Are people more productive working from home? After a large part of the world’s workforce went remote in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much debate over whether working from home is more or less productive than working in an office. Some people prefer a dynamic office environment with proximity to colleagues, while others would rather have the efficiency of independent remote work.
Research has found mixed results on work-from-home productivity. A 2021 survey found that 60% of people working from home reported being more productive than they’d expected to be. After working from home for a while, many people develop strategies to maintain focus and keep up with the daily workload. However, remote work carries a number of unique factors that can impact your ability to concentrate which can leave you wondering “How can I work from home productively?”
Many of the challenges people face while working from home can also impact health and well-being, including:
- Pain or discomfort from extended sitting
- Distractions, multitasking and busy households
- Fatigue and insufficient sleep
- Lack of exercise or snacking too frequently
- Excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption
Whether you’re new to working from home or you’ve recently found it difficult to get work done remotely, it’s important to consider how the above factors may be contributing to your lack of focus.
Finding ways to make your home workspace more productive and comfortable can help you enjoy the time you spend working remotely. Try the following tips to boost your concentration, prevent fatigue and increase overall well-being while you work from home.
Tip #1: Take Movement Breaks
If you find it difficult to concentrate while working from home, it may be due to a lack of movement. Physical activity doesn’t just benefit the cardiovascular system, but it’s great for brain health as well.
Studies show that exercise is correlated with improved cognitive performance, with some researchers saying it impacts parts of the brain associated with mood and attention. Even short sessions of exercise have been shown to boost concentration for up to an hour afterward.
Physical activity also increases blood flow, sending more oxygen-rich blood to the brain, which helps improve energy levels.
Whenever you find your focus waning while you work, consider taking a short exercise break. Go for a brisk walk around the house or do a few yoga poses. The quick burst of movement can help refocus your attention so you can get back to another session of deep work. You can even set a timer to remind yourself to move every 90 minutes or so to help sustain your productivity.
Tip #2: Recharge With Mindfulness
Throughout the day, the body’s energy reserves naturally fluctuate. Stress is one of the top contributors to fatigue and reduced concentration, and it can impact how energized you feel at certain points in the day. If you tend to experience stressful moments at work, try taking time to rebalance yourself with a stress-relief break.
According to the Mayo Clinic, taking a relaxation break is a top way to manage stress at work and protect your productivity.
Mindfulness meditation is a proven method of reducing stress in a matter of a few minutes. The American Psychological Association recommends taking a few mindfulness breaks throughout the day to help reduce stress. Not only does mindfulness counteract workday tension, but it has also been shown to boost focus and improve attention span.
Before returning to work at the end of your lunch break, close your eyes for a few minutes, practice some deep breathing or listen to a guided meditation.
Tip #3: Use Your Commute Time for Self-Care
Working from home has many pros and cons, but one of the top advantages is not having to commute. While working from home, use the time you would have otherwise spent commuting for some self-care you’ve been neglecting.
Self-care routines are great ways to begin and end your workday. Take half an hour before and after work to practice some mind-body restoration with activities like:
- Planning your day or week to stay organized and help manage stress
- Journaling or writing about your personal goals and gratitudes
- Stretching, exercising or going for a run
- Eating a healthy home-cooked breakfast
- Reading a book or listening to music
Add self-care regimens, like the above, to your work-from-home wellness toolkit. Include a variety of strategies that help reduce stress, refuel the body and prevent sickness and burnout.
Try practicing a few different self-care routines to help you maintain your focus and productivity throughout the workweek.
Tip #4: Prevent Pain and Fatigue With Ergonomic Equipment
One of the common barriers to high productivity at work is chronic pain from poor posture. Sedentary work, such as sitting at a desk all day, can impact your physical well-being by causing tension and pain throughout the spine.
Neck, back and sciatica pain can make it difficult to concentrate and enjoy your workday.
Additionally, poor sitting posture can decrease circulation, causing you to feel fatigued and unable to concentrate. Many desk workers also develop chronic headaches from poor spinal alignment that strains the muscles at the base of the head.
When working from home, it’s important to invest in ergonomic office furniture that promotes a neutral sitting posture. Memory foam seat cushions can also correct pressure issues. By encouraging proper spinal alignment, you can relieve pressure from the low back and prevent painful slouching.
Learn more about posture-enhancing office solutions from Relax The Back, including desk chairs, adjustable standing desks and other ergonomic cockpit accessories.
Tip #5: Set Office Hours and Work in Bursts
If you find it tough to maintain a work-life balance when working from home, consider setting boundaries with your time. Setting consistent office hours for your workday can help you stay focused in the face of distractions. It also limits the amount of time you have to get work done, which can help you make better use of your office hours.
If your work allows for it, establish your office hours around peak times when you know you’ll be most productive. Some people are highly energized in the mornings while others need time to ease into the day. Find a schedule that works for you and stick with it.
In addition to giving yourself a consistent workday schedule, you can also boost your productivity and conserve energy by working in bursts of focus.
Try working in blocks of 45-90 minutes, with 5 to 15-minute breaks in between. This productivity method allows you to maintain high levels of focus, getting more done in less time while preserving your mental well-being.
Tip #6: Work Near Natural Lighting
Making small shifts to your home working environment may help improve your ability to concentrate. One easy adjustment to make is to move your desk closer to a window to increase your exposure to natural lighting.
Research has found that the more natural light people are exposed to during the workday, the better they’re able to sleep that night.
High-quality sleep is essential to cognitive performance, and getting deep, restorative rest can help you stay focused and productive. In addition to improving sleep quality, sun exposure is also known to improve mood, which can increase your enjoyment while you work.
By moving your desk closer to a window, you can also welcome in some fresh air by cracking the window whenever you start to feel your focus fading. Studies have found that air quality in working environments plays a crucial role in productivity and well-being. The combination of fresh air and sunlight can help create a healthier home office space.
Discover Work-From-Home Wellness at Relax The Back
Stay focused working from home and make it more comfortable and productive with help from Relax The Back. We carry a wide selection of total-body wellness solutions for the home, office and beyond, helping you feel your best no matter where you are.
At Relax The Back, you’ll find everything you need to improve your focus, productivity and wellness while you work from home, including:
- Ergonomic office chairs for proper sitting posture
- Massage cushions for relaxation and wellness breaks
- Inversion tables to decompress the spine and reverse the effects of sitting
- Zero-gravity chairs to unwind and recharge at the end of the workday
Relax The Back wellness specialists can help you find custom solutions for your home workspace. Work with one of our wellness specialists today by visiting a store location near you. Or book a virtual appointment and get a personalized wellness consultation over Zoom.