Why a Balanced Routine Makes WFH More Productive?

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It seems like something we are taught at a very young age that hard work leads to productivity. 

We were often told to ‘work hard in school’ by our parents or to ‘work hard on the pitch’ by sports coaches, but what does it really mean to work hard and is it actually the most productive? 

The culture we live in today seems to make the archetypal person a busy bee. It feels as if for the last 30 or 40 years, working all hours of the day is something to be idolised and is conducive to living a fulfilling life. 

It would be wrong for anyone to state that hard work does not help people to succeed as Malcolm Gladwell famously discovered in his book ‘Outliers’, but when it comes to a more holistic approach to life, prioritisation of a daily routine can go an enormous way to reducing career fatigue and burnout. 

This article summarises the factors conducive to having a more productive WFH lifestyle and why it’s important to do so.  

WFH Balance

The goal of almost any employer and employee is to have a job that brings them tremendous satisfaction levels, making any decision to leave such a job the hardest one in their lives. Career paths are a long-term game and therefore need to be considered as such – a marathon and not a sprint.

I came across the above infographic on Linkedin recently and I felt it best summarised the lessons i’ve learnt and heard from others about what actually leads to productivity at work. 

Here are the five factors and why:

Exercise

The benefits of exercise extend to more than just physical fitness, it also boosts how well our brains function.

A study conducted by the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that workday exercise showed improvements in wellbeing, time management and work completed in up to 72% of participants. 

It also found that low-intensity aerobic activity was best for productivity as opposed to high-intensity interval training due to fatigue experienced post-workout. 

A short jog after a couple of hours work in the morning could be a great way to boost your productivity levels for the remainder of the day, avoiding that dreaded mid-afternoon energy crash. 

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

Food has a direct impact on our performance at work which is why having a bad lunch or consuming unhealthy snacks can lead to a bad day at work. 

The World Health Organisation has found that the consumption of healthy foods can boost a person’s productivity levels at work by 20%. Eating higher fat foods in the morning has also been proven to boost cognitive function, allowing our brains to run off of a different but more energising fuel source. 

The trick to learning to eat right is not resisting the temptation, it’s making it easier to consume healthier snacks and foods. The science behind food and productivity will be covered in another post but here are our top tips for healthy eating when working from home:

  • Limit any processed and refined foods. Junk food like frozen pizzas and take out will give you a spike in blood sugar levels but will do little to improve your overall productivity output. In fact, it will also make you gain weight in the process leading to a reduction in serotonin levels (the feel good hormone) and a consequent reduction in productivity.
  • Fasted mornings. Contrary to popular belief, science has actually shown that it is beneficial to fast in the morning. We recommend waking up, having a drink of water and a cup of green tea. It seems that our brains function best at this time in the morning, burning the ketone energy from the day before. 
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water. Hydration is an important part of productivity and wellbeing and can often satisfy most cravings. 
  • Have a constant supply of healthy snacks. Bias aside, it is always a good idea to make healthy snacking available at your fingertips. If it’s easier to eat healthily than unhealthily, there is a much greater chance of doing so. Get in touch with Snackcess for help with your snacking and we can work with employees and employers to help create a great snacking experience at home. 

Sleep

‘A good nights sleep is all you need.’ A saying that is so often overlooked by many of us who lead busy lives. Research shows that a good night’s sleep is conducive to our overall levels of health and productivity. It affects how we feel, how we think, and how we act. 

A loss of adequate sleep costs the UK economy over £30bn a year in or 2% of GDP – something we should lose sleep over. Our stress levels, diet, and exercise all regulate how well we sleep at night. A lack of sleep also increases the risk of developing diseases such as Dementia later in life as the brain needs time to rest. 

It is more important than ever for us to prioritise sleep which in return boosts our productivity in the day. 7 hours is optimum and can be assisted with a reduction of technology screens late at night. 

Time Off

Contrary to popular belief, the more time spent at work doesn’t always result in the best levels of productivity. 

Sabine Sonnentag, a professor of Psychology at the University of Mannheim in Germany has found that failure to take time away from work contributes to symptoms of burnout and mental illness. Long-term these feelings cost both employee and employer significant losses in productivity and general happiness increasing the chance of an unfulfilled work life. 

Finding time to disengage from work and setting strict boundaries on deadlines makes the fight against stress and burnout significantly easier. Even a weekend retreat or a weeks holiday can provide significant recovery at regular intervals. 

Hard Work 

Last but certainly not least – hard work. In order to achieve more it is important to still work hard effectively. 

What does this mean? Working hard effectively means that you set aside time for highly focused work. Structuring your days around a set of tasks to be completed helps to ensure that you stay on track and complete the most amount of work possible for that day. 

Today we can often be distracted by social media and other technologies but its important that we allocate times of the day to working our hardest. 

For us here at Snackcess we have several power hours throughout the day where we put our heads down and get the most amount of work done possible in that time. Outside of this, we can collaborate on a variety of other tasks that don’t require as much hard work. 

A good technique to use for this can be the Pomodoro technique whereby every 25 minutes of undistracted work is followed by 5 minutes of rest. 

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