Combine the rapid evolution of digital technologies with the increasing globalisation of business, and it can seem like we spend entire lives in work. To shamelessly quote some music greats – think less Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” and more Michael Jackson’s “Working Day and Night.”
With working hours appearing to stretch endlessly in front of us, it’s no longer enough to spend our days “Living for the Weekend”. Something needs to be done about our week as well.
So, how can you be happier and increase productivity at work? Here are four key areas to address:
Take your work-life balance seriously
When starting a new job, set clear boundaries about where and when you are willing to be “online”. Companies may offer guidance on their expectations of employees in this regard, but often it is left to the individual.
Consider what your actions are saying to others – and whether this is a precedent you want to set. If you pick up the phone at 7am or respond to an email at midnight, the work-life boundaries begin to blur. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but where possible try not to take work home with you.
Communications with your manager and teams about deadlines and workload is essential. If you have any problems, speak up and management will help to find a solution.
2. Take time to relieve stress
To have both the mental and physical energy required to tackle the day’s challenges, find time to unwind and relax outside of work. Being happy at work can depend on frame of mind, positive attitude and focus. If you’re active and social outside of working hours, you can boost your mood and brainpower!
Walk part of the commute where you would otherwise get on public transport, meet friends for dinner or a drink, or join a gym class before/at lunch/after work. Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, gets muscles moving and allows you to momentarily switch off.
You’d be surprised by how much such activities can also improve concentration levels.
3. Looking at ways for improving productivity
Unhappy with how productive you are? You’re not alone. According to research from PageGroup only 35% of surveyed UK office workers felt confident about their level of productivity at work.
To improve productivity, a business needs to first decide:
- Why productivity is important
- How productivity is defined
- How productivity is measured
Armed with a productivity definition, activity can be prioritised accordingly. Online resources, such as Slack or Asana, can improve workload/deadline management and communication between colleagues in different locations. Tools like Google Alerts notify users of relevant industry news, saving time spent browsing online.
Learn something new
Apps and technologies can train your brain, increase productivity and make a commute more fun! Outside of work, challenge yourself to learn something new like a language using the DuoLingo app or training/running tips with Nike+. At work, is there a new tool you could master to speed up or improve the accuracy of your work? Are there training opportunities or responsibilities to take on?
The more you put into your work, the more you will get out of it. Next time you step away from your desk, think about what you can do to be happier and more productive in whatever marketing, technology, finance or other job you do.