Working from home has become one of major main-stream practices of the 21st century. Millions of people worldwide prefer to shift from office to a more habitual environment where they can relax and enjoy the moment.
There are so many reasons why people prefer to work remotely. Working from home gives more flexibility to young parents who don’t want to miss the precious moment of watching their kids saying the first word or making their first steps. Some creative personalities simply cannot adjust to the set working schedule – some are more proactive in the morning hours, while others prefer brainstorming at night. Finally, we can all get ill and do some work from home.
According to the study of the economic professor Nicholas Bloom and the cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip James Liang, employees working from home are not only happier and less likely to quit, but are also more productive than the staff who came into office. As part of their experiment, they divided all volunteer workers into two groups – those who worked from home and those who remained in the office during nine months. At the end of the mentioned period of time, they compared survey responses and the performance data, and concluded that the remote employees are no less productive than those who work from office (home working showed a 13% performance increase). So, maybe sometimes it’s better to give staff the freedom to choose as to where to work from?
By writing this post we by no means insist that all of the recommendations listed below should fit every remote worker. Opinions differ and each person should decide on his/her own how to organize the working area or schedule perfectly in order to feel comfortable and manage all work in time. We offer for your consideration the most common tips on how to work productively outside the office.
Manage the working environment
When you work from home it’s important to know what makes you motivated and inspired, what makes you more focused on the things you do, and gives you more self control. Some people prefer imitating the office environment at home while organizing the desk and everything around just the way it was in place where they worked full-time. For others a table and a desk are enough. Just make sure that everything around is well organized. If your work area is easy on the eye, you will feel more confident, work better and faster.
What kind of work do you do? Are you a marketing specialist who needs to sit at the computer all day long, typing loads of information non-stop? Or maybe you are a customer service rep who needs to assist shoppers over the phone? In both cases it’s important that nothing and nobody distracts you from work during the working hours. If you spend the whole day typing, get a comfortable chair and think about the setup that will be kind to your back and wrists. If you spend the whole day talking over the phone, organizing the working area in the kitchen surrounded by kids is not a good idea. If you don’t know what your perfect work environment is, then do a little bit of testing. Spend one day in the relaxed home atmosphere, another- at a cafe, etc. and compare your level of productivity.
When working from home it’s important to not only eliminate distractions caused by family members or room-mates, but also organize your workflow in a way that you forget about checking out the news feed on the popular social networks. The latter are known as the biggest distracters. However, banning social media sites isn’t a way out as well. From time to time, you need to take a break and relax. Either if you just sit staring through the window and dreaming or look through the updates in Facebook or Twitter – if this doesn’t absorb you for the whole day, then it can happen to be.
Other distractions that you can face at home include TV or radio, mobile apps, phone calls (if it’s not part of your job), etc. The easiest way to eliminate such distractions is to remove them from view. Thus, you will be less likely to give in to temptation of turning on the TV or running your favorite game.
Plan your day
Why doesn’t the classic 9-to-5 schedule always work? The answer is simple. For most of people, this isn’t the perfect time frame when they are productive the most. Early birds or night owls -the aspect of choosing the perfect time for work is very personal. Some people prefer to wake up early, do their job and spend the rest of the day busy with other tasks. Others prefer working in the afternoon or late at night, when they have more inspiration. If you do not know what’s your best time frame, once again do a little bit of testing. Try to work from early morning till evening one day. Next time – shift for the later hours and check when you were the most active and productive.
Take a break
This is another important aspect of the effective time-management. When you work for 8 hours per day without a break, chances are that you will show poorer results than if you rewarded yourself with a break. According to the Pomodoro Technique, people have a better concentration over the short periods of time. The time when one can work effectively varies by individual. Some people need to work for a couple of hours in the morning, then take a 30 minute break for coffee and spend the rest of the day doing the habitual tasks and showing good results, while others need to break the working time frame into two or more parts and use the breaks for managing distractions.
Remember your goal
This point motivates the most. Any work gets rewarded with the salary. Do you need money for pay for bills? Or maybe you have a long-lasting goal of collecting a certain sum of money for a vacation? No matter why you work, you should always remember that you are an employee and you should be respectful to the company that has hired you and the team members that also rely heavily on your productivity. The only difference between office and remote workers is the place where they do their job. The rest of their responsibilities remain the same, so just staying online from 9-to-5 and doing nothing will not bring any good results. Be honest and respectful, and success will follow.
Now it’s your time to speak up. Do you prefer working in the office or at home. If you are a remote worker, what other tips of being more productive do you know? Can the same rules be applied to office staff? You are welcome to share your thoughts with us below this post.