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With major advancements in communication technology, many employees and entrepreneurs are opting to work from home at least some of the time. In fact, according to CNBC, 70 percent of people globally worked remotely at least once a week in 2018. And why shouldn’t they? They save gas and time by not commuting, plus they get to work more on their own terms.
If you’re considering the prospect of working from home (or just knocking out some digital chores), here are five tips to make sure you stay productive and feeling good in your home office.
Not so comfortable that you fall asleep, but we all know how miserable an uncomfortable office chair can be. By working at home, you have the opportunity to completely build your own environment. That means finding the right furniture for you.
If you’re looking for a high-quality office chair, an underrated place to look is gaming chairs, which were built for long hours of sitting. However, a high-quality chair from your local furniture store would likely also do the trick.
Or, maybe instead of sitting all day, you prefer to stand. Luckily, there is an abundance of standing desks available for your choosing, many of which are easily adjustable so you can alternate between sitting and standing.
In addition to ergonomics, you also want to think about how to decorate your home office. For example, having plants in your office can actually help reduce stress and improve productivity. If you can, try to choose a room that has lots of natural lighting, which can help you stay healthy, concentrated, and even sleep better at night.
However you want to set up your home office, it’s important that you do what’s most comfortable for you.
Limit Distractions…But Not Too Much
If you’re going to be working from home, you may have to deal with more distractions than you would in the office, especially if you have pets or family moving around the house. Because of this, it’s important you try to limit distractions, not letting your eyes wander to the television or Facebook. After all, you may be the only one keeping yourself accountable.
If you have people in the home who could be distracting, make sure you choose an office space that has a door, possibly in a more remote part of the home, rather than working in common spaces. It’s a good idea to also ask your friends and family members to respect your work hours.
At the same time, you will need breaks from time to time, so don’t be afraid to keep distractions at hand, but out of sight. If you know that you struggle with concentration without someone looking over your shoulder, there are a number of apps you could try that help promote focus and productivity.
Secure Your Devices
Now that you are in charge of your own office, you may also be in charge of making sure that it is secure. Namely, you want to make sure you have proper cybersecurity measures in place. This will help you keep peace of mind while you’re working, but also ensure you’re not derailed by cybercriminals or unexpected computer failures.
First and foremost, you want to make sure your devices and data are protected with a consumer antivirus (AV) or endpoint protection. If your company consists only of you or you are working remotely from your personal computer, a consumer AV may be right for you. However, if your company has a few employees and you need to manage multiple endpoints, a business endpoint solution is a better option.
Regardless of which solution is right for you, it’s important to remember that all security products are not created equal. The top antivirus and endpoint protection products are cloud-based, have a small digital footprint—meaning they won’t slow down your computer—are actively protecting against known and never-before-seen threats, and are able to reverse any damage that occurs if your device is compromised.
Another measure you should consider is backing up your data. While this can be done using a physical external hard drive, they can also be compromised when plugged in. The best option is using a cloud-based backup and recovery service.
Ransomware attacks alone increased over 350 percent in 2017 and have since become more sophisticated, targeting larger victims including government organizations. Given that, protecting your devices and your data is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity.
We all know how cluttered a desk can get. Depending on your job, you may have papers strewn about, multiple desktops, or a pile of sticky notes in shorthand you can no longer quite decipher. But a cluttered environment can lead to a cluttered mind.
In fact, Lynne Gilberg, a professional organizer in Los Angeles, CA told WebMD, “Clutter is bad for your physical and mental health…A lot of people express that they are overwhelmed. They become nonfunctional and nonproductive.” It’s important to keep your area organized and tidy to be more productive and creative in the long run.
Plus, remember that this is still your home, and you may not want your family or guests to consider your office an eyesore. If you’re ever overwhelmed by chaos in your home office, here are some tips for helping clean up your work area.
Separate Personal and Professional
When working from home, it’s easy to blur the lines between your personal and professional lives. However, it is important that you resist this tendency to blend the two. Thinking too much about work at the dinner table can disconnect you from family and friends. And managing day-to-day family tasks while on the clock can hurt productivity.
You may want to establish strict working hours to help keep your two home lives separate. Let’s say from 8-5 you concentrate on work and then, after five p.m., you concentrate on your family, friends, and anything else that may need to get done around the home.
Looking to build a more complete, detailed schedule? The New York Times highlighted some tips for building a work-from-home schedule that will help you stay on task and stay productive.
Some Final Tips for Your Home Office
- Consider getting exercise equipment for short breaks. Things like resistance bands, small weights, or even a treadmill can help keep your blood flowing on a long work day.
- Stock up on supplies. You’ll still need pens, paper, and other work supplies in your home office. Make sure you are always stocked.
- Dress for work. Just because you have the option to work in your underwear, doesn’t mean you should.