• | 10:30 am

Executives in Middle East are WFO, here are ways to stay productive at the office

Here are expert tips to optimize your time at work.

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

For many of us, returning to the office means readjusting to new ways of work. For one, if you don’t have the option to work remotely, factoring in the travel to the office is a task while pre-planning the next day. A common complaint for most office goers, especially those used to working from home for a considerable period, is a dip in productivity levels. 

Are we more productive at home as opposed to the office? While the reverse may be true for those with more distractions at home, studies, including one done at Stanford, found that working from home increases productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was due to more calls per minute attributed to a quieter, more convenient working environment and working more minutes per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days. 

Despite such findings, many companies are getting employees back to the office,  while complaints about being more productive at home float around. 

We spoke to Dr. Asma Ben Houidi, Psychiatrist, Mediclinic, about how employees can make the most of their day in the office; despite how unfamiliar, uncomfortable or noisy it may get, there’s always a way to focus on the tasks. Here are some helpful insights –

CLOCK IN YOUR SLEEP 

It may sound simplistic, but sleep is essential to clock in a good day of productive, focused work. Aim to sleep at least 8 hours and start your day with one or two minutes of breathing exercise or meditation if you have time.

IF YOU HAVE A BACKLOG

It is understandable if you’re overwhelmed with tasks and uncomfortable with your work surroundings. However, a reverse prioritization technique may be effective. Start with the tasks you’re least looking forward to doing. Later, you’ll be happy you got it over, and the rest of your tasks will seem easier.

IF THERE’S TOO MUCH NOISE AROUND YOU 

If you can’t find a quiet space to work, rely on earbuds or technology; use noise-cancellation headphones to block out noise in your surroundings. Listen to white noise or relaxing music to help you focus and perform at your best.

It is also possible to move to another task that requires less concentration or to move into one of the quiet spaces in your workplace until you finalize your task.

IF YOU’RE CONSTANTLY PULLED INTO CHATTER 

Set rules for yourself that you won’t be engaged in long conversations until you’re done with your main tasks for the day. You can also use this opportunity to encourage your colleagues to stay more focused by setting up a time where you’ll all work without interrupting each other.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE A FLEXIBLE WORKPLACE 

The grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. Enjoy the advantages of the in-office day, allowing a clear dividing line between home and work for a better work-life balance, easier time management and communication with your colleagues and managers when needed, and avoiding isolation.

IF IT’S DIFFICULT TO READJUST TO A DESK JOB

Take regular breaks. It’s better for your mind, body, and productivity. Short breaks of 5 or 10 minutes every 1 or 2 hours to clear your mind is essential. You can use this time for short meditation exercises.

After 4 or 5 hours, take a longer break, of a minimum of 30 minutes, depending on your work.

In the end, it’s about finding your comfortable spot where you can focus and block out distractions that hinder your productivity. With consistent changes, you will manage to make amends and get the job done with or without the option of working from home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Clare McGrath Dawson is a Senior Correspondent at Fast Company Middle East who writes on tech, design, and culture. More

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