Did you know that, on the average day, 8 million people in the U.S. work remotely? That’s 5.2% of the population.
During the COVID crisis, the number of people working from home may be ten- or twenty-fold greater than the usual figure. But is working in pajamas from the comfort of your home actually productive?
Sure, it’s easy to get distracted by disgruntled pets or your roommate’s blaring music. But studies show that working from home actually increases productivity. Here’s why:
When you work from home, you have more control over your schedule. If you’re tackling a long-term project, you can dig into it at your own pace. What matters is that you finish by the deadline.
If you work on a team, it’s important to indicate those preferences on your calendar. Some people work better at the last minute, while others prefer to work ahead. Use time-blocking to tell your team when you’ll be working on each project.
Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Big brother looking over your shoulder all the time makes most people self-conscious.
While working remote, take advantage of your independence. You don’t have to report to the office, so you can get started working earlier. Your work space can be as messy or as clean as you like. You don’t even have to work at a desk.
Most importantly, working from home allows you to take breaks on your schedule. Try the Pomodoro Technique. With this technique, you focus intently on one task for 25 minutes or so, followed by a 5 minute break.
3. No commute
You know what it’s like to wake up late: You grab the clothes nearest to you and throw them on. You run out of the house with coffee in hand, heading for a 45 minute commute. By the time you get to work, you realize you forgot your lunch. There’s another half hour gone to find food out.
When you work from home, there’s no commute. All your food is but a room away. And working a little late isn’t a big deal because there’s no rush hour traffic to worry about.
When you save time, you can work on new projects and further your career. Take a free HubSpot course on content marketing. Learn how to code. Read a book on personal development.
4. More free time
When you work from home, you have more free time. People who have more free time tend to be happier, and happy people are more productive.
Try scheduling a little fun in the middle of the work day. Watch a TV show, take a walk, or exercise during your lunch break.
If you decide to try time blocking, it’s important to block out your entire day. Relaxation and family time are important, too. Blocking out your entire day might look like this:
5–6 a.m.: Morning routine
6–7 a.m.: Eat breakfast
7–7:30 a.m.: Email & social media
7:30–9 a.m.: Deep work
9–9:30 a.m.: Break
9–10 a.m.: Conference call meeting
10 a.m.–Noon: Lunch and exercise
Noon–1 p.m.: Lunch
1–1:30 p.m.: Email
1:30–2:30 p.m.: Remote team meeting
2:30–3:30 p.m.: Available for phone calls
3:30–4 p.m.: Email
4–5 p.m.: Personal development
5–9 p.m.: Quality time with friends & family
9–10 p.m.: Wind down for bed
5. No Office Distractions
With remote work, you can say goodbye to office distractions. You don’t have to worry about your deskmate asking you every question under the sun when a deadline is looming. Your work friend won’t randomly stop by to chat. You won’t freak out when the break room is out of your favorite coffee.
Fewer distractions means more productivity. But it’s still important to be an effective remote team member.
- Keeping up to date with company culture
- Looking into coworking memberships
- Keeping communication simple
- Complimenting your coworkers
- Keeping information security front of mind
Not every worker is more productive while remote, but many are. It’s all about choices: Choose to use saved time to better yourself. Keep distractions out of your home office. Enjoy — but be responsible with — your flexibility and independence.