The increasing acceptance of today’s bring-your-own-device landscape and the ability to do more business remotely because of better technology means more people than ever are working from home at least part of the time.
About one-fourth of the American workforce teleworks at least part of the time, and the regular work-at-home population among the non-self-employed has grown by 103 percent since 2005. Fast Company magazine reports 25 percent of business leaders say more than three-quarters of their workforce will not work in a traditional office by 2020.
Working from home doesn’t just offer convenience in eliminated commutes and flexible scheduling. It can also help you be more productive than ever, since you have more opportunity to integrate healthy lifestyle habits into your schedule. Whether you work from home part of the time or full-time, here are five things to do every day you work from home to have a more successful career.
1. Foster a Business Environment
Set yourself up for success at home by creating a work environment that’s organized and that will allow you to minimize distractions.
Greg Peters, Senior Director of Business Development of Cisco Authorized Distributor KBZ, admits when he first began working from home, it was easy to get distracted by the freedom of working from home and how it can affect discipline. Peters recommends creating and adhering to a schedule to stay focused, designating a space for work with easy access to tools you need, and limiting external distractions, such as television.
By having close proximity to temptations that can decrease productivity or cause you to miss deadlines, working from home can actually become a frustrating experience as you scramble to accomplish your tasks. Cutting down on interruptions also requires communicating with family members or roommates about your schedule and when you need time to concentrate on work.
2. Eat a Nutritious Lunch
If you want to maintain the willpower to produce great work throughout the workday, eating a nutritious lunch is essential. In the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, authors Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney present research that ties willpower directly to glucose and expounds on the importance of not depriving yourself of regular healthy food intake.
Harvard Business Review emphasizes the importance of eating well-balanced meals, since starchy or fatty foods like pasta and fried cheese might give you an initial burst of energy, but will cause a slump shortly after because of the energy it takes for the body to process them. Aim to fill most of your plate with fresh fruits and veggies and low-fat proteins for sustainable energy that will keep you productive during the day.
3. Get at Least 15 Minutes of Sunshine
Make it a point when you work from home to not stay holed up all day at your desk. Getting outside has numerous health benefits, according to Harvard University research, including helping people get their daily intake of disease-fighting vitamin D. Getting more exposure to light is also a mood booster, while the physical activity of taking a walk outside increases the production of feel-good endorphins and can help improve concentration. Use a time when you are feeling a mental block and need some inspiration to take a quick walk and take time to appreciate nature while you enjoy being active.
Working from home often means you can be more flexible in not just how you spend your time, but where you work, too. If all you need is Wi-Fi to accomplish a task, changing up your work environment by heading to an outdoor cafe can be a way to get re-energized while you get some sunshine.
4. Exercise for at Least 30 Minutes
Being busy should never be an excuse not to exercise, since a lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle decreases energy levels, which hampers productivity. It also means an increased chance of developing chronic illness, diabetes, and heart disease, which could significantly impact your ability to work in the future for a longer time.
The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days a week to maintain overall cardiovascular health. Weight-bearing activities are also essential to protect bone health and burn more calories while at rest to maintain an optimal body mass index. Integrating at least 30 minutes of exercise into each workday schedule helps you stay on track to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keeps energy levels up so you can produce better work.
5. Reward Yourself as You Successfully Accomplish Tasks
Maintain workday momentum by taking a quick break to reward yourself with every task you accomplish. Working straight through can dull concentration and actually make it take longer to accomplish work. Health magazine reports short and frequent breaks increase stamina and decrease aches and pains felt while working.
Make sure you’re rewarding yourself healthily and not by eating an energy-sapping candy bar or getting sucked into a television series. This is where a quick walk outside not only gives you a chance to recharge, but you’ll also be getting exposure to vitamin D and burning some calories. Crossing off a quick item from your outside-of-work to-do list, such as calling a relative or getting groceries, helps you foster a better work-life balance before you get back to your job.
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