Nearly one-third of the workforce now works remotely full-time, and close to three-fourths of all employed individuals work from home at least one day per week. Many prefer working from home because of the flexibility and lack of commute. However, distractions like loads of laundry and other household members can detract from your work.
If you sometimes have a hard time remaining on-task during the work day when you work from home, these suggestions may help you maximize your productivity so you can accomplish more in your work day.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
Working from the couch may be enticing, especially if working from home is new to you. However, working in the living room or your bedroom can distract you. If you can see laundry that needs to be done or have the television set right in front of you, you will probably focus on those things instead of the work you need to do.
Establish a dedicated workspace in your home’s spare bedroom or bonus room if possible. If space is an issue, set up a desk and make the space feel as disconnected from the rest of the house as possible. This helps your brain separate “work” from “home” and will increase your productivity during working hours.
2. Avoid Digital Distractions
Most people silence their phones when in an office, but this isn’t necessary when you work remotely. Unfortunately, if you let them, social media notifications and text messages will quickly pull you away from work and interrupt your progress. So, it’s best to avoid these distractions by setting up Focus Mode on your phone during work hours.
3. Establish Consistent Work Hours
You may (falsely) assume working from home will improve work-life balance. However, it can cause some people to procrastinate while others may overwork since they’re already at home. Over time, both of these can decrease productivity.
To combat this, you should establish consistent start and stop times for work each day. It can be beneficial to set an alarm or other reminder that lets you know when your work day should be over.
4. Map Out Your Day & Week
A lot of the details of productivity involve proper time management. Therefore, you should develop a system that helps you plan your time daily. Many people use time-blocking or do-to lists to accomplish this.
If you want to take it one step further, you could even use a Panda Planner or similar product to help you plan your week. This can be helpful for anyone who deals with lots of meetings and needs to see free time for other tasks.
5. Don’t Keep Email Open
Email is necessary for most remote employees. However, it’s also very distracting, especially when you see a new message notification while working on a mundane task. The best idea for productivity is to only check your email during set periods throughout the work day. Some good times to check email are first thing in the morning, right before or immediately after your lunch break, and at the end of your work day.
6. Dress The Part
Although it’s tempting to roll out of bed and work in your pajamas when your home is also your office, this isn’t the best idea from a productivity standpoint. Even if you change from pajamas to a t-shirt and pair of sweatpants, changing your clothes will wake your brain and let it know that it’s time to get to work. This will help you accomplish more during the workday and encourage healthy hygiene habits.
7. Take Breaks
It’s also tempting not to take breaks while working at home because you’ll get more work done if you don’t stop. However, brain breaks can help boost productivity and reduce burnout symptoms simultaneously.
You can either take scheduled breaks throughout the work day (e.g., one 5-minute break every hour and an hour lunch break) or plan to take a 10-minute break anytime you switch tasks. Different systems work for different people, but everyone benefits from breaks, so don’t skip them.
8. Use Productivity Apps
We live in a world where technology is essential to nearly every aspect of our lives. The good news is that we can also leverage technology to make our work-from-home experience more efficient.
There are dozens of helpful productivity tools that you can use regardless of what career field you work in. With these applications, you can automate tasks, track your time, maintain a calendar, and more.
9. Stay Organized
Working from home makes it easy to let things pile up because you aren’t sharing the space with others. Believe it or not, a messy workspace can impact your productivity. Take time each day to clean up your desk and office space. Your brain will appreciate it.
10. Follow Morning and Nighttime Routines
All of the previously-mentioned tips will help you maximize productivity during the workday. If you don’t get adequate rest and start your morning off right, these efforts won’t help. Therefore, establishing a consistent bedtime routine that promotes rest and starting your day with morning rituals that boost your mood is essential for productivity, including those working from home.
Stay Productive and Get More Work Done
Everyone’s productivity levels fluctuate from day to day. However, these 10 suggestions will help remote employees find their stride to stay productive when working from home. Remember to be gentle with yourself and get as much done as possible.
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