tips for productive working from home

7 Tips to Be More Productive When Working From Home

As COVID-19 forces 1.5 billion people worldwide to stay home, remote work has swiftly become the new normal. However, the transition from office to home can be disorienting, and many people are struggling to concentrate or stay productive.

That said, a 2015 study actually showed that employees who work from home take fewer breaks, less time off, and are more productive. The hardest learning curve is knowing how to create the optimal conditions to focus, and how to separate personal from professional while at home.

Here are seven useful tips to be more productive when working from home.

1. Curate your space

Tailoring a workstation to your preferences is one of the easiest ways to promote better productivity. Research shows that elements like bright lighting can make you happier, ambient sounds can help you focus, the color blue facilitates feelings of calmness and stability, while poor air quality can lead to a drop in productivity. 

Elsewhere, a report by Wired UK indicates that plants could spark a 15 percent boost in productivity – so don’t be afraid to bring nature into your home office.

2. Make a routine

Waking up at a reasonable time, taking breaks, eating lunch, and finishing at a set hour allows you to mentally switch on and off throughout the day.

Along with preventing you from falling into unproductive habits, repetitive routines help reduce anxiety, save valuable brain space, and encourage good time-keeping. According to physician, Indumathi Bendi, “carrying out routine activities reduces stress by making the situation appear more controllable and predictable” – which can ease the sense of claustrophobia during quarantine.

3. Drink plenty of water

COVID-19 means that health is especially important right now. Staying hydrated helps physical functions like digestion, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and the maintenance of your body temperature. Even slight dehydration has a noticeable effect on your brain function – leading to headaches or altering your mood.

Doctors recommend drinking two liters of water a day (more if you’re active or in a hot climate), so try to make a habit of regularly getting up to get a glass of water for your desk (also a great excuse to stretch your legs).

4. Embrace being alone

It’s easy to view being alone and trapped indoors in a negative light – but quarantine can assemble the right conditions for you to discover new creative capabilities.

Studies demonstrate that social withdrawal is positively linked to creativity. In fact, two hours of silence a day prompts cell development in the hippocampus – the brain region related to the formation of memory.

Set aside time by yourself to explore opportunities for personal growth. Pay attention to how you can structure your own pathways, determine your value, and control how your projects or roles will evolve in the future. 

5. Pay attention to your posture

Posture is essential to productivity. You can’t think clearly if you’re uncomfortable or in pain. 

A general rule of thumb professional designers use for their workstations is to allow at least 60” (150 cm) in width and 84” (210 cm) in depth, so to have space for work materials and to sit properly. 

Invest in furniture and ergonomic supports that are practical; for example, a standing desk, a laptop stand, or a footrest can do wonders for your posture. 

6. Limit distractions

Setting boundaries is key to remain productive in an environment you’re not accustomed to being productive in. Communicate with your family, house mates or neighbors when your working hours are and politely explain that you won’t be available during those times. 

When you do allow yourself breaks, have a book, instrument, workout or game handy to devote your attention to rather than social media or television. 

7. Make the most of technology

Digital tools are making remote work tasks smoother, more efficient, and in some cases, produce better results than in the office. Research virtual private networks (VPNs), cloud software, and project management, collaboration, and teleconferencing technology that can help you with your daily duties. 

Once you get to grips with online solutions, you’ll find your productivity significantly boosts, plus you’ll be more prepared for the possibility of remote work becoming the new norm.