Remote work AKA work from home (WFH) has greatly altered people’s work and professional lives. The circumstances resulting from the pandemic forced individuals to stay at home to decrease the spread of the disease, rendering working at the office a dangerous practice.
But first, what exactly is “work from home”? Researchers have defined WFH as the digital transformation of the workplace setting from a physical office into a home setting or personal space. This arrangement allows for alternative ways of working in terms of balancing hours, saving up on commutes, and accommodating certain circumstances, such as the case of the global pandemic.
But with the fear from the pandemic significantly dialing down, and peoples’ lives leaning back to normalcy, the work-from-home phenomenon is still lingering around. Why you might ask? That is because working from home has opened a frontier of benefits that both employees and employers enjoyed alike.
Benefits of working from home
Apart from the main importance and function of WFH which is the physical health security of the communities, it is coupled with numerous benefits that will likely have WFH sticking around a lot longer than expected.
Contrary to popular assumption, especially from the perspective of executives, WFH is not always necessarily coupled with poor performance and productivity. A study found that employees working from home do not experience what is known as the “cake in the break room”, referring to the distracting nature of the office. It was found that one-third of the productivity increase was due to having quieter work environments, and the other two-thirds was due to taking shorter breaks and working more due to avoiding commuting and experiencing fewer sick days.
Another contributing factor to the increased productivity of working from home was a noticeable increase in job satisfaction. When high levels of job satisfaction and gratitude are prevalent in a person’s outlook on their job, it increases their happiness and productivity, which usually results from the autonomy and liberty WFH can provide the employees.
Furthermore, many remote jobs tend to have flexible schedules, allowing employees to start when they want and end the day when they want, and adjust working hours and schedules accordingly to their needs.
These points overall contribute to a desired work-life balance, which if maintained satisfactorily, can lead to higher loyalty and retention rates.
What the stats say
The above benefits are further supported by statistics that generally shed a positive light on the reality of working from home.
A study discovered that 71% of remote workers were happy with their jobs, while 55% of office workers were satisfied with their jobs.
When it comes to the perception of working from home, 73% had a positive sentiment toward it, while only 27% had a negative outlook toward it.
And finally, as much as 77% of people reported feeling more productive when working from home in comparison to working in an office setting.
Therefore, observing the trend of the statistics and the benefits working from home has to offer, one can conclude to a certain extent that working from home is a practice that is generally liked, and desired and comes with a bevy of benefits. That being said, how can you make sure you do so productively to ensure you sustain good performance and do not compromise work quality?
How to work from home productively
Treat the beginning of a workday as if you are going to an office
When you work in an office, tasks like brewing a cup of coffee, making a quick breakfast, and going on your commute mentally preps you that you are about to start working. The situation is quite different when the journey is simply from your laptop to your desk which is a 5-second walk. Nonetheless, you want to apply the same mentality that preps you for work.
Do not go to your work desk wearing your pajamas. Do not go straight from your bed to your work desk either. Make sure you do apply a sort of routine that you practice consistently. Brew a cup of coffee, make that nice quick breakfast, and make sure to change your sleeping clothes to another set of clothes to have the placebo effect of you “actually” going to work.
Failure to do so makes your morning sluggish and most importantly blurs the barriers between work time and home time, which brings about the below second point.
Designate a location in your home just for work
It is important to designate an area in your home for work. Ever since remote working became a trend, and as positive as it can be, one downside to it is the blurring of the barrier between work and home as they are now both in the same place. When you leave an office you feel like you left it because you physically did, but that is not the case in a home setting.
It can be as simple as having a room for work if you have the space for it. If not, it can be as simple as having a chair for work at your desk, and another chair for entertainment and Netflix. It can be a stowaway table in a corner, or a removable desk that you pack when work is done. Whatever works for you, go for it, so long as you allow yourself the experience of somehow detaching from work when office time is over.
Whether you are living with your family, friends, or alone, you need to make sure to cut out distractions while you are working. As mentioned previously, the ideal setting is to allocate one room for work. If you are unable to, then inform those whom you live with that during a specific set of hours, you are not to be disturbed and they should not intrude on you.
If you’re living alone, social media can be a productivity blocker as it is very tempting to check it out, especially with no one around to monitor you and check up on you. To avoid that, place your phone in a separate space completely while you are working and turn notifications off, or activate Do Not Disturb mode.
Plan your workflow for the day
One way to ensure your efficiency when working from home is to plan out your day before commencing with it. An important factor in succeeding as a remote worker is to have a strong sense of autonomy. To do so, you need to be smart about planning your work day.
Set the challenging tasks that need to be prioritized at the start of the day, or at a time when your energy is at its prime. Provide a rough estimate for how long each of your tasks will take and spread them out for your day reasonably to get a good overview of how your day will look like.
Use the Pomodoro technique to make sure you stay focused for significant periods and take breaks when necessary to make sure your energy levels and time are used well and resourcefully. One tip to efficiently create goals is to apply the SMART goals method which generates goals that can be achieved and are created with precision and practicality.
Habits to stick to
Adapt a healthy routine
For the sake of the longevity of any life practice, it must be eventually coupled with a sustained healthy routine that allows the practice to become a sustainable one. You must preserve your health when you are working from home, especially given that most remote jobs are desk jobs that require a lot of sitting down and thus lack mobility. That can be detrimental in the long run.
Make sure to exercise regularly to ensure a healthy amount of blood flow and circulation into your system. If you struggle to have time for working out, seek exercises that are achievable within short time frames — it could be a simple walk around the park or a quick stress-relieving swim!
Make sure to also get sufficient sleep which is the body’s ultimate healing and recharging mechanism, especially in the context of productivity, sleep is vital for its sustenance.
And finally, it goes without saying that your food choices play an impactful role on your energy levels and thus your productivity, so make sure you opt for natural, non-processed foods and avoid junk foods and those high in sugar which deplete your energy and put you at high risk of a plethora of other diseases.
Summing things up, working from home has become a rising trend that opened up a whole new frontier in the professional domain, and it is one that left a significant and eye-opening impact, so much so that it still lingers around even after its purpose has been met. If done correctly, working from home can be a very productive and efficient way to go about your working life as well as achieve a good and healthy work-life balance, which should after all be your ultimatum in life. Remember work to live, not live to work.
If you would like to take your reading on working from home further, visit the Personal Productivity Science Labs. Using the research of the Institute for Life Management Science, the lab produces tools and resources such as courses, certifications, podcasts, videos and many more. Check out Personal Productivity Science Labs today.
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