Working outside of a typical office environment is fast becoming the norm as the number of freelancers, remote workers and outsourced talent continues to rise. While an ideal vocation for some, working outside a monitored, professional environment can come with productivity challenges. How do you overcome this?
The simplest way to enjoy maximum productivity is to identify the main time-wasting working-day interruptions. The top three productivity killers, as voted for by Australians, are lengthy meetings, IT glitches and traffic jams. Since being forewarned is forearmed, you now have an opportunity to avoid these productivity pitfalls by sourcing your out-of-office work location away from traffic hotspots, prioritising reliable Wi-Fi, and wherever possible, avoiding meetings that involve lengthy commutes or agendas.
Rise and shine
There is countless research suggesting that the proverbial early bird really does catch the worm, and 51% of Australians agree. Early mornings are generally the most peaceful time of the day, and waking up before the rest of the world provides the opportunity to prep for the day ahead, catch up on emails, or fit in a mood-boosting workout. It’s no coincidence that many of the world’s most successful women are early risers, from Xerox CEO, Ursula Burns, to Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, who both set their alarm clocks for a 5am start.
Shorter is sweeter
While it may be tempting to soldier through a day’s work without pausing for breath, this is actually counterproductive and will only ensure that your task takes longer, and results will suffer. Similar to the way that short bursts of exercise can be more effective than a long laborious workout, the same goes for your mental productivity. The ideal amount of time spent working solidly on any one task is between one to three hours.
Take a time-out
Whether you’re suffering from a minor lapse in concentration or severe ‘brain-drain’, there is nothing worse than stressing out and trying to kick-start yourself back into work mode. Taking a short break will allow your mind to recalibrate and be better equipped to deal with the task at hand. Sitting at a desk for long periods is also not good for your physical self, placing strain on your muscles and eyes, along with enhanced fatigue levels from static activity. Take a moment to enjoy a good stretch, roll your joints and give your eyes a rest. Take a cue from other Australian workers, who voted taking a short walk, enjoying a caffeinated beverage, and changing up their task as their top three ways to regain concentration.
Choose the best location
Working outside of the office may sound like the dream, but to really make this effective you need to source your location wisely. While most people would prefer to work from home, this isn’t necessarily the most productive solution, with family interruptions and a familiar environment hampering concentration levels unless you are lucky enough to enjoy a home office. Similarly, public venues such as cafes, libraries and hotels also impede productivity due to noise, privacy and unreliable IT issues. One solution is to check into a local business centre, like Regus, that has all your office needs ready-to-go, ensuring a distraction-free, professional environment that could even open the door to networking opportunities.
If you are looking for a more in depth analysis of our productivity research click here.
What are your top productivity tips?
This article originally appeared on Women’s Agenda.