By Jack Stevens of OKA Direct
Working from home is an increasingly popular choice for many people. It may be that you have other responsibilities such as kids or elderly parents to look after, want to save time and money on commuting or just want more flexibility. According to a new infographic from OKA Direct, 30 million people across the US work from home at least once a week, and experts are expecting this to rise by 63% by 2018.
With today’s technology – notably the rise of the internet, allowing us to share and send documents, talk for free and hold virtual meetings – we no longer always need to be in the same place, and this has opened up a whole new world of possibilities to the modern day workforce.
The Benefits of Working from Home
Working from home offers a whole array of benefits for both the worker and the business as a whole. Productivity can drop by 66% due to office noise, and there is a considerable drop in employee absence amongst those who work from home. It gives workers greater flexibility in the hours that they work, allowing for childcare or other duties, and allows them to work at the time that is best for them – as well as saving time and money from the dreaded commute.
How to Improve Productivity
To be super-productive when you are working from home, you need to consider your work environment. Whilst some people might work better whilst sitting in bed with a cup of coffee balanced on your knee, the likelihood is that you could be being more productive – and not run the risk of pouring coffee all over yourself. The good news is that you don’t have to build your own home office – just create a space which is optimised as a great working atmosphere, which promotes productivity.
- Sit Properly – It’s surprising how many people don’t know what the best position to be sitting is. You should ideally be sitting at a desk or table with your chair height so that your feet are flat on the ground and that your lower back is supported. Your elbows should be at a 90°-120° angle and close to your body. If you don’t sit properly, you will not only find that you can’t work so productively now, but you can also cause muscle and back problems in the future.
- Your Screen – Your computer screen should be at eye level or just below. Try to keep it an arm’s length away to avoid straining your eyes. The difference between having a 24” widescreen and an 18” screen in terms of productivity can be up to 76 days of work, so if you really value your time, it’s worth the investment.
- Decoration – Whilst we’re not saying that you should re-decorate your entire house, it is worth noting that wall color can have a profound effect on your productivity. Choose blues and greens for more productivity and yellows for creativity.
- Atmosphere – Although there is research to suggest that office noise can be counter-productive, there is also research to suggest that background music can increase productivity by 6.3%. It is also important that your work area is really well lit, and even the temperature can make a difference – the best being between 70° – 73°F.
- Rest and Breaks – Productivity is about helping you to be the best you can be. The amount of sleep you’ve had, how many breaks you take – when and for how long also plays a part, and even how often you are checking your social media! A 40 minute nap can increase alertness by 34%, and regular 2 minute breaks can increase productivity by an average of 11.15%.
Working from home can offer a whole range of new opportunities for workers and businesses, providing that the environment is one which promotes getting work done quickly and effectively. By ensuring that you are super productive when working from home, it can be prove to be a transformative choice for everyone involved.