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As technology evolved, it has given us the freedom to work from almost anywhere, and companies are responding with flexible work schedules, sometimes offering hybrid or full-time telecommuting. In fact, according to a report from FlexJobs, an online service devoted to listing telecommuting, flexible schedules, and freelance work opportunities, reported a 36% increase in the number of remote listings from 2014 to 2015—imagine it now. However, this leeway could come with some setbacks, including loss of productivity, making it difficult for people to effectively manage their time. So, we decided to ask some of our G4 telecommuters on some suggestions that help them stay on track.
1. Set it up your way
Make sure to set up a space that you enjoy. However, good lighting, a comfortable chair, quality internet connection, and an office desk are a must. You should also invest in a reliable computer and general office supplies. In an office, most people don’t have the luxury of working by a window, so take advantage of it and enjoy the happiness benefits of natural light. Also, have the wall a soothing paint color; studies have shown that the color of walls in a room can really influence your mood. Create a dedicated space, where you can stay focused and avoid any distractions.
2. Say no to distractors
Speaking of distractions, telecommuters know exactly how that can be. It could be a friend, or family member, that still doesn’t understand that working from home still means—working. Teach yourself to set boundaries, by politely but firmly disengaging, and try not to answer your phone or the door. It’s not easy, but after a while, they will realize that you’re just unavailable during work hours. Outside noises are also a big distractor; play some instrumental music, it can help you tune out of what’s going on outside —as well an excellent tool to help you concentrate.
3. Stay Organized
Working from home and using a personal computer requires extra structure. Usually, telecommuters end up accumulating paper in all the wrong places—especially on top of their desk. An ideal set-up should be equipped with a filling system. Organizing your tasks is also critical to staying productive, construct a to-do list with everything that needs to completed daily, and use a calendar. Your computer, on the other hand, should have collaboration and cloud-based tools, and if you have team members, a communication app is also helpful.
4. Take Breaks
We should all know how important it is to take breaks, especially if you work sitting all day. However, working from home, you’re usually alone, so it’s common for people to be in their productivity zone for too long and forget the power of a simple stretch or a coffee break. Breaks are necessary in order to refocus and reenergize. Choose a time that works best for your schedule, and take a walk around the block, or read a magazine, but —make sure to time it. By doing this, it is not only healthy for your body, but also for your brain.
Nevertheless, try to improve your home office experience and leave it once in a while. Go to a local coffee shop once a week and do some work there. The point is, find a way and atmosphere that makes you feel most productive, and make that your ideal home office.
By: Kimberly Milani
Contributor: Mariana Paranhos
Images: Getty Images