A few years ago, people would likely turn up their noses if you explained that you work from home. Those who have been doing this remote work thing for a long time have heard all the assumptions about not making enough money, barely working, and so on. As it turns out, remote workers seem to be getting the last laugh.
According to a Gallup poll, 31% of people work from home five days a week, and 43% reported working from home some of the time. Sounds great, right?
Well, yes and no. The good news is more people are working from home than ever before, and studies suggest this has multiple benefits for both employees and employers. The bad news is that our homes tend to have many more distractions than a traditional office. Here are seven productivity hacks to make working from home more manageable.
1. Get a desk plant.
You might be wondering how a plant would make you more productive, but let's look at the facts.
According to NASA, plants can improve the air quality around you by up to 60%. If you can breathe easier, your work productivity is sure to improve.
But the good news doesn't stop there. Plants in your home office space have been cited as improving productivity by up to 15%. So, a desk plan doesn't sound like such a weird idea after all, does it?
2. Put your shoes on.
We know, not wearing your shoes because you work from home is awesome. However, putting on shoes when you start working can supercharge your productivity.
Putting on your shoes right before work puts you in a routine mindset. It helps you differentiate between work mode and relaxation mode. You know that as soon as you kick your shoes off at the end of the day, you're done, but when you put them on, it's time to get to work.
3. Learn to "turn off" work.
At first glance, this may seem counterproductive. However, the opposite is true. When you work from home, you may find yourself getting in the habit of checking the company messaging app, work email or daily website traffic statistics.
You may feel that this makes you an overachiever, and you would be right – kind of. While you're technically working far more than you should, you're digging into your free time and home life. As a result, your brain never learns to turn off work, and it becomes something you do when you have some extra time. A vital part of working from home is learning to turn off your work brain at the end of the day. This will help you stay more productive when it counts.
4. Drink more water.
A study revealed that a 1% drop in hydration can cause a 12% loss in productivity. Alarmed? Check this out: A 3-4% drop in hydration can lead to a staggering 50% loss in productivity.
Couple that with the fact that being hydrated is important for your vital functions, including metabolism, and it's easy to see why you need water to be a great worker.
5. Follow the rule of three.
The rule of three is a simple way to make yourself more productive. At the end of each workday, write down three things that you want to accomplish the next day. The idea is that you'll then start each workday with a prioritized list of tasks to tackle.
This hack takes some discipline and a pocket notebook. We suggest using an actual notebook and writing down your goals at the end of your workday, because it reinforces the tasks and will help you stay organized.
If you have a list of three things such as checking your social media stats, looking into new web design products and sending out an email to your audience, check the items off as you complete them for a sense of accomplishment and to help you redirect your focus to the next task on your list.
6. Check your thermostat.
Most offices and homes are freezing because some people keep their air conditioners running constantly, thinking that it's more comfortable. But a study revealed that offices below 70 degrees typically have employees who are less productive and more likely to make simple mistakes. The best temperature for your home office was found to be between 73 and 77 degrees.
7. Create an "I'll get to that later" document.
How many times have you started working only to get distracted by new ideas or other items that you realize need to go on your to-do list?
To prevent this distraction, create a document that's basically your dumping zone for all the ideas that pop up throughout the day. That way, you can jot down your ideas and thoughts on this list and get back to work.
Though these productivity hacks may be simple and even a little weird, they can actually improve your productivity. So, get that desk plant, drink more water, put your shoes on, and get down to business!