The recent digital revolution has birthed the emergence of the digital gig economy, which has made flexible and remote work possible. More people than ever before are now dabbling into the world of digital gig work. As the flexible working trend continues to expand, one important aspect is the shift in the definition of productivity in the digital gig economy context. As with most digital workers, like our SupaAgents who also work remotely, productivity is defined as having to get the most done in the shortest time.
Though there are many articles out there that show you the ways to achieve productivity and the cause of the lack of it, factors that affect an office-bound worker’s productivity may not be identical to the digital gig worker. Therefore it is important to identify these factors that affect your productivity, nipping your productivity (or the lack of) at its bud.
Here are three factors you may not have known that can affect your productivity.
Factor 1. Personality Traits
As it all starts from within, our personality actually affects our productivity whether we are aware of it or not. For instance, a person who is a perfectionist would take a longer time to complete his work, at the expense of efficiency for perfection. On the other hand, a procrastinator who likes to sit on his work would put off working on a task until the very last minute, affecting his productivity.
Personality studies have found that an individual’s personality has a substantial impact on job performance. One particular study which used a well-established model for measuring personality known as, The Big Five model, found that people with a high level of conscientiousness tend to perform better at tasks than those who scored high on neuroticism. This is due to the fact that individuals with high neuroticism would tend to worry and overthink on their performance in a task hence resulting in the lack of performance, thus affecting their productivity.
According to the Big Five Personality test, an individual’s personality can be described using measures of five personality traits as below:
- Conscientiousness: careful, responsible and hardworking
- Agreeableness: trust, altruism, kindness, affection
- Neuroticism: sadness, moodiness, emotional instability
- Openness: imagination, insight
- Extraversion: excitability, sociability, assertiveness
If you do not know yet or are curious about which trait you identify with the most, take the quiz to find out and better understand yourself. Knowing our personality, or rather having an awareness of it, helps us in being more mindful of our actions and behaviour which we can take action upon.
Factor 2. Environment – Physical Space & Noise
Your work environment plays an important role in your productivity. Besides having a well lit, ergonomically friendly workspace, it is important to have sufficient physical space where your hands are not tied, as it gives you more room and allows you to focus entirely on the project you are working on.
Often in life, we have to juggle between work and family time. Especially if you are a stay at home parent on top of being a remote worker, you may need to care for your child while having to complete your tasks. For example, you may have him on your lap while you are working. Although it may seem harmless, however, this may serve as a hindrance in fully focusing on your task with your physical space occupied. Studies have shown that not multitasking and giving your full attention to a single task leads to better productivity. Therefore it’s important to keep your hands free and not confine your workspace to an area size no larger than a cubicle in an office. If possible, have a designated space in your home that can serve as your work area, to avoid distractions.
- Your workspace shouldn’t be where you also sleep or spend a lot of time with your family; as combining your workspace with personal space at home may affect your wellbeing.
Besides physical space, noise is another major distraction. Studies have shown that noise is one of the main environmental factors in affecting an individual’s productivity. In one particular study by the University of Berkeley, at least 40% of respondents indicated that noise interfered with their ability to complete a task. However, not all noise is disruptive towards productivity, it was found that “a moderate level of ambient noise can be conducive to creative cognition.” Working in a cafe or outside of your home can refresh your creativity and productivity based on background noise.
- Keep noise levels at home at the lowest level possible, it’s advisable to not work in front of or near a television or any electronic devices besides your laptop.
- If all else fails at home, a change of environment would help!
- If you can’t get out of the house, turn to sites like Coffitivity, Noisli and Hipstersound to create the cafe like atmosphere with background sounds.
Factor 3. Equipment & Tools
The final factor is seemingly obvious but most often overlooked – tools and equipment. If you are working with a 3-year old laptop, you might want to get it checked so that it does not lag and is performing at tip-top condition. Having a laggy laptop or computer severely affects your productivity, as it slows down the time it takes to open any programs or software. It also makes it harder and would take longer to run multiple programs at the same time.
In addition, something that is often overlooked is the cleanliness of your devices internally. Your CPUs and GPUs generate a great amount of heat, and they will overheat if it gets too hot. To prevent this, they need fans to absorb and dissipate the heat. However, when the fan is clogged with dust, heat builds up. Once it reaches a certain temperature, it will eventually slow itself down so that it generates less heat, which affects the performance of your laptop or computer.
- Upgrade hardware such as a new solid-state drive (SSD) or add more RAM to make things run faster and smoother.
- Get your laptop cleaned every so often (especially the fan!)
- Always try to keep your laptop cool.
Moving on, one of the most important aspects is connectivity in terms of our internet connection. As most projects and tasks are done online, having a stable internet connection is paramount to productivity. Imagine having your work constantly interrupted by disconnections, you will then need to wait for the internet connection to reconnect on your device and work page to reload. In accumulation, the waiting time could have resulted in you completing a single task. A fast internet also speeds file transfers, updates and in installing new software.
- Make sure your computer’s drivers and software are up to date
- Run your antivirus periodically
With the factors affecting productivity laid out, it’s important to identify, understand and most of all, weed out the ones that affect your productivity the most.
A few good questions that you can ask yourself are:
- Which of the Big Five personality do you fall under?
- How do you think your personality affects your productivity?
- Under which environment do you work best?
- When was the last time you updated your software or ran an antivirus scan?
- Is your connection speed at its fastest it can be?
Interested in getting into your most productive state and make the most out of your spare time? Apply to be a SupaAgent at Supahands!