Statistics state that the number of people who work remotely has increased by 140% since 2005.
The COVID-19 pandemic is sending millions of people around the globe to the shelter of their home offices—and likely, this trend will only increase.
Working from home has several strong advantages. Studies show that remote workers are happier, healthier, and have increased job satisfaction. What's more, working remotely can also boost productivity by as much as 20%.
However, there are also many pitfalls to working from home that can negatively affect productivity. We have compiled some of the best tips for working remotely so that you can avoid these potential productivity killers.
Read on to find out what these are so that you can get more done in less time and nail your productivity goals.
One of the most important working from home tips is to get your workspace optimized for productivity.
Are you working on the kitchen counter? Or worse, sitting on your bed?
If so, the first thing you should consider is how you can create a dedicated workspace. Ideally, see if you can convert a room into a home office. If that is not possible, establish a work area that is ergonomic and which contains everything you need for your tasks.
Ensure that you have a good chair and that your monitor and keyword are positioned so that your elbows are at right angles and your head is not tilted down. This will help to reduce neck and back strain.
Additionally, try to eliminate glare on your screen, as this can cause eyestrain.
To further boost productivity, look at enhancing your work area aesthetically with art or other items you find pleasing to the eye.
You can also use color to your advantage. If you find that vibrant colors increase your energy, incorporate elements of red, yellow, or orange into your workspace. Or, if you find you need calming colors for concentration, consider going with a neutral palette.
Take a look at this post if you want some more home office tips.
If you are constantly playing Tetris on your desk with piles of papers, miscellaneous pens, and empty coffee cups, for productivity's sake you need to clear the clutter.
Why? Because it is scientifically proven that clutter reduces productivity. One study from Harvard showed that clutter can decrease one's ability to complete tasks. Participants in the study were also able to concentrate for an average of 7.5 minutes more at a time in clutter-fee environments.
For this reason, even if you ignore half of these working from home tips, make a point to cut the clutter out of your work area.
If you are wondering how to be productive at home, and are doing so in your dressing gown—it's time for a change. As in—a change of clothes.
Research has shown that workers perform better when attired in the clothing of their profession.
If you are working from home this doesn't mean you need to don a shirt and tie every day or hobble around in heels. However, you definitely should not be tackling your workday in the clothes you slept in.
Instead, opt for comfortable clothing that still makes you feel professional and together. Besides making you feel confident and capable, dressing well for your workday also means that you can jump on a Zoom meeting or video conference at any moment.
One of the challenges that a lot of remote workers face is establishing a schedule. Without the 9-5 bounds of an office, it can be easy to fall into unproductive routines or have no routine at all.
Without a routine, hours can slip away and valuable working time disappears into thin air.
To make sure that you are putting in the hours that you intend, one of the best tips for working remotely is to lay out a planned schedule. Decide what time you want to wake up, how long you need for your morning routine, how many hours you will work per day, starting when and ending when.
Of course, one of the joys of working from home is the enhanced flexibility, so don't beat yourself up if once in awhile you deviate from your schedule.
Also, ensure that the schedule you set is not too ambitious, otherwise, you won't be able to keep it up. Instead, opt for a sustainable schedule that fits in with your lifestyle.
While it's important to plan your working time, it's just as essential to give yourself breaks. By giving yourself time for your brain to refresh you will be able to work faster and better when you are sitting at your desk.
However, if you want to optimize your time, make sure that when you do get up from the screen that you aren't just wandering over to your phone and hitting an hour-long "scrollathon".
Instead, plan activities for your breaks. Are you trying to get fit? Squeeze in a few rounds of resistance training or a quick yoga session.
If this isn't your jam, you can pop out into the sunshine for 5 minutes, call someone you have been meaning to chat with or do some meal prepping.
One of the best working from home tips is the use of task timers.
Timers can be used to time both work tasks and breaks. Keeping track of time with a timer is a great way to ensure that block of time doesn't slip through your fingers.
For example, if you know you only have 20 minutes to complete a specific task, you probably aren't checking Facebook during that time. Conversely, if you want to take a break, setting a timer will ensure that you don't get carried away with something and inadvertently impact your day's productivity.
If your remote work has pushed out deadlines, a smart move can be to create your own mini-deadlines. For example, if a project is due by the end of next month, you may find that you aren't putting in the time you should because the deadline is so distant.
To make sure you are on track, break down the elements of the project and set weekly milestones. Then, work out how much you need to achieve each day of the week to reach these milestones.
When you're working from home, it's easy for other people to forget that you're, well, working.
Phone calls during the day or invitations to social outings can eat into your precious working time and throw your schedule (and goals) out the window.
If you have a few people in your life that are regularly breaking into your worktime unnecessarily, be clear with them about your schedule, and communicate that you are only available during 'free' time.
One of the big drawbacks of working from home can be isolation. Being able to hash out a holdup with a co-worker can lead to increased problem-solving. Therefore, to increase your productivity while working remotely, see if you can connect with a friend that is is a similar line of work.
If you can open up a line of communication and borrow each others' ears occasionally, you may find that you can get more down in less time.
There is a lot of truth to the saying 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. What's more, all work no play also makes Jack an unproductive boy.
Research shows that a decrease in work-life-balance is directly linked to lowered levels of productivity, not to mention decreased health, motivation, and wellbeing.
Therefore, to boost productivity during working hours, one of the most impactful working from home tips is to schedule in time for friends and family.
To make sure that this does not upset your working routine, arrange your schedule so that you can take time off for social activities without feeling guilty or run behind on deadlines.
When working from home, one productively pitfall can be household tasks. Survey results show that up to 57% of remote workers admitted to doing household chores such as folding laundry during working hours.
This is understandable, seeing as these chores are staring you in the face while you are at home. However, to meet your productivity goals you must make designated time for chores instead of letting them sideline your work.
One of the ways to do this is to establish a 'cleaning day', such as on Saturday mornings. You can also plan in small windows of chores each day, such as vacuuming the floor before dinner.
Working from home has a lot of perks, one of which is increased productivity. However, to achieve enhanced productivity while working remotely, you need to create an environment, schedule, and habits that will support it.
If you want to boost your productivity when working from home, implement these tips for working remotely and watch how you get more done in less time.
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