As enviable as working from home may sound, it’s not all comfy-clothes-wearing, coffee-in-bed-sipping, shutting-down-work-early fun and games. In fact, studies show that remote workers often log longer hours and report higher levels of stress than their office-going counterparts. Ouuuchhh. If you know, you know.
While you get to forgo the time-eating distractions of well-meaning coworkers, water cooler chats and unnecessary meetings with a work-from-home arrangement, working for yourself or as part of a remote team comes with its own unique set of perks and challenges.
Whether you’re home office curious or already deep in the digital domain, we’re sharing five tips to optimize your work hours and stay productive while working from home.
All work and creativity needs a container. Set a routine for yourself, and stick to it. If you know you’re more productive in the mornings, start your workday early, but then be sure to log off at a reasonable hour and don’t bring your computer back out after dinner. Likewise, enforce some structure for yourself (no tv, cough cough) and for others (just because you work from home, doesn’t mean you’re always readily available to answer every text or email as it comes through). Try keeping your phone on airplane mode while working on the day’s priorities, if you can swing it.
What we put on influences how we act. Tempting as a top-knot and sweats may be, getting dressed for the day can make you feel more determined to get your work done. Dress for the day you want and slip into an #OOTD that makes you feel equal parts empowered, professional and comfortable.
Working from bed can confuse your brain, leaving you groggy during work hours or wired when it’s actually time to sleep. Opt for an ergonomic desk and chair situation, keep your desk clutter-free and diffuse productivity-enhancing peppermint and lemon essential oils.
It’s beyond easy to lose time while switching between tasks. Context switching is one of the worst productivity destroyers of the work day! Did you know it takes an average of 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted? Yikes. Use time batching in your favor to block out chunks of time when you plan to group together similar tasks (this should include email responses, conference calls, creative flow time and even scheduled breaks!).
Even a brief lunch break out of the house can make a world of a difference to your work-flow. Head outside daily for an energizing walk with your favorite motivational podcasts, or bring your lunch to the park for a picnic with a side of earthing. Be sure to schedule in some much-needed coffee dates with friends or other professionals in your field to make up for lost in-office social interaction and reinvigorate your long-term goals.