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With a variety of improved business communication platforms available and the advent of the 2020 global virus pandemic, more companies are allowing employees to work from home. Office culture is now embracing remote work as the preferred method of conducting business and future trends show the population of workers working from home will increase significantly into the 2020s.

Aside from your dog cutting you off on your way down the stairs, your new daily commute to work is no longer a frustrating grind. What’s not to like about that? Employees that are able to work remotely are able to have a more flexible way of life, save money, are more productive, and have higher job satisfaction. Employers are also able to save on leasing smaller office spaces, cleaning costs, kitchen snacks, utilities and have much better employee retention rates. Remote work does, however, require a higher level of discipline in order to be efficient, productive and not wear you down. Here are five tips for optimizing work performance at home.

1. Maintain a Morning Routine

While it sounds nice to be able to stay in your pajamas all day, it can mentally block you from working effectively. It also blurs the lines between work life and home life. You do not have to dress as formally as you normally would for going in to work but you should still dress in a professional manner to switch your brain into work mode. Putting on some makeup or shaving before sitting down to work helps your mind transition into your professional form.

If you used to have a daily morning commute, consider using that time saved to exercise to get some endorphins flowing to feel good and resolve any restlessness. This will help you to be more productive and improve your mental well-being.

2. Maintain a Normal Work Schedule

Set a timer on your phone or use a time and attendance software program like HomeBase to “clock in” and “clock-out” as you normally would. This will allow you to define clearly when you are working and when it is time to relax. Take the breaks you normally would do while at the office. Maintaining some form of a routine is vital for an effective work structure.

3. Create a “Work-Only” Space

Convert a spare room into a home office or dedicate a corner/nook of your home to being your workspace. Entering a space designated for work procedures indicates to your mind that it’s time to get to business. If you sprawl out your job all over your house, you will never be able to adequately disconnect or decompress from work, leading to burn-out.

4. Maintain a Social Life

If you are working from home, chances are you are much more socially isolated than when you were when working in the office. Normal work banter and small talk is an essential part of making work not feel like a spirit-crushing grind. Collaborate with your work colleagues on a schedule to check-in with one another, or have a daily virtual morning scrum on an application like Zoom to maintain healthy communications in the workplace. You can also set up lunch break virtual dates with friends or colleagues to keep yourself social and for a chance to get out of the house which is important for maintaining good mental health.

5. Stay on Task and Disciplined

When working from home, it can be easy to get distracted or start doing the things you normally would do while at home. Save running errands in town, online shopping, or vacuuming the floors for when you are not working. When your break or lunchtime is up, close all your social media, video streaming services, and other distracting browsers/devices to stay focused.

Staying at home to work can be a blessing for overall well-being and productivity if you are up for the task of developing a disciplined mind and a solid routine. Put these tips into action today and enjoy the many benefits of remote work.