When you first started working from home, you probably felt great. There were no distractions from coworkers, and your productivity skyrocketed. But if you’re like most remote workers, the dynamic probably changed over time.
“When the line between home and work gets blurred, things can get a little complicated,” writes the editor of Entrepreneur.com in an article titled Working from Home Is Hard Work. “There are several obstacles that make working from home more difficult than it seems at first, and it actually requires a lot of discipline to make sure you’re staying at the top of your game when you’re not in an office.”
Regaining your productivity is possible, but it will require some changes, particularly to your home office. For improved productivity and a stronger work ethic, try some of these tips.
1. Apply Ergonomics
Contrary to popular corporate belief, comfort and productivity go hand in hand. Many office designers mistakenly believe that more uncomfortable workspaces will keep employees alert and attentive, but it will actually distract them more. Furniture that’s comfortable and functional is vital to a productive office space.
Ergonomics in the office is also essential for your health. About 90 percent of Americans report experiencing back pain, and 50 percent report back problems every year because of their jobs. Sitting hunched over at an uncomfortable desk can lead to pain and illness, significantly diminishing your productivity.
2. Set the Right Temperature
A lot of people don’t realize that temperature has a huge impact on your overall productivity. Setting the temperature too hot or cold can make it tough to accomplish work.
In a study at Cornell University, researchers observed the productivity within an insurance office. They noted the impact of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning on employee performance and found that when it was too cold, workers made more errors and increased their labor costs by 10 percent. A warmer environment reduced typing errors by 44 percent and increased typing output by 150 percent.
“The results of our study suggest [that] raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour,” Cornell professor Alan Hedge said in a news statement. In other words, productivity was much better at a higher temperature.
Seventy-four degrees is a good temperature. Even if you have to apply some creative initiatives for saving money on your HVAC costs this year, the increased productivity will be well worth your efforts.
3. Use Natural Light
One study from Northwestern University in Chicago discovered significantly lower productivity for office employees who worked in rooms without windows when compared to office workers who worked in rooms with them.
“The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable,” Ivy Cheung, a Neuroscience doctoral candidate and study co-author at Northwestern University said to Psychology Today. “Day-shift office workers’ quality of life and sleep may be improved via emphasis on light exposure and lighting levels in current offices as well as in the design of future offices.”
Even though you left the corporate scene to pursue your own goals, you’ve probably kept some bad habits. “A lot of people kind of reflexively put [their desks] right up against the wall in the darkest corner of the room,” Linda Varone, author of The Smarter Home Office told Fast Company. “What they’ve inadvertently done is recreated the corporate cubicle.” Because your home office reminds you of your cubicle, you’re more likely to fall into that rut.
Moving your desk near a window can make a world of difference. Natural light benefits your mental and physical well-being, including reducing your chances of succumbing to stress, depression, and anxiety.
4. Create Physical and Emotional Barriers
It’s challenging not to mix work with your personal life. However, successful remote workers master the art of mentally shutting out the distractions of family and other personal matters.
According to Bob Higgins, co-designer of Linknotize, working from home requires a designated office space.
“It’s critical to commute out of the bedroom to a dedicated workspace that separates work from personal space,” he commented to Business News Daily. “Once you’ve commuted to your workspace, treat your day as if you’ve actually left the house. In addition to having a dedicated work area, it is also really important to keep at least one space in the house as a business-free zone.”
this physical barrier, it will be easier to develop
mental and emotional fences to separate your personal life. It takes
time and discipline to develop these barriers, but it’s not beyond your reach.
After you’ve implemented some essential changes and embraced your new, more productive life, you’ll be
amazed at the influence it has on your workplace performan