As pandemic restrictions lift and people return to the office, which new habits are they bringing with them? While trends like working in your pajamas are probably not making the journey from the home office to the "real office," other strategies make many workers much more productive.
We've talked to several people who are taking their work-from-home strategies back to the office and enjoying greater peace of mind.
One business owner we spoke with mentioned that working from home helped her improve her planning. She now has a better habit of preparing her entire week on Sundays, scheduling each day in order to plan for larger projects. When you do this, you can set your top priorities and plan less-urgent things around them.
As you plan your week, consider adding your personal schedule to your work schedule, including walks, workouts, trips to the grocery store, or appointments and activities for children. Putting your entire calendar together shows you what each day looks like and allows you to block off time as "busy" to accomplish specific tasks.
With so many indoor recreation destinations closed during the pandemic, many people got a new appreciation for the great outdoors. Taking time for a walk in the middle of the day, even if it's just around the city block, can help you feel more refreshed and ready to tackle a challenging work project.
"One habit I developed when working from home," mentions one business owner, "is that if I were stuck on a problem, I'd walk around my neighborhood to clear my head. Not only did this help me get more activity into my day, sometimes a creative solution would come to me when I was outside walking."
Don't forego spending time outside when you're back at the office.
A simple way to whittle down your to-do list is to tackle the things that take less than a minute to do. If you can complete a task in under 60 seconds, just do it, whether it's a quick email reply, logging your expenses or hours, or returning a phone call.
Taking care of the small things can make your task list much less overwhelming and reduce the chances of procrastinating.
One member mentioned that he stopped scheduling meetings on Mondays and Fridays and instead devotes those two days to ongoing projects. He mentioned that when working in the office full-time, his days often felt disrupted by meetings at different times, making it difficult to get back into a productive flow. By limiting meeting days, he's able to be much more productive.
Pandemic snacking has become a joke in itself, and many of us became used to eating when we felt like it at home. However, eating smaller, more frequent meals has been shown to help regulate blood sugar and reduce mid-afternoon "crashes" after a big lunch, making people less productive. Taking smaller meal breaks instead of a long lunch hour may make it easier for you to concentrate.
Many of the tips we mentioned make employees more productive and help ease some of the mental stress of balancing work and family. When you're prepared for the week and have a handle on your obligations, it can reduce the stress many people feel at work. To help your employees – or yourself – be more productive, we suggest incorporating some of these tips into your workday, too.