According to Gallup.com, more Americans are working from home than ever. It’s estimated that 37% of Americans (up from 9% in 1995) have traded their commute for a home office at some point in their working career. For many, working from home is an ideal arrangement, while for others, it can be a double-edged sword, making productivity difficult at best and downright elusive at worst.
If working from home presents a struggle, here are some ways to be successful and get the most out of this arrangement.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
This might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning, given the rise of mobile technology that allows people to work from pretty much anywhere. If you’ve ever lain in bed and written a lengthy work-related email from your mobile device, you know exactly what I mean. Though this seems convenient, having clear lines between your workspace and your personal space can be beneficial for productivity. This doesn’t mean you need a fancy expanse of space to make it functional. Even if you’ve got space constraints, consider setting up a small corner of a room or offset place where you can separate your work life from your personal life.
Avoid Being Too Sedentary
It’s almost inevitable that working from home will include long hours of sitting. Sitting for a long time, though, is linked to posture problems that can become increasingly painful and debilitating over time. These effects can be magnified if you don’t have an ergonomic chair and desk design that supports healthy posturing options. If you’ll be sitting for many hours each day, make sure you understand how to lessen the long-term impact on your body with ideal positioning, ergonomic equipment and helpful exercises.
Explore Time Management Options
Much like your dedicated work space, a dedicated working time frame can help you stay focused on the task at hand. In addition, science is uncovering the truth about habitual multitasking: People who multitask just aren’t as productive. Explore time management strategies like time blocking or following a task list. For example, you could dedicate time blocks to responding to emails, making phone calls, writing, etc. Experiment with different techniques and adopt one that maximizes your productivity.
If you plan to stick to a schedule, make sure you add breaks to give yourself both a physical and mental rest during work hours. Again, if productivity is the goal, alleviating the stress associated with long periods of intense concentration could be extremely helpful. It might be tempting to work through breaks, but studies show that your productivity can decline as a result of skipping them. Think back to the times when you might have burned the midnight oil to accomplish a task. Though you were able to accomplish your task, the quality of your work likely suffered as a result. It’s best to schedule and take routine breaks so that you can get the most out of your time spent working from home.
Working from home can be a wonderful job benefit if you’re able to remain productive. In order to be successful, try adopting habits, such as the ones mentioned above, little by little to make working from home function well for you.
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