A study by Stanford University found that people who worked from home were more productive than the ones who reported to the office daily.
“The frequency of working from home has been rising rapidly in the U.S. and Europe, but there is uncertainty and skepticism over the effectiveness of this, highlighted by phrases like “shirking from home”. We report the results of the first randomized experiment on working from home, run in a 16,000 employee, NASDAQ-listed Chinese firm, CTrip. Employees who volunteered to work from home were randomized by even/odd birth-date into a treatment group who worked from home four days a week for nine months and a control group who were in the office all five days of the work week. We found a highly significant 13% increase in performance from home-working, of which 9% was from working more minutes of their shift period (fewer breaks and sick days) and 4% from higher performance per minute. We found no negative spillovers onto workers who stayed in the office. Home workers also reported substantially higher work satisfaction and psychological attitude scores, and their job attrition rates fell by over 50%. Further, when the experiment ended and workers were allowed to choose whether to work at home or in the office, selection effects almost doubled the gains in performance.” (Bloom, Liang, Roberts, Ying, 2012)
Here are a few tips to make the best of your day when working from home.
· Create a detailed to-do-list. You should have end goals in mind but they must be broken down into more manageable steps. “The quickest route to a task you'll actively avoid working on: Make it a vague monstrosity. Put a nonspecific item such as "Clean out the office" on your to-do list, and I guarantee that's the last thing you'll ever start working on. Actually, "Clean out the office" isn't a to-do at all; it's a project. Author of Getting Things Done David Allen says projects are not tasks; projects are collections of tasks. That's an important distinction. Internalize it, because your to-do list is not your project list. Don't add multi-action tasks to it, such as "Clean out the office." Break projects down to smaller, easier-to-tackle subtasks, such as "Purge filing cabinet," "Shred old paperwork," and "Box up unneeded books for library drive." Your Assistant self will ask, "What do you want done?" and when Boss you says, "Clean out the office," that won't get you anywhere.” (Gina Trapani)
· Do your work when you are at your most productive. If you know that you are at your best past noon or any other time, make sure you use that time to work. Schedule meetings and other things for times when you are not as efficient. This way, you take advantage of the focus you have so you can get more done without compromising quality.
· Heed your body’s natural rhythms. There are some people who are early birds while some are night owls. By knowing when you are at your most energetic, you will manage to get more done without exerting too much extra effort. “Are you a lark, someone who likes being up and active in the early morning? Do you do your best work early in the day, and do you wind down in the evenings toward a relatively early bedtime? Or are you a night owl, someone who tends to wake later and perhaps gains energy and focus as the day progresses, someone who likes to work (and play) in the evening hours?” (Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.) Do not force yourself into being one or the other because it is in your genes.