Advertising
Advertising

Six Effective Tips to Work from Home

Six Effective Tips to Work from Home

In recent years there has been an increase in home based employees and I am among the masses who now call their home their office. I am self employed but whether you work for yourself or an established employer you are likely to face obstacles similar to those that I encountered. Early on as my business was first established I made a few mistakes and fell into the common pitfalls of working from home. I have since learned to overcome those obstacles and I would like to share my tips for working effectively from home with you.

Advertising

  1. Setting up a functional workspace is critical to the success from a work from home employee. Try setting up your space so that it contains all of the necessary equipment that you need. You may decorate your workspace so that it is aesthetically appealing but try to keep distractions to a minimum.
  2. Establishing a working schedule is also important. Having regularly scheduled hours when you work will help you to be more efficient during these times. Be sure to schedule work time as well as break times so that you will not become overwhelmed. One of the pitfalls that some work from home employees fall into is working too many hours. In an office there is a clear signal to the end of the day as other employees start to leave the office for the day but at home employees sometimes have difficulty ending their day.
  3. Being able to motivate yourself is critical for the work at home employee. In an office situation, you have a supervisor and co-workers who motivate you to complete your work but when you are working at home, you only have yourself to push you to succeed.
  4. Maintaining a professional attitude is also important for the work from home employee. If you have frequent client interactions, be careful to answer the phone or respond to their emails in a professional way. A home office may be an informal environment that affords you the luxury of dressing casually but client interactions should always follow certain decorum. Keeping your interactions businesslike will ensure that the client does not begin to doubt the amount or quality of work that is being put into their projects.
  5. Considering hiring a day care provider is another tip for working from home. Those who have young children may find it difficult to attend to the needs of their children while fulfilling their job obligations. For this reason it may be worthwhile to have a day care provider care for your child during your working hours.
  6. Avoid volunteering for too many activities. Many people will assume that because you work at home you are free to help them run errands, pick up their children from school or be an emergency babysitter if their child has a cold. While you may want to help your friends and family members, it is important to make it clear that your work is just as important as theirs and that you have obligations to take care of each day.

These are the tips that helped me to work effectively from home but you may find other tricks or ideas that help you to improve your efficiency and productivity while working from home. The important thing to remember is that your home based job deserves the same attention and dedication as an office position. Following the tips that I have provided will help you to become a lucrative and productive home based worker.

Advertising

Advertising

More by this author

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps 6 Simple Steps to Make Progress Towards Achieving Goals Seven Budget-Friendly Things to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico 6 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself A Random List of Unique Gifts

Trending in Productivity

1The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? 210 Best Time Management Books Recommended By Entrepreneurs 3What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating) 46 Simple Steps to Make Progress Towards Achieving Goals 5Secrets to Organizing Thoughts and Ideas (So You’ll Never Lose Ideas!)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

Advertising

So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

Advertising

  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

Advertising

According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

Read Next