INSIDE: Want to know how to be productive working from home? These tips will teach you how to improve your productivity so that working from home is for efficient.
By Jack Stevens of OKA Direct
As the Covid 19 pandemic closed offices, more and more people joined the ranks of remote workers. Almost twice as many employees are now working from home as at work, according to Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom.
Even before the pandemic, working from home was an increasingly popular choice for many people. Some remote employees or independent contractors had other responsibilities, such as kids or elderly parents to look after, while others wanted to save time and money on commuting or just wanted more flexibility.
According to research compiled by OKA Direct, 30 million people across the U.S. worked from home at least once a week in 2015, and experts expected that number to rise dramatically. Working from home will likely remain a big trend even after the pandemic has passed.
With today's technology – notably the internet, apps and platforms that allow us to share and send documents and hold virtual meetings – office workers no longer need to be in the same place. This has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the modern day workforce and for knowing how to be productive working from home.
The benefits of working from home
Working from home offers an array of benefits for both the remote employee and the employer. A flexible work option increases the employee's work life balance and builds employee morale, as 79% of U.S. workers said in the OKA Direct research that they would like to work from home at least some of the time.
Fifty-nine percent of office workers thought working from home was as productive as or more productive than working in the office. Office noise, which can cause a 66% drop in productivity, is reduced or eliminated with home work.
There is a considerable drop in employee absence among those who work from home, and 46% of employers thought remote work reduces attrition. Remote work gives workers greater flexibility in the hours they work, allowing for child care or other duties, and it allows them to work at the time that's best for them – as well as saving time and money from the dreaded commute.
How to improve productivity working from home
To be super-productive when you're working from home, you need to consider your work environment. While some people might think they work well sitting in bed with a cup of coffee balanced on one knee, the likelihood is that they could be more productive – and not run the risk of pouring coffee all over themselves.
It's surprising how many people don't know the proper posture for sitting while working. You should ideally sit at a desk or table with your chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your lower back is supported.
Your elbows should be at a 90°-120° angle and close to your body. If you have bad posture, you'll not only find that you can't work as productively now, but you can also cause muscle and back problems in the future.
It may sound silly but one of the simplest work from home tips to improve productivity has to do with your computer screen. It should be at eye level or just below for the best viewing angle. Try to keep the computer monitor an arm's length away from you to avoid eye strain.
The difference between having a 24″ widescreen and an 18″ standard screen can be huge in terms of employee productivity, so if you really value your time, the larger screen is worth the investment. Using dual monitors also improves productivity, by 20% to 30%, according to a survey by Jon Peddie Research.
While we're not saying you should redecorate your entire house, it's worth noting that wall color and office decor can have a profound effect on your productivity. White, gray and beige are the least productive colors for your work environment. Choose blues and greens for more productivity and yellows for creativity. Blue also has a calming effect and improves focus.
Although there is research to suggest that office noise can be counterproductive, there is also research to suggest that background music can increase productivity by 6.3%.
It's also important that your work area be really well lit. Increasing lighting levels with a powerful desk lamp can improve productivity and task performance. And even the temperature of your work environment can make a difference – the best being between 70° and 73°F.
Rest and breaks
Productivity is about helping you be the best you can be. While 29% of employees fall asleep or get very sleepy at the office, remote workers get 16% more sleep than usual.
The number of regular breaks you take during the work day also plays a part in productivity, as does how often you check your social media. In addition to a lunch break, a 40-minute nap can increase your alertness by 34%, and regular two-minute breaks during working hours can increase the productivity of a remote worker by an average of 11.15%.
Taking microbreaks (30 seconds to five minutes) can increase mental acuity by an average of 13%. And a 15-second break taken every 10 minutes reduces fatigue by 50%.
Final thoughts about how to be productive working from home
Working from home can offer a whole range of opportunities for workers and businesses, provided the home work environment is one that promotes getting work done quickly and effectively. By ensuring that you're super productive when working from home, it can be prove to be a transformative move for everyone involved.