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How to enhance productivity when working from home

In the past few years, a growing number of companies have decided to offer workplace flexibility programs, which can include having the option of telecommuting, otherwise known as working from home, a coffee shop or city park. The concept of a workspace is changing as technology continues to make advancements.

According to the results from an Ipsos/Reuters poll in 2012, approximately one in five workers from around the world, particularly in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, telecommute regularly and about 10 percent of workers complete their daily office tasks from home each day.

In addition, workers have transitioned into a career of freelancing. ODesk and Elance are two freelance websites that have a combined six million users globally who compete for and complete an array of jobs, such as copywriting, editing, graphic design, marketing and much more. It has been estimated by Intuit that by the year 2020 40 percent of Americans will be freelancers.

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo Inc. CEO, made headlines when she announced that the company was ending its work-from-home policy, a practice that has been adopted by big technology firms. Since then, she has largely defended her decision by explaining that individuals are “more collaborative and innovative when they're together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.”

Of course, working from home isn’t for everyone, which many people do concede. Whether it’s the television distracting you from the task at hand or the telephone continues to ring off the hook, deciding to work from the comfort of your sofa, chair or backyard can be rather difficult – not to mention feelings of isolation.

On the other hand, an individual that telecommutes can experience a burnout because it could be hard to maintain a work-life balance when you’re attempting to complete a wide variety of tasks in an allotted number of hours. A lot of freelancers earn a living based on production rather than an hourly wage that is generally offered at a conventional office.

If you already work from home or you are considering of making that transition, how can you improve your productivity without any supervision from a manager, colleague or superior? Here are five simple tips to employ to make sure your work from home experience is a productive, fun and rewarding one.

Routine & Objectives

Working from home doesn’t mean to wake up whenever you want, start work whenever you want and just browse the Internet, do laundry and watch television for six hours. Doing your job at home requires discipline and daily routine of eight hours. Just like any other job, start work at 9 a.m., schedule a one-hour lunch break at noon and resume your duties until 5 p.m. (hours can be adjusted to meet certain life expectations).

Furthermore, it would be wise to write down a list of what needs to get completed throughout the day. This way, you will avoid getting sidetracked and missing out on certain projects and tasks, which could potentially upset the client or your boss.

To ensure that the schedule and work are followed and completed, write both down on a scheduler placed next to your workstation.


Instead of working on your laptop on the sofa in front of the television or on the kitchen table near the fridge, establish your very own workspace and workstation. Although your home isn’t the office, creating your own professional work area can enhance productivity and improve the experience entirely.

“Being productive when working from home is a direct result of being organized," said Marc Ruel, Home Office Expert at Brother Canada, in a news release. "The right workspace is essential. Your home office does not need to be decked out with all of the latest bells and whistles, but it does need to be properly equipped and carefully planned. Most important, people who work from home must treat their home office like it's their real office - no pyjamas, no folded laundry, and no distractions."

Good Breaks

Indeed, it can definitely be easy to lose track in your work, but breaks are important. No, don’t spend your allocated break time staring at the computer or television screen. Rather than sitting down during your break, venture outside and breathe fresh air, stretch your bones and allow your mind to become blank. Movement and a new environment, even only briefly, can permit things to flow with ease.

On a side note, there have been many articles published as of late that say yoga is the best form of exercise to perform during a 15-minute break.

Business Attire

Sure you’re not dressing to impress or following an office dress code. However, wearing your pajamas that you had on in bed the night before while you’re getting your work done isn’t necessarily the best attire to sport. You may not need to wear a suit or a tuxedo, but wearing casual attire (pants, dress shirt, socks and shoes) helps.

A Different Environment

If you’re feeling those 2:30 blues then it might be wise to pack up your things and head to a different environment. If not then it’s possible those 2:30 blues could turn into a long nap at home. Think about heading to a coffee shop, library, park or a cafeteria for friendly public noise and a different site.

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