9 Tips for Flexible Working Without Losing Productivity

The extended work from home amid COVID-19 has sparked a debate over flexible working worldwide. More and more organizations are warming up to the idea of flexible working through implementing flexible-timings, telecommuting, compressed workweek, and much more. According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 44% of employees preferred a flexible workweek. While flexible working allows employees to work from any time, anywhere according to their convenience, some of us are constantly juggling between work and household chores and struggling to be productive. Here are top tips to be productive during flexible working. 

  1. Plan Your Day: Flexible working doesn’t mean that you forget your targets. Plan your day in the morning and make a to-do list of important tasks. It need not be an elaborate presentation. You can even scribble in your notebook about key tasks to be accomplished during the day. Mark a tick as you finish them. This exercise will help you keep track of your productivity. 
  1. Block your calendar for meetings in advance: Block your calendar at least a week for important meetings. Recurring meetings for the entire week can also be marked on the calendar. Deciding the agenda in advance will also give a direction to meetings, and help invitees to stick to the said duration without stretching them. 
  1. Always keep your manager informed: Remote working may entail some challenges such as poor bandwidth, emergencies at home. Always keep your manager informed about what you expect to finish during the day, the problems you may encounter, and the timeline by which you anticipate completing your tasks.  
  1. Respect the privacy of your colleagues: Telecommuting is not easy. For instance, while working from home, an employee may have guests visiting, aged parents to be taken care of, or even a pressure cooker whistles in the background. These issues need to be anticipated and their time respected. Empathize with your colleagues as you would like to be. 
  1. Take a break: While working from home, employees face poor work-life balance due to improper planning. Ensure to take at least half an hour break for lunch as you would do in the office. When things get hectic, practice deep breathing and give your work a break for a few seconds. 
  1. Define Productivity: Productivity is different from work. It is when you generate output that you are considered as productive. Define what productivity means to you. Ensure that it aligns with your organization’s metric and contributes towards achieving organizational goals. 
  1. Look for motivation and training: Keep yourself motivated by listening to webinars, virtual coaching sessions, and counselling. Do not hesitate to seek help from a counsellor if the need arises. Coach yourself by breaking down your tasks into sub-tasks and accomplishing them one by one. 
  1. Avoid multi-tasking and respect office hours: Employees need to understand that flexible working doesn’t mean you can bypass office hours or take up any other work during office time. While some multi-tasking is inevitable especially for women, avoid too much of it. Have a dedicated workstation free from disturbance to help you concentrate on work. 
  1. Technology comes to the rescue: Technology has emerged as a panacea to navigate through unprecedented time. It is key to achieving OUTCOMATION – improving productivity and facilitating the achievement of tangible business outcomes through automation. Virtual meetings through Zoom or Skype, sending calendar invites through Google can save time and resources and improve productivity. Nevertheless, it is to be remembered that humans and not technology have to be at the center stage of any activity. 

Flexible working, if implemented well, can entail a plethora of benefits to organizations such as lower absenteeism, increased job satisfaction, and talent retention.

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About the Author

Prasad Rajappan, a Production Engineer and an MBA (HR, Operations) from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, (NMIMS), is the founder and CEO of ZingHR. A visionary and thought leader, Prasad values his people and leads by example.