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Lifestyle Management

Tips on How to be Productive Working From Home —Backed by Research

Chances are you’re still working from home. An October 2020 Gallup survey found that 33 percent of U.S. workers are always working remotely and 25 percent sometimes work remotely. While the ability to earn a paycheck from the safety of home is a privilege, it can come with its own set of issues. Here are some research-backed tips to help you make the most out of working from home.

Start with Breakfast 

Research has shown that something as simple as starting your day off with breakfast can lead to better short-term memory and energy. A study found that “high energy intake from breakfast had a beneficial effect on immediate recall in short-term memory.” The study also found that high caloric food impaired concentration. An article published by Harvard Health Publishing suggests including grains, protein, and fruits and vegetables into your breakfast. 

Set Daily Goals

Take a moment to reattach to work in the mornings. Detaching from work after hours is important, especially while working from home. But it can also be beneficial to consciously reattach to work according to a study published in the Journal of Management. The study found that actively reattaching to work before starting work helps set the tone for the day through identifying tasks and available job resources which can enable high work engagement. Take a look through your to-do list and decide what your goals are for the day. As a manager or leader of an organization, encourage your employees to take time to think about their goals. 

Dress for the Job

While it can be tempting to slide into your favorite pair of pajamas while working from home, that added comfort could come at the cost of your full productivity. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that clothing influences the wearer’s psychological process.

Fifty-eight undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: wearing a lab coat vs. not wearing a lab coat. In one case, participants in the wearing-a-lab-coat condition made approximately half as many errors as participants in the not-wearing-a-lab-coat condition. The research showed that wearing specific clothing and performing the tasks associated with the clothing led to more attentiveness in participants. 

Minimize Multitasking 

Switching between tasks can actually negatively affect your productivity. A Stanford study found that chronic multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability, which can be attributed to the inability to filter out interference from the irrelevant task set. To maximize productivity, avoid the temptation of responding to emails during Zoom calls or switching between multiple devices. 

While working from home, it’s important to consider your mental and physical health. You don’t have to implement these tips all at once but incorporating some of these tips daily could make your work from home experience more productive and enjoyable. 

Looking for some more advice? We asked 10 founders for their best WFH tips.

About the author

Thalia Plata

Thalia Plata, is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with minors in history and political science from Emerson College. Originally from North Carolina, Thalia loves exploring Boston and the New England area, practicing her cooking skills, and reading long-form journalism pieces.
Contact: thalia_plata@emerson.edu

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