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7 Simple Ways To Ramp Up Productivity In Your Home Office

7 Simple Ways To Ramp Up Productivity In Your Home Office

Big businesses are rapidly realizing something that self-employed workers have known for ages: allowing employees to work remotely does great things for productivity and happiness. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, the percent of non-self-employed people who work from home has more than doubled over the last 10 years. What’s more, the average business saves approximately $11,000 per telecommuter annually, and nearly 70 percent of companies report increased productivity from their virtual workers.

However, the success of remote working depends a lot on the home office environment. Whether you have been working from home for years or are new to virtual employment, a positive work-from-home experience starts with a smartly assembled workspace. Here are seven easy ways to create the ultimate remote work setup.

1. Declutter

Clutter can infest your space with distractions and have a profound effect on your mood. To combat this, examine your home office and remove items that don’t belong, paying particular attention to your desktop or other work surfaces. Use of a variety of storage containers and desk accessories to keep the things you need handy but out of sight.

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Tip: If your office is tight on floor space, use a combination of shelving and wall pockets to organize your essentials.

2. Incorporate a personal touch

You spend a lot of time in your office, so creating a personal and positive space is well worth the effort. Start by establishing a cohesive home office style that you identify with, and then add inspirational décor that works with that theme. Whether you’re motivated by pet pictures, encouraging quotes, or vacation mementoes, a few carefully selected items can arouse positive vibes even on the worst of days.

Tip: For virtual work that requires a heavy dose of creativity or focus, consider changing the color scheme of your office. Different hues provide a range of psychological boosts — white is great for fostering imagination, for example, whereas blue can help promote a calm and centered mentality.

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3. Improve area lighting

Lighting is an underestimated element of a productive workspace. A dimly lit office not only increases eye fatigue, but it can also make you sleepy and negatively impact your mood. In addition to adjusting the ceiling-mounted fixtures that illuminate your office, it’s important to make use of task lights as well. These smaller lights can help ensure that your desk or other work area is sufficiently well-lit, improving both attitude and performance.

Tip: An LED dimming system is an easy and energy-efficient way to change the level of lighting in your home office as needed throughout the day.

4. Update your technology

As a virtual worker, you probably rely heavily on technology, which means keeping devices up-to-date is paramount to productivity. Whether it’s a printer you are always troubleshooting or software you have outgrown, make some time to evaluate your home office technology and upgrade tools as necessary. Plenty of new office tech products are released every year, so stay on top of recent developments to really enhance your work environment.

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Tip: You might not realize it, but a slow Internet connection may be hampering your efficiency. Test your Internet speed to find out if your connection is sufficient.

5. Elevate your computer

Hunching over a computer every day can ruin your posture and lead to an array of neck and back problems. Using a computer stand to elevate your laptop or mounting your desktop monitor to a more comfortable viewing height can help alleviate these issues. You’ll be surprised at how much more enjoyable work is when you don’t have to worry about physical strain.

Tip: Increase your comfort further by investing in a quality desk chair that provides ample support for your lower back. Or, if you want your workspace to double as a workout space, use a stability ball to help strengthen your core muscles.

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6. Play some tunes

A number of reports indicate that listening to certain types of music can boost productivity, creativity, and memory. Capitalize on this by purchasing high-quality speakers and using an app like Spotify to create playlists for different work-related jobs. Upbeat tunes are preferred for redundant tasks, and soothing music is the best choice for brainstorming and creativity.

Tip: When playing background music, stay away from songs with lyrics, as they can be distracting. Instead, listen to natural sounds, like a babbling brook or ocean waves.

7. Add plants

Adding plants to your home office will make the space feel more warm and welcoming. Potted plants also provide a natural way to help filter air and replenish oxygen — English ivy and golden pothos are two particularly excellent plant purifiers. If you don’t have a green thumb, opt for a more resilient plant, like a small cactus or succulent.

Tip: For a dose of aromatherapy, place a planter of lavender near your desk. The scent can help relieve stress and promote uplifting thoughts. Creating the perfect home work environment can be tricky, even if you’re a virtual veteran. Try a few of these simple suggestions to figure out what works best for you. In a matter of days, you could be working in a dynamic home office that catapults both your productivity and your happiness.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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