Working from home sure does come with benefits and it’s a trend becoming much more common in the United States. Thirty-seven percent of American workers reported telecommuting as opposed to just 9 percent in 1995, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. What’s more, 58 percent of Americans said they didn’t feel working from home had a negative affect on a workers’ productivity. But, for some, it may be just as much of a distraction as it is a perk. Stay on track with five expert work from home tips.
Change out of sleepwear
Staying in pajamas often comes hand in hand with working from home, but experts say it’s important to break that habit. “[Changing clothes] makes you feel like you’re actually working instead of lounging and I think your brain kind of automatically makes you feel like you’re at work and you tend to be a little more serious about it,” said Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton, the owner and founder of the productivity consulting and professional organizing service, Organizing Maniacs. Researchers agree. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology shows that what a person wears does affect “psychological processes.” In one experiment, for example, “selective attention” increased once participants wore a lab coat.
Print a schedule
Writing out the tasks of the day is a great way to make sure everything gets done. Sgrott-Wheedleton recommended printing a schedule on colored paper (she currently uses a bright pink). Aside from helping you stay motivated, this paper is also easy to find. “It’s staring at you in the face; it doesn’t blend in with the piles of paper as you’re working.”
Find your space
Big or small, having a designated work area at home makes it easier to switch into business mode. Same goes for work supplies. “Don’t share them with the rest of the household because otherwise they aren’t going to be there when you want them,” said productivity expert Cathy Sexton, who developed I.G.N.I.T.E., a program helping individuals stay productive, focused and organized.
Forget the chores
Ignore those dirty dishes and that load of laundry. Simple chores like these interfere with work productivity. In fact, multitasking tends to have a negative effect on performance, according to research from Stanford University published in 2009. “I [always] tell people not to do any chores that are not related to your work when you’re at home because you can get so easily distracted,” said Sgrott-Wheedleton. Instead, focus solely on what you’d be doing if you were physically in an office.
Make your hours known
Working from home sometimes gets misconstrued. It’s important to let family and friends know your schedule and the times they shouldn’t bug you regardless of the fact that you’re home. “They take you out of context of being at work so having boundaries around all that is really, really crucial,” said Sexton.