For the past week I’ve been working at home in quarantine after a bout with an unhappy fever. This being the first time I’ve worked from home for full working days I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The zero commute time and fully stocked no judgement snack pantry are obviously bonuses but the one thing that came as the biggest surprise was an unexpected productivity boost when somebody else was in the room.
Work in good company
I’m not talking colleagues or people who are equally invested in the work that I’m doing, but just anyone. My partner who works from home full time was in the same room as me for most of my working hours. They also don’t work for Digital Noir. In fact, they don’t even work in the digital space, so it’s not like we were accountable to each other. Just the presence of someone else working equally as hard as myself in the same room gave me a drive to stick to my tasks and finish what I was working on. Really, the days and week flew by without any inkling of wanting to take a break. Speaking with my partner, she said the feeling was mutual.
This is by far a huge difference to working by yourself with no solid deadline, having distractions and procrastination lurking over you every minute of the day. I don’t know the psychology behind it or why it changed how I worked, however I would suggest it for anyone who works by themselves.
Although having someone else’s presence was the primary factor in this productivity improvement, I think a couple of other things are also worth mentioning when it comes to a general office environment.
Atmosphere makes a difference
Having a distraction-free environment stopped little lapses of concentration and helped keep me in my work. The distractions are normally things you wouldn’t take notice of like the smell of food or the chatter of nearby colleagues. This comes down to the atmosphere too. Having sunlight, fresh air and close access to water kept my productivity up!
Something else that seems to keep me on track was celebrating the small things. Be it creating a new image for social media or creating a new animation. Sharing these small milestones with someone let me close off that part of my work and continue soaring through the rest of what needed to be done.
External screens can be a blocker
One last thing that could have played a part was reducing the number of screens I had. As I was working from home I just had a single laptop screen and no others connected externally. This unexpectedly allowed me to focus on my work by removing the clutter and distractions that having multiple screens can bring. It also made me more responsive to colleagues as their messages were hard to miss while they were bouncing in the dock at the bottom of my screen.
If you think your productivity could be improved (lets face it, no one is 100% productive) why not evaluate your current workspace and see if you can find any distractions be it people or small changes in your environment that you can take action on.
Start by working from a different room or location and see if that impacts your productivity.