your employer may not expect you to maintain the same level of output at home as you would in an office setting. But the more productive you are, the more job security you'll buy yourself, so it certainly pays to make an effort.

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