Better at: working from home – 5 easy tricks to boost your mood and productivity

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The global pandemic brought with it a new way of working – from home! And that trend is expected to continue. In a survey of CFOs by Gartner Inc. 74 percent of companies said they plan to allow employees to work remotely after the pandemic.

Working from home certainly has its perks (PJs! comfy couches!). But it also brings many challenges. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best tips and tricks to make those days a little easier and a lot more productive. Let’s start with your environment, shall we?

Think about your environment

One key to a productive day? Keep your home at a moderate temperature. A study from Cornell University found that temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit lead to more errors and lower productivity. So try to aim for a temperature between 68 and 77 degrees.

You’ll also want to get into natural light, which can improve mood and performance and help you get a good night’s sleep — crucial for sharp focus the next day. A study of the Ergonomics International Journal found that working in natural light can actually reduce sleepiness by 56 percent. Translation: Put that desk next to the window.

Even better, take your work outside and enjoy all the benefits of the great outdoors. Dealing with multiple monitors? A portable monitor can help bring the dual screen experience anywhere.

Minimize distraction

Whether it’s the neighbor’s barking dog or the lure of a lovely flat screen TV just a few feet away, distraction is inevitable when you’re working from home – leading to a loss of time during the day. A 2008 University of California report found that it took participants an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to work after a break.

So how do you stay focused? A great noise canceling headphones can certainly help. Also useful: turn off notifications and block time to check emails. This way you are not constantly distracted by incoming mail, which entails a lot of time wasted.

Setting aside time for concentrated work can help you stay on track throughout the day. (Photo: Getty Images)

Schedule easy tasks for later in the day

Use your body’s natural rhythm to get the most out of your workday. Circadian rhythms vary from person to person, but most people follow a similar pattern. In a nutshell, we are most awake and alert just before noon, and we lose energy in the 3pm slump we know all too well.

So do the tasks that require the most brainpower before lunch and schedule mundane chores for later in the day.

Perfect your posture

Nothing says WFH like good old back pain. Ergonomics is key to correct posture, so be aware that you should sit 18 to 24 inches away from your monitor, with your line of sight at the top of the screen or just below it. To ensure just the right height, try a monitor riser.

To relieve the aches and pains that come from sitting all day, opt for a acupressure mat – devotees say it can help with back pain and even headaches.

Take a break

Set aside time during the day to do something other than work. Research shows that taking breaks can actually improve your productivity.

Sneak in some exercise too – a Harvard study reports that moving your body can boost creativity, sharpen memory and improve concentration. So go ahead, plan a sweat session for lunch. On days when you’re too busy, even walking around the block on a conference call will reap the rewards.

Ok, enough with all that reading… back to work!

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