Remote work has been growing in popularity in recent years. Currently, more than 4 million people work from home in the U.S. at least half of the time, and that number has increased more than 40 percent in the past five years.
The benefits of working from home for employees seem obvious-less time and money spent on commuting, home-cooked meals instead of take-out, and the ability to complete home-based tasks during the workday, like laundry or signing for deliveries. Flexibility improves work-life balance for workers, but it comes with substantial benefits for employers as well.
As many businesses and governments around the world shift to remote work for the next few weeks, here is how businesses and employees can be successful working from home.
How to be productive at home
With all the modern comforts of home beckoning for our attention, it would be understandable if employers saw a dip in productivity, yet the opposite is true. According to the Airtasker study, telecommuters “worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year” than people who worked in an office.
However, researchers also found that working from home can be more stressful than working at the office. Approximately 29% of telecommuting respondents said they had a hard time maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Just 23% of office workers reported the same struggle.
In addition, 54% of remote workers and 49% of office workers said they felt “overly stressed during the workday,” 45% of remote workers and 42% of office workers “experienced high levels of anxiety during the workday,” and 37% of remote workers and 35% of office workers said they “procrastinated on a task until its deadline.”
To help your team stay focused and efficient during this work-from-home phase while combating stress and maintaining work-life balance, here are some tips to help you out.
Stick to a set schedule & create a routine
Once your workspace is ready, establish a consistent routine. Sure, one of the benefits of working from home is being able to work whenever you want, but that doesn’t mean you should. You can work in offices for rent. Having a structured schedule helps boost productivity. It also makes it a whole lot easier to keep your work and personal time separate.
Notice during what times of day you’re the most productive and build your schedule based on that. There’s no need to force yourself to become a morning person if you’re feeling more productive at night.
Develop a schedule based on the types of work you do, and where your clients or coworkers are located. If you work for a company in your time zone, plan your work day around their business hours. On the other hand, if you are a freelancer working for clients in various time zones and countries, you may need to plan shorter blocks of times throughout the day rather than one large 8-hour chunk.