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Work At Home More Efficiently With These 10 Tips

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Work At Home More Efficiently With These 10 Tips

Home-based businesses have been around since the rise of commerce. Traditionally, only certain types of jobs like agriculture, handicraft making, small manufacturing, and repair could be carried out from home. But working at home now is an entirely different concept from what it used to be in the bygone era. Today, the rapid innovation of technology has changed the very nature of what can be done from home. In fact, people in almost every industry can work from their house at least part time.

Having an office right at home comes with a fair share of pros and cons. On one hand, nothing can beat the feeling of being one’s own boss while on the other, maintaining a level of concentration to get things done on time is a daunting task.

If you are thinking about or already working from home, here are ten tips to maximize your productivity while keeping the work from home experience enjoyable.

1. Work life balance.

The most common problem faced by people who work at home is the difficulty in maintaining a work-life balance. It is so easy to go back to working on that unfinished item during family time.

Webmd.com has a great article asking are you a work-a-holic? If you are you may not be a good candidate to work from home. To combat this problem, it’s a great idea to have a structured routine. This helps to pace the day and to monitor how much you have accomplished. Your routine should include a set time when work is finished.

Remember, checklists really help to accomplish your tasks, but you must make the decision that when the stop time comes your done crossing items off the list. Setting a structure day and remaining committed to family time will actually help you to be more productive and happier in what you do.

2. Establish a well-defined workspace.

When people work at home, they need to create a clear distinction between working space and living space. Establishing a proper mini-office within the home aids the worker by putting everything required for work in a single place. This lowers the risk of misplacing important items and it reduces time need to gather necessary tools and materials.

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The dedicated works space helps with mindset. You are going to your office. You should treat it no differently than if you were driving in. That mean you should not have distractions present you would not have at your regular office. Your goal is to outperform your office based cohorts.

3. Keep in touch with co-workers.

Plying trade from home doesn’t have to be a lonely task. It’s important to keep in touch with colleagues on a regular basis. It helps to know what is happening in the office environment so that you will not be caught unaware of major policy change that could affect your job.

Even when working on an independent level, getting in touch with other telecommuters is helpful to stay abreast of industry or community trends. That can be done through industry online boards or other community events.

People desire a sense of community and belonging. By making a small effort to stay in touch with others, it will help to keep your satisfaction level high with your at home position.

4. Know your goals and document their completion.

A perceived common problem faced by many home based workers is they often lack the constant feedback that their office based counter parts receive from supervisors. It is widely believed by employers that without the natural pressure of a supervisor, home-based workers my have lower productivity and misuse their company resources.

However, the Harvard Business Review published a study in the January – February online magazine that suggest the opposite. In fact, the study showed that telecommuters were 13.5% more productive while also being half a likely to quit or call in sick than their office based coworkers.

The key is to have work that is highly measurable and easily expandable. Make sure you are clear on what your employer needs then make sure there is a way that your work is documented. This allows for accountability and visibility to your employer. This is a win for you and your employer, which should make you both happy.

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5. Keep the workplace clean.

Working away from the office environment helps to reduce sick time. Less contact with people means a lower likelihood of contracting a communicable disease like a cold or the flu.

However, home-based workers face a unique problem in that they spend large amounts of time in a static environment and that increases their chance of dealing with allergen problems.

According to Sinusitis Wellness, a leading authority on Allergic and Chronic Sinusitis, dust, pollen and mold are pollutants that can cause your sinus headaches, sinus congestions, and even chronic fatigue. The more you breathe in the problem antigens the worse your symptoms will be.

So it is important to do regular cleaning of your home office to keep these common pollutants at a minimum. This will help you to focus and be more productive.

6. Set a proper routine.

One of the common problems while working from home is the difficulty in keeping track of time. Most often, we have no clue whatsoever of how much we worked.

It’s a great idea to make a routine even while working at home. This helps keep track of time and we can always realize how much we worked.

Making a routine defining working time and working hours and sticking to it will surely ease the life of a household worker a lot.

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7. Make sure you’ve enough work.

Another important thing for homeworkers is to have enough work all the time. It doesn’t just ensure that you’re occupied sufficiently and you can make a good living but also you don’t have to worry about paying bills and meeting your needs.

If there’s less work, one can be occupied with the thoughts of anxiety and dissatisfaction and the person may not be able to give the best for even the available work.

With enough work and having to meet deadlines, people can do more in less time too, compared to when they’re free more often.

8. Stay away from distractions during working hours.

Just when you’re trying to engage in your work, your wife enters asking you to fix the kitchen sink and it’s not before an hour you’re back at the business. Now, you think you’ve in excess of coming two hours all to yourself.

But how wrong you’re! A friend pops in for a visit and all your hopes are vanquished. Such kind of distractions are probably the biggest problem for telecommuting people.

So when you’re planning to engage in a work, lock the doors and keep yourself away from people and events that can hurdle you. And, don’t get disrupted unless something serious like fire or earthquake happens.

9. Reserve holidays for yourself.

Holidays are what office workers cherish the most in their life, generally. While they can get their holidays only on certain days, people working at home can decide when they’re going to have holidays by themselves.

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So why not to exploit this privilege as much as possible? Rather than working little a day throughout the week, why not to work longer hours some days and have a couple of days off?

This helps telecommuters revel in their favorite pastimes and refresh themselves, which surely enhances work rate in future.

10. Enjoy your privileges but don’t abuse them.

Not just while telecommuting but in every walk of life, enjoying the privileges without abusing them will surely help keep one to do great things. This works in telecommuting too just fine.

Work in an organized manner, keeping proper balance between work and other pursuits of life. And don’t try to circumvent all the time.

For example, freelance writers ought not to take telecommuting as the opportunity to create copied and baseless articles and paid enormously. It might help in short run but hampers the chance to learn and grow on to become a better writer.

By following these 10 tips you can create positives for both yourself and your employer. You get proximity to family and flexibility. You employer gets greater productivity and fewer losses due to an unhappy worker.

However you should remember that although the trend of telecommuting is growing, it is not unheard of for a company to reverse course on this policy. Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayers ended the company’s policy allowing tele-work in June of 2013. She never cited the exact reason for the reversal, but you have to believe the company’s turn around plan demanded better results from all of Yahoo’s work from home employees.

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Featured photo credit: A great home office environment via decosee.com

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Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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