Millions of Americans have become used to working from home after their job morphed into a remote position during the pandemic.
Some companies are asking workers to return to the office, but there is a reluctance to do so. At least one recent study found that almost two-thirds of workers would consider leaving a job if required to return to the office full time, according to the ADP Research Institute.
Whether you work from home as a way to make more money or to simply have more flexibility, millions of workers love the arrangement. However, it can have some drawbacks if you struggle to manage your workload from a place that isn’t an office.
Here are a few ways you can boost your productivity while working in a home office.
Distractions can sabotage your productivity in an instant. Perhaps your desk is right next to your television or you constantly have friends and family calling or texting you.
Find a way to turn off distractions, like putting your phone on silent or setting up a work-only workspace.
Sitting at a desk can be mentally exhausting, whether you’re in an office or your home. Try to schedule some break time so you can get up and move around a little.
Even something as simple as setting your lunch hour for the same time every day can help you get the break you need.
Create a quality workspace
Trying to work from your bed or couch may not be the most productive option. Instead, consider setting aside a place in your home specifically for work.
You may want to invest in a good desk and chair. Perhaps bookshelves might be a good option. And if you are on video calls on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to bump up your background with some art that also makes you happy when you see it.
Go for a walk
It can be tedious sitting inside the house all day, so remember to move. Something as simple as a walk or a jog for a few minutes could help you refocus when you get home.
Or, think about other forms of exercise to rejuvenate your work routine. Even a 10-minute yoga video could help you stay in the right mindset for work.
Some bosses may think that since you’re home near your desk, it will be easy for you to work on one last project or send one more email. If that’s the case, it might be a good idea for you to set some boundaries.
Log off at a specific time every day and don’t answer work calls or emails after that. It may also be a good way for you to better achieve your daily work goals when you have a set time to sign off.
Find some background noise
For some people, there could be such a thing as too much quiet. If that’s the case, think about background noise you can use to keep you focused.
Perhaps music without words, such as classical music or movie scores, is a good option. You may also want to look into meditation apps or music apps that have background tracks like rain, waves, or other soothing sounds.
Set a timer
Consider setting a timer to help you stay focused for a set amount of time. Any time will do. You can use the clock on your smartphone, find an online time, or perhaps even use a traditional kitchen timer.
You also may want to look into different productive timing techniques. The Pomodoro Technique, for example, allows you to break your work time into small sprints with breaks in between to keep you motivated.
Remember others in your house
Are the kids home from school for the summer? Do you have roommates who like to watch television with the volume on high? It may be a good idea to talk to them before you log on for the day.
Set your expectations to have quiet time while you work. You may also want to come up with alternatives ahead of time, such as projects for the kids that keep them busy and quiet.
Keep communication open
Some supervisors may not like the idea of not being able to see you at your desk each day. How can they know you’re working?
To set their fears at ease, communicate with them and other co-workers on a regular basis. Perhaps a quick morning call to set expectations or afternoon email check-in might be a good option to keep communication flowing.
Interact with humans
Just because you work from home each day doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself away in the house. It may be a good idea to try and set up a regular happy hour to meet with co-workers in person outside of your home office.
Or, create a work pod with friends in your neighborhood to work together in a coffee shop or library. Human interaction can be important to a healthy and happy balance between work and fun.
Try not to spend your work day in front of a computer in your pajamas. You may not be working in an office, but a good morning office prep can help you stay motivated.
Take a shower and make some coffee like you would if you were going to work. And while you may not have to wear a suit and tie to sit at a desk in your home, consider switching those pajamas for some real pants and a nice shirt.
Skip social media
Social media can be a big distraction, particularly if you have notifications set up on your phone or shortcuts in your browser bookmarks.
Instead, think about shutting off notifications and logging out of social media accounts before your work starts to make it harder for you to sign on and get derailed.
Find your most productive times
Are you a morning person who works best in the early hours? Or does your productivity really get going in the afternoon?
Think about planning your harder tasks at times when you know you’ll be more motivated and leave the small or easier tasks to those down times when you’re less productive.
Make a plan
It’s good to have goals set out before you start the work day. So, take a few minutes in the morning or before you log off for the day to set plans and goals before the next work day starts.
A plan can help you stay more motivated than simply trying to jump from one task to another in the middle of the day.
Start a side hustle
After a long day at work, having a way to decompress may be a good way to clear the slate and get you ready again for work the next day.
But this doesn’t have to be a period of pure relaxation. Maybe you can use the time to make even more money. Perhaps you have a hobby that you can turn into a side hustle, or you want to drive for a ride-sharing or food delivery app after sitting at a desk all day.
If making more cash sounds good to you, check out this list of the best side hustles.
Take sick days
Just because you can call in doesn’t mean you should. But if you’re sick and need a day off, take it.
Working while sick, regardless of whether you’re working in an office or at home, is not productive. Take off time when you need to, get some rest, and come back refreshed and ready to work again.
Take advantage of the perks
A timer that you use in the house — say, on your washing machine — is a good way to stay motivated to work. Throw in a load of clothes and work away until the timer reminds you to take a break and move the towels to the dryer.
Or, plan your lunch hour around watching a certain cartoon with your kids. If you’re at home, find ways to use these mundane events to stay positive and motivated.
Working from home is a great way to boost your bank account and increase your productivity. But working from home successfully starts with developing the right frame of mind.
So, think about work-from-home techniques that may work best for you and adopt them so you become more successful with each passing day.
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