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News, tips, and advice for small business owners

4 Ways to Increase Work From Home Productivity

Posted On
Stephanie Davis

Working from home certainly has its benefits – flexibility, saving time by not commuting, and increased work/life balance, to name a few.

A man working at home at his kitchen table while his children sit there and wife is cooking in the background.

However, achieving that work/life balance, particularly when working from home, is often easier said than done. Things can get complicated when you are trying to manage your small business from your home and still be present for your family and friends. 

To make sure that you are effectively managing that balancing act between family time and work, consider incorporating these steps into your work from home routine:

Switch out of the PJs 

As tempting as it is to lounge around and work in your comfiest clothes (or stay in your pajamas), studies have shown that people who ditch the pajamas or yoga pants for actual clothes tend to be more productive. Staying in your pajamas can make your mind and body think that it’s time for bed, which won’t increase your productivity. If you spend a lot of time making phone calls, these studies also suggest that dressing up or throwing on a “power outfit” will put you in a better space to have those conversations. The added benefit of dressing up at home? If a last minute video conference or in-person meeting pops up, you won’t be delayed or unable to attend because you have to shower or get dressed.

Carve out a designated space for your work

It might be tempting to set up shop in bed, on your couch, or at your breakfast bar, but having a designated workspace to do your work is important. It gives you a structured area to focus on managing your business and draws a visual boundary for family, friends, and roommates that when you are in that place, you are working. By having this sense of structure, it will be easier to avoid distractions that can creep into your work. Create a functional area that works for your business needs. Before you start panicking because you are not a part of a Chip and Joanna Gaines design dream team, look at these tips from Carrie Smith Nicholson who organized her home office on a budget. A designated workspace can make you more productive because you are in an area where you can focus just on your work, not all of the other little things that pop up in your home.

Stick to a routine

To kick off your day, you might have your coffee while watching the news or workout before evaluating your to-do list. Whatever your preferred morning routine is, stick to it and start your day the same every day. By having an established routine, you will likely see your productivity levels increase and have an easier time getting tasks complete. When you’re working from home, it could also be helpful to have a routine that gets you on track to enjoy your night and decompress from work. Since you are working from home, you can’t leave your work at the office, so it’s important to develop and commit to a routine that has defined start and end times, to mimic the natural cadence of an office work day and allow you to have time for your life. Without a commuting break, you may even want to find ways to unwind before you start spending time with your friends and family, whether that’s changing into non-work clothes, getting in a workout, listening to a quick podcast, or reading the news.

Make time for your family, friends, and hobbies

While working from home can be great for your productivity, it may not be as beneficial to your mental health. One of the biggest problems people face when working from home is loneliness. To combat loneliness, it’s important to keep other areas of your life active. Some examples include planning a weekly lunch date with a friend, signing up for a workout class, and scheduling happy hours with groups of friends. If you have remote employees, try to set up a time to meet up together for some team bonding activities, or try to incorporate more video calls. This article on work from home loneliness from NBC News provides some other great tips to keep you working productively, but less lonely.

Bottom Line

At its core, working from home is meant to deliver the flexibility your schedule needs. Without commuting rules, or worrying about leaving work for a doctor’s appointment, or picking the kids up from school, you can create a routine that suits you as a small business owner. Finding that sweet spot between work and home will fuel more success and productivity in both aspects of your life and ultimately make you happier across the board.

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