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8 ways to be more productive when working from home

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When you rise in the morning, form a resolution to make the day a happy one to a fellow-creature – Sydney Smith

Working from home is convenient on days when the roads are more like ice rinks suited for hockey playing, or when your dishwasher decides to throw a fit and flood your kitchen. The flexibility it brings to your schedule is a workplace benefit that many people, such as millennials, take into account when accepting a job. But like all things in life, it has pros and cons. Technology has made it possible for us to now be potentially available to work ‘round the clock, which makes it necessary to set some limits and rules when working from home.

The Harvard Business Review published a recent article about an experiment that revealed that the performance of home-workers went up dramatically, increasing by 13 percent over the course of the nine months of the experiment. The home-workers were more productive per minute and took fewer breaks and sick days. Staff turnover fell by almost 50 percent compared to the control group, who kept going to the office as usual.

Following a recent article from Fast Company that details eight ways to be more productive and Entrepreneur’s myth-busting article about working from home, we bring you these tips to increase your productivity and stay in touch with the “real world” … you know, the one outside your living room/office window.

Do you or your employees work from home? What are some of your work from home tips or routines? Share them with us in the comments section below. 

wake up

1. Set up a routine.

Just like you have a work-day routine (you wake up, check email, brush teeth, etc., right?), you should have a routine for when you are working from home. This will help you keep a schedule. And while some might think that you can work from anywhere, in reality, you wouldn’t want to take an important call with a client while at a little league game, would you?  

2. Wake up, sleepyhead!

It’s great that you don’t have to be stuck in traffic for an hour before getting to your office. But, as Fast Company recommends, you can sleep a bit later past your commute time, but make sure you’re ready to go on email by 9am sharp, or the time that usually start if you were in your office.

schedule

3. Dress for success.

Sure no one is going to see your rubber ducky pajamas, but part of your “let’s get things done” motivation is rooted in what you’re wearing. I’m no psychologist, but Fast Company insists that working in your pajamas isn’t good. You have to prep your mind for work by first prepping your body.

4. Keep your schedule.

OK, so you’re up bright and early and then keep working until late, late at night. That’s not good either. You should set a schedule of when you’re going to be online and when you’re shutting down the computer. It’s important that the lines between workplace and home aren’t blurred even further.

couch

5. The couch isn’t your office.

Designate a room in your house as your office and set up your workstation, so that you’re free from distractions. That’s another reason why your couch, possibly in front of the TV, can’t be your office.

6. Take breaks.

Just like you should keep your schedule, you should also take breaks. It’s not healthy to work straight through all hours of the day. Take a lunch break or go for a quick walk.

communicate

7. Eliminate distractions.

It’s cool that your pets or kids are around, but hiring a babysitter to take care of the kids and not picking up friends’ phone calls are good ideas to keep to your work schedule. After all, you are working; it’s not you day off.

8. Communicate with your team.

You’re not entirely off the grid, so keep in touch with colleagues at work via the usual channels, like email and phone, throughout the day.

See also:

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How advisors can sell without being pushy