The question of efficiency when working from home has been the subject of much debate in recent years. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, when huge swathes of the global population switched to working remotely overnight, employers, policymakers, and workers themselves have spent much time weighing in on the subject of work from home efficiency.
However, research published in January 2023 by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) provides a compelling answer. In fact, the time savings of working from home are so significant that the NBER believes it equates to 2.2% of after-tax earnings in countries with demographics similar to the United States.
In this article, we’ll explore the NBER’s findings to understand some of the ways that working remotely affects efficiency and productivity.
Remote Work Efficiency: 72 Minutes Per Day Saved
Published in January 2023, the NBER’s report titled “Time Savings When Working From Home” attempted to quantify the time savings of working from home for individuals living in 27 different countries.
The NBER estimates that work from home saved around two hours per week per worker in 2021 and 2022, and that after the pandemic ended, this figure still remains somewhere around one hour per week, per worker.
In addition to this, the NBER study found that workers allocated 40% of saved time towards work, and around 11% of the time to caregiving activities such as childcare. The study also found that those living with children allocate more of their time savings to caregiving than those who do not live with children.
The average remote worker included in the survey saves an incredible 72 minutes per day, when compared to their office-based counterparts. This demonstrates the power of work from home efficiency — and is one of the many reasons why the remote revolution continues to gather pace around the world.
How to Maximize Work From Home Efficiency
While working from home has its benefits, it can also present a host of productivity challenges. To ensure that you are making the most of your work from home experience, here are 10 tips on how to maximize work from home efficiency:
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is separating your work life from your personal life. Creating a dedicated workspace can help with this separation and create a professional environment that helps you focus on work. Choose a quiet area in your home where you can set up your computer, desk, and other work-related items. Make sure that your workspace is comfortable and well-lit, with minimal distractions.
2. Stick to a Schedule
Working from home can blur the lines between work and personal life, making it easy to lose track of time. Setting a schedule for yourself can help you stay on task and ensure that you're maximizing your productivity. Create a routine that works for you and stick to it, setting aside specific times for work, breaks, and personal time.
3. Dress for success
While it might be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, dressing in work-appropriate attire can help you feel more professional and productive. You don't need to dress up in a suit, but putting on clean, comfortable clothes can help you feel more focused and ready to tackle your workday.
4. Minimize Distractions
Working from home can present a host of distractions, from the television to household chores. Eliminating these distractions can help you stay focused on your work and improve your productivity. Turn off the television, silence your phone, and close any unnecessary tabs on your computer. If you're easily distracted by household chores, schedule them for after work hours.
5. Take Regular Breaks
While it might seem counterintuitive, taking breaks throughout the day can actually help improve your productivity. Stepping away from your work for a few minutes can help you refocus and recharge, improving your concentration and creativity. Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch, go for a walk, or simply take a few deep breaths.
6. Set Healthy Boundaries
Working from home can make it difficult to separate work from personal time, making it easy to fall into the trap of working around the clock. Setting boundaries for yourself and your work can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and maximize your productivity. Create clear guidelines for when you will be working and when you will be off the clock, and stick to them.
7. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology can be a powerful tool for maximizing productivity when working from home. Use tools like video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management software to stay connected with your team and stay on top of your work. But, also make sure that you don't get bogged down by the constant stream of notifications and distractions.
8. Stay Organized
Keeping your workspace organized and clutter-free can help you stay focused and productive. Make sure that your files, documents, and other work-related items are well-organized and easily accessible. Use tools like calendars, to-do lists, and task managers to help you stay on top of your work and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
9. Stay connected with your team
Working from home can be isolating, but it doesn't have to be. Staying connected with your team can help you feel more engaged and productive, and can help you avoid feeling disconnected from your work. Use video conferencing, instant messaging, and other communication tools to stay in touch with your team and collaborate on projects.
10. Prioritize Self-Care
Finally, don't forget to prioritize self-care when working from home. Taking care of yourself
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