How to remove workplace distractions and increase productivity in a virtual work environment

How To Remove Workplace Distractions And Increase Productivity In A Virtual Work Environment?

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“Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.”
– Adam Hochschild

Caroline is a work-from-home mom. Everyday she would plan to finish work on time. However, at the end of each day, she found herself with piles of incomplete work and she would end-up staying a couple of hours later than her regular working hours. This has started to eat into her time with family. Her work quality started to drop. When Caroline looked at her work day carefully, she realized that she was ending up wasting a lot of time due to distractions. To be able to be productive and hence happy, she would have to block out these distractions.

Weeding out distractions at the virtual workplace/home office can make a remarkable difference in your productivity. True, completely getting rid of distractions is an impractical goal, but one has to accept that distractions have a deep impact on the way we work. It is crucial that you keep them in check. Every time you get distracted, it takes you 25 minutes to get back in the flow of things. How does one deal with this issue?

The first step would be to identify factors that distract you. The most common factors contributing to distraction are as follows:

  1. Over-communication: Too many phone calls, emails, event reminders, etc., may lead to a five-second distraction but it can set you back by a good half an hour in terms of progress. While you are working on something important, close down all the extra windows (instant messengers, social networks, Outlook, etc.) on your computer and concentrate on the task.

  2. Web surfing: This as the highest cause of distraction while working. Since your web surfing is not checked at your home office, you end up spending more time on random searches, which wastes precious minutes. Even at your virtual office, keep your internet usage in check – set up a time to visit social media sites or do your personal web surfing. Find out the time when you are least productive and tired and need a break from work – utilize this time for doing leisure surfing. However, keep the time-spent in check.

  3. Unhealthy work environment: Loud environment, household distractions, uncomfortable seating arrangement, improper lighting of your workspace – all lead to discomfort and loss of productivity. Set-up a comfortable office space in your house and ensure that your family members respect your need for privacy. These distractions can be easily avoided.

  4. Have a schedule: Work during the most productive hours of your day and take breaks when you need rest. If you don’t take a break every once in a while, you tend to be tired and might easily take random breaks that go on for a longer time. It is great to have a fixed time for lunch-hour/coffee breaks and closing time. This will also ensure that your clients don’t call you during your leisure hours. The solution is to take a good look at the way you plan your day at work. Put aside a certain time to answer phone, calls, emails, etc.

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