9 Tips to Maximize Productivity at Your Home Office Workspace

Whether you have realized your dream of working from home or found yourself caught up in a quarantine or shelter in place directive, setting up a workspace in your home, can be a challenge. Regardless of how your new workspace came to be, it is important to create a space that maximizes productivity through process and physical conditions.  

Tips for Creating a Productive Home Work Environment

  1. Clear the clutter -a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Make sure everything has a place and begin and end each day with a clean workspace. 
  2. Place something in your workspace that brings you joy -this could be an object, a painting, or a plant. Choose something that might bring back a memory, spark creativity, or just serve to bring a sense of calm. 
  3. Let light in -choose a space with ample light and whenever possible opt for natural light.
  4. Establish physical boundaries -a room with a door works best if possible. This will establish a physical boundary if other individuals are home and provide privacy for phone calls and remote meetings. 
  5. Keep a dedicated workspace -don’t leave work items all over the house. This will avoid misplacement and accidental use by another person in your home. 
  6. Check in with your senses -hearing, smell, sight, touch, and taste. Eliminate distracting noises, consider soothing background music or white noise.  Is your office space appealing to your sense of smell, sight, and touch; Is your chair comfortable?  Ensure you take a break to enjoy your café (kitchen); take the time to make a healthy lunch and enjoy it in another part of the house.  This will give you the mental break to re-engage.
  7. Ask yourself, do I have the right tools to do my job? – if the tools provided are not working for you, change them up and explore other options. What worked for an occasional Friday working from home, may not work now that your workspace is at home full-time. 
  8. Engage with others – check in with others, visually whenever possible. You still need to build and maintain work relationships.  Consider scheduling a virtual lunch or coffee break. 
  9. Establish your working hours and stick to them – this is important for both you and the other people in your house. This will cause less interruptions in the long run, if others know your work hours and can rely on you to keep them.  It is also good for us in general to take time away to focus on other things and reenergize ourselves; whether this be a game with your child, some exercise, or reading a book, it is important to take time out. 

What in your work environment would you change to increase productivity?

Tonda Tan, Business Proces Consultant/Coach at Competitve Solutions, Inc.

Leaning into Your Processes in Times of Uncertainty

WOW! What a month…Thirty days ago we were experiencing the emotional highs of optimism, growth, and profitability and now the feelings of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty…
So now what…?
As leaders, we must “LEAN INTO OUR PROCESSES” in times of uncertainty. We have a moral obligation to our colleagues and our organizations to make the concepts of Clarity, Connectivity, and Consistency real and relevant. So, what does this look like in our new normal?
CLARITY – Creating a rhythm and cadence of information flow that puts leaders on Offense, not Defense. In these moments, we can’t operate from a leadership position of Defense. We must drive a system of proactive information flow. Whether it is a daily huddle, weekly meeting, or most likely a video/teleconference as we work remotely and practice social distancing, we must create and execute processes that bind us together both professionally and emotionally. Recently, I was facilitating a PBL® session with a senior executive supply chain team who were not co-located. As they were designing their processes around Clarity, they had a discussion regarding remote folks turning their camera functionality “on” so they would be participating not just in voice but in appearance as well. The team ultimately decided to allow camera functionality as an “optional” component of their process. Considering the events of the last week, I would strongly encourage all of us to turn the camera “ON!” A simple act that drives the personalized presence of our humanity and shared connection. Now is the time we must amplify and accelerate our communication processes to connect us not just organizationally, but emotionally as well.
CONNECTIVITY – The ability of people to know if they are “winning or losing” is never more important in times of uncertainty. While the “Content of Conversation” may look different right now as our metrics have gone a bit sideways, we must remember the health of an organization directly ties to the health of our colleagues. We are in unprecedented times where organizational ambiguity and uncertainty will be the norm for the short term. Keeping people connected to our shared purpose will create a “Confidence of Continuity” even if all we can share is “I just don’t know.” As leaders we must use our processes of Clarity to operationalize how we Connect every member of our organization to our shared purpose by demonstrating to them the Confidence of Continuity.
CONSISTENCY – Even with our processes, we are still humans with the human emotions of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. It is because of these natural human tendencies that we must “Lean into Our Processes.” Let the processes help you maintain the Consistency your colleagues deserve – When our emotions are peaked and we feel like pulling back and circumventing the process, don’t! Use your processes to mitigate the natural pull of personality driven emotions. Let your processes be the stabilizing architecture your organization sees as their safe harbor during the storm. When we abandon or circumvent our processes we send the message that it is “every man/woman for themselves” – Creating a “Way of Work” that is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, no matter the emotional or environmental circumstances will give your colleagues the trust, stability, and confidence they need to move the business forward in this turbulent time.
As we start a new week, with what will sure to be new challenges and emotions, LEAN INTO YOUR PROCESSES with confidence and certitude, always remembering our “Leadership Obligations” to drive Clarity, Connectivity, and Consistency through our words, actions, and systems!
Stay Healthy and LEAD On!
Shane A. Yount, President, Competitive Solutions, Inc.

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