5 productivity hacks you'll be thankful for

Here are five productivity hacks that can help cut through the chaos and make the most of your work time this holiday season.

productivity hacks
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Productivity hacks to be thankful for

Time's always at a premium in the IT industry, but with the holidays approaching, it can seem impossible to get anything done. Just in time for the hectic holiday season, CIO.com has gathered five key productivity hacks to help you make the most of your time, based on communication and collaboration solutions company Jabra's recent research on workplace productivity. Here are their top productivity hacks you'll be thankful for.

A 2015 study from the Association for Psychological Science found that telecommuting can make for happier employees. It attributes some of this to the fact that employees are grateful for the flexibility, and therefore work hard to prove they can be as responsible outside of the office as they would be in the office. Survey results show that telecommuting is associated with greater job satisfaction, less work related stress and improved job performance.

That's great news for remote workers and the businesses that employ them, but with all of these great benefits, remote workers still struggle with maintaining strong relationships with coworkers. And it makes sense, if you aren't in the office every day, it can be difficult to maintain relationships that might organically occur when you work side by side with co-workers every day.

Time's always at a premium in the IT industry, but with the holidays approaching, it can seem impossible to get anything done. Just in time for the hectic holiday season, CIO.com has gathered five key productivity hacks to help you make the most of your time, based on communication and collaboration solutions company Jabra's recent research on workplace productivity. Here are their top productivity hacks you'll be thankful for.

Capitalize on alone time
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Capitalize on alone time

In today's collaborative workplaces, open-plan offices are all the rage - but they can be hell on your productivity. Workers deal with up to 17 different distractions per day, according to Jabra's research, most of which are caused by other people. According to the report, the 2,500 respondents to the survey revealed the most common distractions are noise levels (46 percent) and interruptions from colleagues (43 percent).

You also shouldn't worry that your in-office co-workers secretly think you're a slacker for working from home. That stigma has mostly all but disappeared, says Collins, "Walk down the hallway of an office today and you'll find people on Facebook or a fantasy sports site, so location is no excuse for distraction."

When the telecommuting trend began, people were wary of the idea and some assumed that if people were left to work at home, they probably wouldn't work at all. But that isn't the case, according to a survey by Gallup. The study found that 58 percent of Americans believe telecommuters are just as productive at home as in the office and 16 percent think they are even more productive; only 20 percent feel telecommuters are less productive at home.

Little things count
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Little things count

When it comes to building strong relationships with remote workers, you don't have to do that much, says Collins. Essentially, you want to become more than a name on an email chain, he says, and while that takes more effort if you work out of a home office, it still shouldn't be that hard. For example, Collins will do something as simple as change the avatar on his Web conferencing profile every day as one way to break the ice and let his personality show through.

It can be as simple as taking a moment to ask how everyone is doing at the start of a conference call. If you know a coworker recently went on vacation, you can make a note to ask about his or her trip, says Collins.

He also suggests jotting down coworker's birthdays in your calendar, so you can take a moment to send a personal note. You can also use messaging apps to keep up informal conversations with coworkers by sending funny links or even work related information you think they might find helpful. Think of it as a way to replicate those quick conversations you'd have while getting coffee in the break room.

Eradicate email
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Eradicate email

Email is certainly more productive than the alternatives (i.e. meetings), but the endless flood of communications can quickly get overwhelming. Twenty-eight percent of respondents say a steady stream of emails hinders their productivity.

To avoid getting lost in a sea of replies, set aside specific chunks of time during the day, a few times each day, to devote to email -- you'll be surprised how much more manageable it becomes.

Temperature check
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Temperature check

Extremes in temperature are more than just an annoyance, they can actually negatively affect your ability to get work done; 33 percent of respondents say the temperature in their office impacted their productivity. So, check out the thermostat at your office space and make sure it's set to a comfortable temperature, usually somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees. You won't be able to write code if your fingers are numb, nor will your daily status meeting be comfortable and engaging if everyone's mopping sweat from their brows.

If you can't change the temperature, keep an extra sweater at your desk, or even plug in a space heater to keep yourself toasty warm.

Get in the zone
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Get in the zone

The digital era has shortened humans' attention spans, but take heart -- the ultradian rhythm that is present in both our sleeping and waking lives indicates that the human brain has the potential to focus for 90 to 120 minutes before it needs a break. Take advantage of both your increased ability to multitask and your brain's potential and break down your workday into 90 minute chunks to make the most of your concentration.