Are employees more productive working from home or in an office space? While this question is highly debatable, a lot of people choose to work from home. There are myriad benefits to working from home – zero time spent commuting, freedom to make your own schedule, saving money on travel and food and working in your pajamas.
In fact, a study published in the Harvard Business Review found that employees who followed the same office schedule at home were more productive than when they followed it at the office.
Although there is a slew of advantages to working from home (like working in your pajamas!), there is no denying that home workers have to dodge a number of distractions every day. Like that nosy neighbor that keeps popping by or your adorable dog who keeps begging for food and play or that friend who won’t stop inviting you for a little afternoon happy hour at a nearby bar. It happens.
In order to stave off these distractions and maximize productivity, here are six super useful tips to ensure you get work done pronto:
Have a Dedicated and Quiet Home Office
This might seem obvious to many jobholders, but having a dedicated home office space is imperative. Find a quiet corner in your home that can serve as an office space. It should ideally be away from a place guests frequent – like the living room. Make it clear to friends and family that this is a place where you will work.
Speaking of having a dedicated home office, make sure to make it one where you love working. If possible, invest in an ergonomically designed chair. Your home office should also have a window to let the sunshine in. Several studies have linked the addition of plants to boosting workplace happiness and productivity. Plus, it’s soothing to look at a bunch of plants and colourful flowers when you’re stressed about meeting a deadline.
Set Boundaries with Friends and Family
This tip for enhancing productivity at your home office might be easier said than done, but it has to be done. Make it clear to your happy hour loving friend, that pesky neighbour and family members that when you’re working, you’re working. In fact, let them know your work hours so that they don’t disturb you during that time. Better yet, disconnect your phone and don’t answer the door unless it’s an emergency.
Have a Set Routine
It’s tempting to embrace flexible work hours when you’re in your pajamas all day with no boss breathing down your neck. However, if you want to maximise your productivity level at home, it’s important to have a set routine in place and strictly adhere to it. Otherwise, you risk barely making deadlines and going to bed with unfinished tasks that you planned to do during the day.
Always start your day by creating a to-do list. Not only will this list keep your mind focused but checking off some items in the first half of the day will give you a sense of accomplishment. That feeling of accomplishment will keep you motivated for the rest of the day.
Invest in Computer Accessories That You Need
Treat your home office like a regular office. Don’t be afraid to splurge a little and buy some much-needed computer accessories. For example, if you work long hours, get an anti-glare screen for your laptop or desktop. If you’re a writer, purchase a keyboard and mouse to make typing easier. If you really need something and you know you will use it periodically for work, then buy it.
Time Your Breaks – and Take Them Frequently
It might seem counterproductive, but taking regular breaks improves productivity. However, the important point to note here is to time your breaks. It’s tempting to increase your break time – stay on Facebook a bit longer, watch one more YouTube video or set another high score on a game even if it takes longer than anticipated. But you must stick to your allotted break time and get back to work once time’s up.
Speaking of breaks, instead of consuming social media and playing video games, try to use your free time to exercise, take a walk or play with your dog. Many studies have shown a direct connection between exercise and improved productivity.
Change your Home Office’s Lighting and Colour
Believe it or not, your home office’s environment plays an instrumental role in increasing your productivity. Having a well-lit office, especially one that lets natural light in, can improve your mood and work output. Similarly, your home office’s colour scheme is also important. For example, blue and green colors are ideal for an office setting because they produce calming effects on mood. If you don’t like that glaring orange colour above your desk, just paint over it.
So there you have it – six tried and tested tips to maximise your productivity in your home office. You should also try finding things that make you, specifically, productive. Some people find listening to relaxing music while brainstorming very helpful. Others find sipping some green tea on the porch a good way to come up with fresh ideas. Find what works for you and do it.
Andrea Boffo is CEO of PlusVoucherCode, a website that provides discount codes to save money on online purchases.