5 Productivity Tips for Working from Home
Does the nature of your business require you to work from home? If so, you’re not alone.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24% of U.S. workers did their work partly or entirely at home. There are many who thrive in a home environment and actually find it to be quite conducive for productivity. However, there are others who dread the temptations that come with the territory — pajamas, television, and puppy videos galore, just to name a few. It takes a lot of discipline to keep yourself productive while you work from home, but here are a few tips you can practice from the comfort of your living room couch.
- Review Daily Responsibilities Beforehand
Discuss with your clients via phone or video conference their expectations for the day. Though you may not be beholden to every single detail, it will help keep you goal-oriented throughout the day and give you a sense of direction without having to constantly correspond.
- Pick the Spot that Works Best for You
Most would suggest you lock yourself in an isolated, quiet part of your home to prevent distraction. However, the truth remains that everyone’s optimal work environment is unique. I can tell you that I personally work best in a sunny, open space with some background noise. I know others who prefer taking their work to the library or Starbucks, and still others who (claim they) work best from bed. Ultimately, the setting shouldn’t matter so long as you get your work done — but it’s important to define a consistent workplace! Of course, this flexibility works best for those who occasionally work from home. Those who work from home regularly should at the very least avoid conflating their bed with work.
- Pick a “Good” Distraction
Some distractions are better than others: though it sounds counterintuitive, keeping one handy while you work from home can be more helpful than harmful. Turn some music on if that helps you concentrate. If you have a pet, let them keep you company. Put the TV on… no, seriously: a study from the University of Chicago found that a moderate level of ambient noise can help increase creativity. (Although, the same study also says that a high level of noise negatively affects creativity, so don’t go blasting Game of Thrones.)
- Take Breaks
Traditionally, the idea of an easily distracted employee who takes multiple breaks is frowned upon. In reality, though, it’s healthy — even necessary — to take breaks in order to replenish our bodily and mental stamina. Just as you would rest your body after a run so as not to injure yourself, you should rest your mind to prevent burnout. Have you ever tried working on one particular task for a prolonged period of time? Chances are you found yourself looping through the same roadblocks and problems. Recent studies have shown that breaking once every hour helps prevent this type of mental stagnation we’ve become so familiar with.
- Human Interaction
There’s a chance that one of the perks of working from home is the isolation it affords you. Some introverted individuals draw more inspiration when they’re alone. However, even the most misanthropic of working people need to socialize, and it can be hard to do so when you don’t work in a traditional office environment. Whether they’re your neighbors, family members, or your local coffee shop barista, it’s important to get some regular human interaction. You don’t have to change your lifestyle or step completely outside of your comfort zone, but it’s imperative for one’s emotional and mental health to maintain some type of face-to-face relationship.
Working from home and telecommuting has been quickly gaining traction: 68 percent of millennial job seekers say that employers who offer work from home options appeal to them most. That said, working from home requires a different mindset and approach than working in a traditional office environment. However, with remote work on the rise, it would be prudent to start acclimating to good practices to ensure your productivity doesn’t drop.
About the Author
Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP and GetCRM — a trusted VoIP and CRM comparison resource that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs.