The question of whether a recruiter is able to keep up with their extensive workload and stay ahead of the curve regardless of talent is really dependent on one question: are you able to work productively? 

With many of us now working from home, this is more true than ever. The ability to work productively in our home spaces is the ability to produce maximum output for every minute of the day; a skill desirable in any job regardless of “office” location.

But that of course doesn’t mean typing out emails as quickly as you possibly can while simultaneously parsing multiple job boards and making up another round of coffee. Rather, being productive means fully utilising the tools and techniques available to you to improve the output your talent and skill is capable of producing. 

We’ve broken this down into four key categories to give you some quick actionable tips on how you can make the most of your time working from home. 


1. Set up is key – perfect your workspace environment 

Beyond your specific working situation, it’s also useful to think about your wider environment. Working from home takes us away from a space that is inherently designed to be the most productive place to be. Your home, on the other hand, isn’t quite the same. 

We’ve rounded up a few ways you can ensure absolute productivity at home. 

The right equipment 

Make sure your desk is set up as closely to how it would be in the office as possible. A solid desk with a screen, mouse and keyboard is ideal. Making sure that the top of your screen is in line with your eyes. Although the comfy allure may be all too much, sorry, the sofa won’t cut it, make sure you’re sitting in a chair which helps you to sit upright, not slump and maintain focus.

Lighting 

It’s well-known that natural light has a positive effect on productivity and concentration. Sit in a room with as much daylight as possible. If you can’t, make sure you are taking breaks to get some light. If you work late or don’t have the option of working by a window, consider investing in a daylight lamp.

Move around

You wouldn’t spend all your time at a desk in the office so try and get moving. To stay stimulated, it can often be positive to work in different areas of your home, whether that’s from your dining table, or even in your garden for a part of the day, if the setup permits (and the weather holds out!). If multiple spots prove productive, swapping between them could prove to help in staying stimulated.  If you have the option, working on a laptop is useful as you will have the freedom to move and adapt.

Avoid distractions 

Anyone that’s familiar with working from home will know that the biggest obstacle is working alongside so many new distractions. Whether that’s other people working from home, kids, pets, or even just the thought of the fridge being not too far away. Try and find a peaceful spot to keep your focus.

Establish a routine

One of the best things about being in the office is being able to separate work life from personal life. If you do this by dedicating space, great, but if not, establishing a routine is a really useful technique. This can be done through sticking to your usual daily routine – get up, shower and start your day at the usual time, schedule in breaks (with calendar invites to remind you) and enjoy a set lunchtime whilst getting outside daily and maybe fitting in a quick stroll or jog. This will ultimately keep energy levels up and motivation consistent.

 

2. Implement quick productivity frameworks  

Productivity Frameworks are strategies that can be used for effective overall time management and personal organisation. These are useful for shaping the way you approach task management, amidst a busy workflow. 

An important framework for many businesses adapting to a new workflow, is prioritisation, making the ‘urgent or important’ framework a really useful one. 

Anyone who’s been on any kind of management or business course is likely to be familiar with the Eisenhower decision matrix. While it may look like an abstract concept better suited to a textbook than a recruitment desk, it’s actually a very helpful way of sorting out which tasks really matter and why. The key thing here is recognising that some things are important without being urgent, and vice versa. 

Step 1: Identify important tasks

Beyond your specific working situation, it’s also useful to think about your wider environment. Working from home takes us away from a space that is inherently designed to be the most productive place to be. Your home, on the other hand, isn’t quite the same.

Example: Planning out your business development activity to assess your client base. Where are you going to look for information? What do you need to know? When do you need to know it?

Step 2: Identify urgent tasks

Time-sensitive tasks which cannot wait without having a negative impact. Replying to that email about your menu choice for the quarterly Lunchclub, not so much. Sending an interview confirmation, however  – you get the gist!

Example: Get yourself ahead, by planning out all of the urgent tasks of the day – at the end of the previous day. Then get cracking as soon as you log on the next morning. Now the urgent ‘to-dos’ are off the list, not lingering in the back of your mind,  leaving more time to focus on the important tasks. 

 

3. Make the most of automation tools

Automation tools can be invaluable in getting key, but daily, repetitive tasks done so you have more time to focus on the tasks that need more brainpower and human input. Automation tools help with repetitive tasks and also increase the speed of delivery and in some cases achieve outcomes that go beyond human capabilities.

Search automation is one of the most valuable tools in any recruiter’s belt when it comes to increasing output. Not only does re-writing the same complex search strings drain vital billing time from your day, but it’s also horribly prone to human error. 

The number one priority of all agencies is delivering fast service and high-quality candidates to fulfil the needs of their clients, if we can automate this part of the process, you can get on with other tasks whilst your search runs in the background.

Top tool tip:

The building of detailed and effective saved searches is essential to this process. So, in the pursuit of absolute recruitment productivity, it wouldn’t be right to forget our very own tool. 

SourceBreaker’s technology allows you to create pre-populated advanced searches by job title, skill set or industry sector, as well as sharing these searches across your team. Not only can you save hours on manually building Boolean strings, but SourceBreaker also lets you search external job boards, your CRM and LinkedIn from the same search.

More about the SourceBreaker platform here.

4. Form daily habits

Habits are all about strategies to keep you focussed and sharpen your skills. Setting good habits across your working week is not only a good way to work productively, but is also a great way to make working productively come naturally to you. Of course, this is more true than ever when creating new work-from-home habits.

A habit particularly valuable in a changing recruitment environment is to make the most out of what you know and work your existing candidate book.  Top billers in recruitment are experts at connecting available talent with opportunity, and it’s much easier to do this consistently with a network of candidates and clients you know well than by starting from scratch each time. 

Quick tip: 

Instead of reviewing new candidates for one specific client vacancy and moving on, top performers continually revisit recent searches and candidate screens to find possibilities to make new introductions from existing contacts, leveraging the detailed knowledge they have of individual skills, motivations and interests to make matches.

To read more about recruitment productivity frameworks, templates and habits, you can find the full guide here.