Working from home can lead to increased productivity, if you work smarter.
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And that could be a blessing for many companies in the near future. Workplaces across the country have begun mandating employees work from home during the coronavirus pandemic as U.S. officials attempt to thwart the spread of the pneumonia-causing virus.
The change in scenery from working at an office desk versus your couch could actually lead to increased engagement and productivity, studies show.
Employees clocking in remotely tend to work longer hours than their typical office shift, according to a 2017 study by British researchers at the University of Cardiff in the United Kingdom.
Indeed, researchers surveyed more than 15,000 workers and discovered that those who worked from their homes were likely to work more than the normal workday, putting in more effort than needed. They also found remote employees had a harder time disengaging from their jobs.
Here are tips on how to maximize your time and energy while working from home:
DO: Create a routine
Set a schedule with all of the tasks you need to get done for the day, and set time limits on each to complete them that way you’re on track to finish the day on time.
While it’s easy to get sidetracked at home with distractions like the TV and kids because of recent school closures, time management experts suggest setting a “treat” for yourself at the end of the day to work towards. That can be a tasty snack or permission to binge-watch a show on Netflix.
“The idea here is to open your day with a task and end your day with a complimentary task,” Rachelle Isip, a New York-based time management expert told MarketWatch.
DON’T: Work from your bed
While your bed may be the most comfortable part of your home, it’s strongly advised that you don’t make a habit of doing work there.
Researchers say that when people bring work materials or laptops into their sleep environment, it weakens the mental association between work and bedtime.
“Keeping computers, TVs and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep,” according to researchers from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard.
That means that workers will have a more difficult time transitioning from work mode to sleep mode.
It’s a hard habit to break however, considering 80 percent of employees, particularly young professionals admit they’ve worked from bed.
DO: Stand up
Make your dining room table or kitchen countertop into a makeshift standing desk for part of the day or even a few minutes.
Studies show that standing up while you work can increase focus and productivity. A study from Texas A&M University’s Health and Science Center School of Public Health reported by the Washington Post observed 167 workers using standing desks and found they were more productive than their colleagues in stationary seating. Those who stood up at work had 23 percent more successful calls than colleagues who sat at a desk all day, and within six months the standers had 53 percent more successful calls.
And you can burn calories while doing it. Standing up for three hours burns an extra 24 calories.
DON'T: Let social media sidetrack you
It's tempting to have tabs open from Twitter, Facebok and Instagram on your personal computer, however, social media can prolong your workday if you let it.
Employees agree that social media is an attention killer. A survey found that 75 percent of Americans said that social media ruined their focus and increased procrastination.