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TMCNet:  Raising Productivity [Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)]

[August 29, 2014]

Raising Productivity [Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)]

(Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) To many, working from home is a hip corporate perk, which means no long commutes, no need to wear starchy suits, and you get to write the rules (blissful indeed).

You also get to avoid such lumbering monstrosities such as the 'no-social-skills' Saeed and 'drama-queen' Kathy, which can only be found in their natural habitat, the office. While on the other hand, in some trades, clients would feel uncomfortable and just not take you seriously enough if you weren't part of a brick-and-mortar store/office.


Recent studies have shown that working from offices has decreased substantially since most startups are based online these days, and in the next decade or so almost 70 per cent of jobs are likely to be home-based. The same studies also claim that people who work from home are on average more productive, less stressed, traffic gets cut down as well as companies' real estate costs and improves employee morale, leading to less turnover.

With these stats in mind, there are a few issues we should consider more carefully. While there are many articles online that attempt to compare the two, all they do is try to convince us into thinking one's better than the other. So instead let's focus on what you can do to try and find ways of making yourself more productive at home or the office.

Working from Home Nowadays, people don't sweat freeing themselves from the 9 to 5 routine by working from home. If you are one of those people then you can streamline your routine with some of these suggestions. It's 11 am and time to use the energy stored up from your coffee and muffin. But wait, the latest season of Thrones is on, so what do you do? It's called maintaining work-life separation. So those who try and conquer the world from their beds need to change that strategy immediately. The bed is a place for resting and sleeping and therefore your concentration and energy levels will be affected. Eventually these people report having trouble sleeping at night because the bed gets associated with multiple tasks and no longer just a sanctuary for sleep. Erecting physical barriers that separate your job space from the rest of the house can improve concentration for the task at hand. Reserving a place just for work helps limiting distractions, so try not to bring private mail, the utility bills you need to pay, or any other aspects related to your private life into that space. This also goes for pets, TV, family members, social media or the call of the washing machine or dishwasher.

You don't have to worry about your boss catching you take too many breaks or how hard you hit the keys when you type. There's no workplace chatter to distract you, and you can have music playing if that's how you want to work. The only rules you have to follow are your own, as long as you've got a solid schedule in place and avoid carelessness and procrastination.

At the Office So, what do you do to develop the focus of a Jedi? The following are some insights about interpersonal skills and team management that we come across at the office as a result of working with others, that impact efficiency.

Productivity can be a hard nut to crack, especially when you have someone always on the look out to bust your onions. First and foremost you need to know who your 'frenemy' is. And what better way to do that than by dropping some bread crumbs and watching who takes a nibble. Share some harmless secret on how you 'bent the rules' in some way. If the info leaks out to others, it's on. Try to focus on cooperation rather than combat. A great way of practicing this is by deploying phrases such as, "you and I make a good team" or "I'm on board with your idea" when working on a project together.

Most conversation by the office water cooler is classified as gossip. And while that's not necessarily a bad thing, there's a difference between sharing news which is beneficial and that which isn't. Always avoid putting someone down for no reason, since the people you're talking to may start wondering what kind of stuff you say about them when they're not around.

People can be a source of distraction at the office, but there's no denying the powerful presence of others and the way they can achieve far more than the sum of the total of the individuals alone. Managers need to know their teams well and delegate according to strengths of their employees. For instance, each project group should be made up of both strong communicators along with those who are typically more analytical and competitive. Blending together the perfect mix of personalities and traits will balance out the team as a whole and will maximize productivity.

The truth is that working from both places has its own benefits, and your productivity truly depends on your self and time management. Wherever you're working, it's important to stay motivated, and focus your energy on set objectives. It's important that your work gives you a sense of purpose, and as long as it's fulfilling that condition, the location of your workplace matters less.

Dr. Samineh I. Shaheem is the Learning & Development Director at Kawader (www.kawaderuae.com), and the owner of Life Clubs UAE. She has studied and worked in different parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, UK, Netherlands, and now the UAE. She co-hosts a radio programme on 103.8 FM Dubai Eye (Psyched Sundays, Voices of Diversity 10-12pm) every Sunday morning discussing the most relevant psychological issues in our community. Twitter: @saminehshaheem/Facebook: Life Clubs UAE. Please forward your thoughts and suggestions for future articles to OutOfMindContact@gmail.com (c) 2014 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

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