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Working productively at home

Working from home has suddenly become a reality for many people in recent months. While this new situation is challenging, it also offers opportunities as well. Prof. Dr. Petra Kugler of the FHS St. Gallen University of Applied Sciences has some tips to help you work as productively from home as in the office.

11. May 2020, text: Prof. Dr. Petra Kugler, photo: Deposit

Woman with glasses
If you structure your daily routine in your home office well, you can concentrate better on your work. This also includes more formal clothing.

Employees who suddenly need to start working from home face an unusual situation. While they may be familiar with their home, they’re not used to it being a place for work. Many people are not aware that the familiar office environment, the infrastructure, the meetings and speaking with colleagues at the coffee machine help to structure our daily workday and thus help us do our work. We don’t have these things at home. So in order to work successfully at home above all we need to develop new structures and routines.

Division between private life and work

Carefully observing and analysing the way we work can help us better adjust work processes to our own needs. Define new structures for your workspace at home. It is important to have a clear boundary between home and work:

  • Have a regular start to the work day and daily routine just like in the office
  • Have a workspace that you, ideally, use only for this work; a table in a quiet corner or even an office room
  • Somewhat more formal clothing than during your free time, such as a shirt or blouse instead of a T-shirt and sweatpants
  • A division between personal and professional activities: Carry out personal tasks after finishing work
  • Define a clear end to the workday, even if there’s still more you could do
  • Structure and organise activities: A daily to-do list provides a record of small successes and milestones.
  • Be sure to speak with colleagues formally and informally on a regular basis. Use all available digital and telephone channels to do so.

Motivated, focused and productive

Working at home can also offer a number of advantages and opportunities. For example, many people report that they are able to focus on tasks better and, most importantly, do so without being disturbed when working at home. This leads to the conclusion that working at home can lead to greater self-determination, greater work productivity and higher motivation. It is therefore worth looking into whether more flexible working hours and a more flexible working location make sense even after the coronavirus pandemic has ended. In Switzerland, many employees would like a combination of working in the office and flexible work from home. As a result, the current difficult situation may help to initiate some positive changes. If we are prepared to accept them.

Prof. Dr. Petra Kugler

Prof. Dr. Petra Kugler

Prof. Dr. Petra Kugler is a Professor of Strategy and Management at the Institute for Business Management at the FHS St.Gallen. Her work focuses on innovative strategy and management approaches, including flexible working and organisational forms.

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