Due to the pandemic, working at home has become increasingly more common which can have both its pros and cons. One of the biggest concerns for people working from home is the effect constant distractions have on their ability to concentrate and be fully productive which is related to several challenges including:
- Figuring out how to manage your schedule and time
- A lack of separation between personal and work lives
- Distractions such as books, TV and housework
- Less direction and supervision from your managers
- Difficulties in communicating and coordinating with other people on your team
- Less oversight of performance
- Feelings of loneliness due to isolation
- Motivation problems
- Fewer networking opportunities
Even though there are plenty of challenges and potential problems when working at home which can harm productivity, there are several useful tools available that can improve your performance which you can read more about in this article.
- A Clipboard Manager
Many jobs require using a computer to either design, file, organize or plan many documents every day. However, your desktop can quickly become cluttered and disorganized, the organization and productivity gurus at clipclip.com suggest using a clipboard manager for Windows. Clipboard managers allow you to easily copy and paste various snippets of text, images and files using a user-friendly and well-presented interface.
- Time Tracking Apps
For every employer and employee, time is money so it is important to keep track of it to improve productivity. Taking on too much work and undercharging are common problems when charging per project, therefore it is recommended to manage and track your working time to avoid getting burned out and ensuring your invoices match your expectations. Getting your projects done within an agreed deadline and budget will mean you have more free time outside of work.
There are automatic time trackers available for both desktops and mobile devices which track your activity and create reports of which applications you have used the most.
- Task Management Software
You can install a range of task management tools that are suitable for individuals or teams. Freelancers and small to medium size companies may decide to use spreadsheets whilst larger organizations usually opt to use online project management software. The aim of using task management tools is to improve communication, efficiency and productivity by making sure the workflow is organized and the whole team works well together remotely.
- Note-Making Tools
Oftentimes when browsing the internet or researching work-related topics you may see something interesting or useful that you would like to review later. Rather than jotting something down on paper or worrying about how to record relevant information, you can now choose from various apps to assist you with filing and recording tasks such as:
- Saving articles to read later
- Creating audio notes on your mobile device
- Highlighting text
- Converting longer text into audio
- Password and Username Manager
When working on multiple platforms and tools you will need to create a lot of usernames and passwords, and usually, you will find yourself entering them regularly throughout the day unless you have a powerful password manager to help you manage access across different devices and software. Password managers are useful tools for improving productivity for several reasons:
- Password generators can save you a lot of time as they can create passwords quickly that are safe and sensible
- Storing certain passwords on a manager allows you to set up logins to go through one application making it easier and faster to login
- Auto-fill for your details and passwords means you don’t have to type your information every time
- You can share a password with a group if a team is working on a platform together
- Extra security can be added with multi-factor authentication
- Passwords can be managed and administered on all devices
- Video Chat Tools
Teams working on projects need to collaborate effectively which means being able to communicate with each other easily and regularly to move projects forward and maintain organization, productivity and quality. Video chat and conferencing tools provide many benefits, these include:
- Teams can conveniently exchange information
- The cost and time of travel is removed
- Tools are available to use anytime and anywhere on a laptop or mobile device
- Regular schedules can be created easily with recap meetings
Furthermore, as human beings, we are used to naturally experiencing many face-to-face interactions daily. Meeting over video chat helps to build more trust between team members and usually helps everyone to understand the conversation more clearly compared to a meeting over a voice call.
Working from home has many benefits such as reduced travel costs and time, although there are some challenges most people working from a home office will experience including struggling to manage time and optimizing tasks. Fortunately, there are several tools you can use to improve your productivity so that home-working is less stressful.