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Are all hours created equal?

Simon Labahn

The COVID-19 adjustment

We are currently seeing an unprecedented influx of white-collar workers now working remotely, whether they choose to or not.

As a result, we are witnessing a polarisation of people and companies - some are more productive than ever, as they have less distractions without the office environment, while others are struggling to develop a working-from-home strategy amidst the turmoil.

However, aside from work channels, an individual's consumption of online content, including gambling, streaming and gaming, have increased dramatically, The Economist reported.

What is key regarding the above trend is whether this is impacting people in a positive or negative way. Are these digital platforms a long term benefit for individuals, or are they creating negative behaviours that will be difficult to break once the current quarantine has been lifted?

Another area of change is the way people are working now. There have been reports indicating that people are starting work earlier, having no dip in productivity during lunch and working later in the evening than before.

“people are starting work earlier, having no dip in productivity during lunch, but working later in the evening than before.”

According to Fitbit, a positive benefit has been that, on average, Europeans have replaced a portion of commute time with sleep. However, one of the downsides of this pandemic has been that people are struggling to give themselves the change of scene when working in a different location. Others are left feeling that the days are largely blurring into one, with little novelty from one day to the next.
What can I do?

In essence, this crisis has created a rapid shift in work patterns and habits meaning people have had to adapt their behaviour at a rate not seen in many parts of the world in almost a century.

What can help is to schedule breaks in advance - whether this be between tasks or just at set points during the day. Perhaps you could schedule periods of time to read your emails and messages in order to avoid slipping into 'always on' mode throughout the day.

Regular scheduled breaks also give you the opportunity to work towards a more manageable target, which in turn can help to maintain single-tasking and avoid distractions.

Are you maximising those hours or replacing additional hours with unproductive activities that are keeping you distracted to pass the time?

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