6 Ways Your Home Office Is Hurting Your Productivity

You work from home and this makes you the envy of your friends and family. They imagine that as they endure rain drenched streets thronging with bustling commuters, over crowded trains and buses or the quotidian agony of rush hour, you’re warm and cosy at home. They envisage you sipping coffee and watching daytime TV idly contemplating the prospect of maybe getting some work done and turn green at the gills with envy. Unfortunately, they view your situation through rose tinted glasses. They fail to realize that when you work from home, time is money and that your livelihood depends on your ability to wring every drop of productivity from your every waking hour. Unfortunately, even the hardest working and most organized of us can have trouble mastering the art of staying productive while working from home. Indeed, many of us unknowingly hinder our own progress by making ill informed choices in our home work space. While it’s a rookie error to think that you can be productive from your sofa or your bed, even those of us who take great pains to set up dedicated work spaces in our own homes can make unwitting mistakes that can hinder our productivity.

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Here are some ways in which your home office or workspace may actually be hurting your productivity rather than helping it. Here are some ways in which your working environment may have you at a disadvantage and what you can do about it.

It’s not isolated enough

The home is riddled with distractions that are like a magnet to the creatively frustrated mind or to those who are drawn to procrastination like a moth to the flame. If you’re not careful within a few hours you may have washed all the dishes from breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, made the beds, packed tomorrow’s lunches for the kids and rearranged your sock drawer into color order… But gotten staggeringly little work done. While it’s important that telecommuters don’t become hermits, it’s equally important that their workspace is insulated from the distractions of the home and all who live therein (it’s extremely hard to be productive while following the plot of the movie your partner’s watching in the next room or while your kids rack up body counts on Call of Duty). Your home office should be secluded from the rest of the home and soundproofed if possible. If you have a basement that’s currently only used to store a scant few possessions you’re letting a great opportunity pass you by. Check out www.HelitechOnline.com/waterproofing for advice on how to seal and waterproof your home to transform it from a dark and dank space into a fully functioning room. Even something as simple as a closed door can help you to maintain the necessary psychological barrier between living space and workspace that is necessary for productivity. It’s better still if your office space requires the climbing of a set of stairs to create a sense of transition that will allow you to subconsciously shift from home mode to work mode.

The temperature is wrong

Believe it or not, there is a temperature range for peak productivity. If you’re struggling to focus on your work but are unsure of why then it may be that the temperature is to blame. A 2006 study by Helsinki University of Technology found that workplace productivity peaks between 69.8 and 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (21-22 degrees Celsius). You may not think that the ambient temperature can have much effect on your productivity but in controlled conditions studies showed that typos fell by 44% in this temperature “sweet spot” and that employers saved 42 per worker, per hour in real terms.

The lighting is inadequate

As well as ambient temperature, lighting can also play a large part in productivity. When there is too little of it, productivity tends to suffer. In fact, a study by Phillips showed that raising light levels increased productivity by 8% and reduced accidents by 52%. Likewise, natural light is proven to be more conducive to productivity than its artificial counterpart. Even the colors you put on the walls of your home office can affect your productivity. Most home offices are decorated in neutral whites and grays but there’s evidence to suggest that a more colorful palette can increase alertness and productivity. Blues and greens can help to reduce stress levels while reds and oranges can engender cognitive stimulation.

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There are too many distractions

There’s a place for distraction (we’ll discuss that shortly) but it must be carefully managed and deferred to “break times” in which you allow your brain to take a rest. Your home office must have a strict delineation between work spaces and rest spaces and your work spaces should be completely free of any distractions. Thus, your work computer should be carefully calibrated to help you with your work. Install software to block your access to distracting websites and apps while keeping your phone or tablet in a nearby drawer for down time.

You don’t have a think space

When you work from home, every work day is a marathon rather than a sprint. Trying to run a marathon is impossible if you come out of the gate sprinting and try to maintain that pace. Thus, your brain needs rest periods to recalibrate or you’ll waste valuable time and energy running on empty and getting frustrated. As such your home office should incorporate a “think space” to allow you to take your mind of work and just… think. This area should have comfortable seating, art and motivational posters, music and books. And, hey, if you want to take 5 minutes to play Candy Crush Saga, nobody’s going to judge you! Just make sure you’re back in “work mode” by the time you get back to your desk.

You lack plant power

Whether we’re “outdoorsy” in nature or not, we’re naturally predisposed to be happier and more productive when we’re in close proximity to nature. That’s why so many offices are decorated with lush plants. They’re more than just an aesthetic measure, they’re proven to increase productivity and job satisfaction by up to 15%. If your workspace is looking a little too spartan, it might benefit from the presence of any one of these oxygen giving plants which will thrive indoors and brighten up the room!

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How To Protect Your Small Business When You Work at Home

When you run a small business, it is important that you do everything you can to make sure that you are protected. You also have to make sure that everything runs smoothly so that you can avoid a lawsuit as well. All of this can be incredibly difficult when you have so much to think about on a day to day basis, but with a little bit of help and support, you can give your small business the protection it needs.

Watch what you say

Your business is all about your image and you have to make sure that you avoid making any announcements that may be seen as being questionable. You also have to try and avoid things like slandering your customers and even dealing with other individuals who may be seen as being questionable as well. Of course, if you know that your business is not big enough to be worrying about this then you couldn’t be more wrong. Even the smallest businesses run into issues like this now and again. To avoid stress, you need to make sure that you are focused on how your social media presence could affect you and even how you can change your attitude.

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Hire an Attorney

As a business owner, you need to make sure that you interview an attorney. Even if you don’t think you’ll need one, it’s important to have someone that you can go to when you need advice because if you are being sued then the last thing that you need is to try and hire someone in a hurry. If you are concerned that you can’t afford to hire an attorney right now then think about the expense that you will have to go through when you are actually being sued.

Always Back up Files

A lot of people that work from home don’t think that they have to backup their files and they also believe that they don’t have to spend time worrying about cybercriminals as well. This is not true at all and when you run a small business, you are just as likely to have your details stolen when compared to someone who runs an office down the road. For this reason, if you want to avoid all of this then you have to make sure that your files are protected and that you have copies of absolutely everything. If you want to secure your data with Infrascale then this is more than possible for you to do.

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Don’t Hire Friends or Family

When you run a business, it can be hard for you to turn away friends and family for a job, but it will be even harder for you to turn them away when you have to fire them or even if you cannot afford to pay them one month. For this reason, you have to do everything you can to make sure that you hire people who you know you can trust as well as hiring people who you know have the right experience and the right knowledge to get the job done.

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Back to regular programming.

back to blogging

Compromised. Hacked. Malware carrier. Suspicious site. Dangerous. Threat.

Those are all the words thrown at my blog by various sites due to a malware that entered my blog through the backdoor. According to one of the experts I talked to, there are various ways that a hacker can compromise a site. I am not much of a tech person so I didn’t list everything down anymore but took note of one important thing: regularly change passwords! I’ve been so complacent, not bothering to check my blog as regularly as I used to, and trusting that as long as my chosen password is strong, hard to guess, then everything’s okay. I was wrong.

My site got a malware virus from an attack I didn’t see coming. I was joining blog hops here and there and I am not sure if I got it from that. A few days ago, while joining a blog hop, a member of that group told me that her browser was issuing a warning that my site was compromised and that it posed a threat to her computer security. I checked and there was nothing so I ignored it. Then, another member told me the same thing. I ignored it again because when I checked, everything was normal. The following day, that’s when I began seeing something disturbing from my blog. I checked and that’s when the red warning appeared…

My site was tagged as a malware carrier!

I am not ashamed to tell you that I panicked. Why wouldn’t I? This site is my baby. It’s 10 years old already, turning 11 May of this year. Sasha-says.com is also a source of income for me so losing this site is a big no-no.

So, here’s what I did.

  • I scanned my site for malware. I used Sucuri SiteCheck and Comodo cWatch. Both tools are free. I will write separate entries for both malware removal sites and will tell you what I think about each.
  • I deactivated my site. When I found out that my site actually had malware in it, I deactivated my site by taking down all the posts and erasing everything that Sucuri said had malware or virus in it. I deleted the WordPress installation after saving some important details like the content of the sidebar and the pages. Then I deleted everything.
  • I moved to a new webhost. This is optional especially if you know how to really clean out your cpanel but since I am in such a hurry to bring back my site to its old glory, I bought a new webhosting account. I will also write a separate entry for it. I added this domain there and installed WordPress anew.
  • I submitted my site to Google Search Console Team and asked for a review. It will take a maximum of 72 hours for the review to be completed but mine took less than 24 hours only and I got an email from Google Search Console Team that my site is now clean and no longer poses a threat to its visitors.
  • SS-Google

  • I purchased an SSL Certificate from Comodo. I want to assure this site’s visitors that my site is 100% clean and secure. Again, this is optional but a good blogger-friend of mine advised me that if I want to maintain a good site, I must invest in it.
  • I installed a good anti-spam plugin. I used to have Akismet installed but since it now asks for payment for the use of their plugin, I opted to find an alternative. I found Antispam Bee! I read the reviews and it is the plugin I need. So far, so good. I installed and activated it before I opened this blog again. So far, it has blocked 6 comments meant to hack my css.

I tested this site in different browsers: Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Samsung Internet Browser (through my best friend), and ASUS Internet Browser.

No more warning from Google!

Yey!

My blog is now back to regular programming.

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Looking After Your Health When Working From Home

Working from home is a dream for many people, but it can be a big lifestyle change compared to working in an office or another type of workplace. When you work from home, you’re often alone and sometimes the only contact you might have with others is through email.

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There are many health implications to consider when working from home to make sure that it stays the right move for you. Your mental and physical health are important, and perhaps even more so when you’re self-employed, with no allowances for sick days.

Take a look at some top tips to consider on looking after your health when working from home.

Ensure you have the right desk setup

When you work for an employer, it is their duty to ensure that your health and safety is taken care of in the workplace. Now that you work from home, it’s up to you to fulfill that role. Give yourself the right desk setup to make sure that you have the right back support, comfortable surroundings and plenty of light. Give careful consideration to designing your home office to make sure that you have a workspace that is fit for purpose and will motivate you to work.

Establish a routine

When you work for yourself, you become your own boss. There’s nobody to slap you on the wrist when you’re late, and nobody to see you sat around in your pyjamas. However, developing bad habits can soon lead to productivity problems. From the outset, it’s important to establish a good working routine that helps you get your work done. Set yourself core working hours and a schedule like you’d have in the office. Make sure that you get dressed too – there are some proven benefits to dressing the part for work, even when you’re working from home.

Separate work from home

Some of the benefits of working from home include being able to tackle those everyday chores that would otherwise have to wait until the evenings or weekends. Things like unloading the dishwasher, or putting some laundry out to dry, can make it easier to manage your home while working and make working from home worthwhile. However, it’s important that the lines don’t become too blurred. If you pre-occupy yourself too much with chores, you’ll start giving less focus to your work, while also running the risk of working late into the night to compensate. Try to tackle your household chores during a break and give yourself a time to switch off from work – it’ll make it much easier to separate the two aspects of your life.

Take breaks

While some people might struggle with finding the motivation to work at home, others could have the opposite problem. By working too hard, you miss out on the benefits that taking a break can offer, causing you to burn out. Breaks are important for keeping your mind sharp and feeling energized, so it’s important to factor them into your day. When you work from home, you’re given a much wider choice of things to do during your break such as going for a drive or taking a nap, so start thinking about the great possibilities you could be enjoying instead of working flat-out.

Avoid bad habits

You get more freedom to do what you want when working from home, which has its negatives as well as its positives. It’s easy to get into the habit of sitting for too long, snacking too much and other bad habits that can affect your health. Another one is smoking. Just because you can smoke when you please now, doesn’t mean that you should. If you’re trying to quit, turn to vaping or even using a bong to reduce the damaging effects of smoking. You can get a bong from Dopeboo’s best bongs of 2018 that you can use at home without anybody knowing. Instead of forming bad habits at home, focus on healthier ones instead. Going for a lunchtime or morning run could help you get some much-needed fresh air, while also helping to keep your body fit and healthy.

Living a healthy lifestyle should be a priority for you, and is something you need to work extra hard at when you’re working from home. Maintain a strong work/life balance to help make sure that you see people and socialise and avoid some of the health issues which can stem from working alone. Working from home is wonderful when you get it right, so focus on the best ways to can make it work for you.

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More Than Homework: Turning Your Home Into A Proper Business

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We all fantasize about the idea of working from home full time, but what about those people that want to take it one step further, and set up their own business from home? It’s certainly a bigger challenge than setting up the standard home office, but if you want to use your home for more than just a place to live in, but use it as a base of operations, or use it as a place in which you can trade, how can you do this?

Is Your Home In A Lucrative Location?

Of course, this depends on the type of business you are trying to start, but if you are working out of your home, and you plan on serving customers, like so many holistic therapists, you have to factor in your location in your overall planning. When it comes to the location, it needs to be within a reasonable distance to your customer base, but it also needs to be in a neighborhood that is zoned for home businesses. Of course, you can set up a business from home, but there could be trouble further down the line if your local council catches up with you, or a neighbor makes a complaint. And on this topic, dealing with neighbors when it comes to having any thoughts of renovating your home, especially to set up a business, can cause a lot of personal and professional problems for you and your professional image. It’s worth having a look on houzz.com to get some this is information with regards to dealing with those pesky neighbors. You may be forgiven for thinking that running your business from home takes a lot of the anxieties out of the process, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

How Does Your Home Look?

For the average e-commerce business, the appearance of your home doesn’t matter so much, but when it comes to appealing to customers and clients alike, you need to bear in mind that the attractiveness of your home could have positive and negative effects on your numbers. You don’t want to scare customers off before they have set foot through your front door, and so making sure that your property, in terms of the interior and exterior, is up to code. It’s always vital to make sure the aesthetics are pleasing enough, and so investing in a contractor to get these bits of work done should be viewed as a worthy investment. You can go to wildwoodroof.com and look at what a typical contractor can do to improve the exterior of your home, so it is that bit more attractive. From the moving to the sidings, or even the windows, if you live in a dilapidated home, and you plan on running a proper business from it, some people may be turned off by the appearance from a distance.

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5 Clever Gadgets For Your Home Office


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Working from home can be amazing because you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and go outside into the freezing cold and commute to work. There’s no traffic jams, no people trying to have deep conversations with you at 8 am, and no need to wear high heels.

You can simply roll out of bed at 7:30 am, brush your teeth, come downstairs and grab a cup of coffee and get started with the day. Working in the comfort of your own home is great, and you will probably have a beautiful desk area set up for yourself, designed with you in mind. But there are also some really great gadgets you can add to your desk and your home to help you work more productively, and just because they are really cool gadgets to have!

Wifi Extender

First of all, the practical gadget. If you have a lot of devices in your home, your router may struggle to cope with connecting to them all effectively. The Smart Future has compiled a list of the best wifi extenders around, to help you boost your connectivity in your home and allow you to work more productively throughout the day.

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DeskCycle

Sitting at a desk all day isn’t good for your health, and you need to try and keep yourself moving as much as you possibly can in the moments between being at your desk. But there is a gadget which allows you to keep your legs moving while you are hard at work during the dad. The DeskCycle is a mini exercise bike which allows you to move your legs and burn calories while sitting comfortably at your desk. Save money on going to the gym and stay home, working off those extra pounds without moving from your seat!

Flower USB Port

If you tend to use quite a lot of USB devices in your PC at once, and also want to add a splash of colour to your desk: this Flower USB Port is ideal for you. It has 4 USB ports in red, green, blue and orange, and keeps your cables organised as you work. The stems even light up when you plug in a device!

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Henry Desk Vacuum

If you like to eat breakfast at your desk, then you may have had a few stray crumbs fall into your keyboard before now. It’s frustrating because you can’t get it out without blasting the keyboard with air. However, this cute little Henry Hoover will clean up the mess for you and sit as a colourful decoration in your office. So next time you fancy some toast, go for it!

USB Mini Fridge

There isn’t much to say other than this is the best gadget you will ever buy for your office. Chill your drink or stash a cheeky lunchtime cupcake in your USB mini fridge as you work away. It’s the perfect way to keep your snacks safe and your favourite drinks cold as you work.

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Stress: The Work From Home Downfall No One Tells You About

There are countless articles online which sing the praises of working from home. And, it seems they’re onto something, with one in five Americans now doing just that. The benefits of a lifestyle choice like this speak for themselves.

But, it would be naive to assume this career choice is all plain sailing. It’s not. Working from home has pitfalls, just like any other career. And, while some of us can overcome them, others may be unable. Major downsides include loneliness and, what we’re going to talk about here, stress.

You may be wondering how working from home can be stressful. Don’t most people opt for this career choice to get away from stress? Yes, they do, but it doesn’t always work. While you do eliminate the stress of a workplace, freelancing like this has a whole new set of stressors to cope with. These include increased work pressures (it’s only you now), and the inability to switch off. After all, escaping from the workplace also means kissing goodbye to 9-5. Instead, you may find that you never entirely switch off.

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to keep the stress at bay. And, we’re going to look at a few of your options here.

Take care of admin in the morning

Admin can be a considerable source of stress. When you work in an office, the HR department take care of all that. But, when you’re going it alone, it falls to you. Worse, you don’t make any money from that part of the job. Answering emails and filing invoices is time you’d rather spend actually working. Hence, it can be difficult to fit in when you’re experiencing a busy period.

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To remove the pressure, it’s worth doing admin before you get started each day. That way, you can work without interruption the rest of the time. You could look through emails and such while you’re eating breakfast. Or, you might want to dedicate your first hour to the job. Whatever you choose, getting it out of the way is your best bet.

A plan to avoid the last minute rush of deadlines

Planning is essential in every aspect of working from home. But, never does it help you more than when you’re working to a deadline. You’ll find that your stress levels soon rocket if you leave everything until the last minute each time. Then, you’ll be facing sleepless nights, and rushed work.

To avoid that happening, it’s important to have a decent plan in place for each piece of work you accept. As a rule, attempt to have everything finished a week before it’s due. That way, you have plenty of time to tweak things if you need to. To ensure this is doable, plan first how long you think a job will take you. Then, separate the task into hour-long chunks over a set period. Just like that, you’ll have things done in no time at all.

Get out of the house

Another cause of stress is the feeling of going stir crazy. If you haven’t left the house in a few days, your stress levels are sure to skyrocket. Worse, you may fail to recognize the cause. To stop this happening, make sure to get out of the house at least once a day. Even if you just walk round the block, the fresh air and new perspective will work wonders.

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Create spaces in which to unwind

Many of those who work from home experience stress because they fail to switch off. And, it’s easy to see why. When you’re staying in the same place, you may as well carry on, right? Wrong. In fact, if you work without unwinding, you’ll soon experience severe stress. Everyone needs to kick back for at least a few hours of an evening. To ensure you get into the habit, set aside spaces which are work-free zones. Your bathroom is an obvious one, so take advantage of that. You won’t need to put the effort in to make it work free. It already will be. And, if you take time to shop for a new bathtub online, and invest in some pamper products, it can become the ideal place to unwind.

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The living room can become another work-free zone if you go about things the right way. Nothing beats watching television with the rest of your family. Just make sure you never fall into the mistake of bringing your laptop down while you do so!

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Could Working from Home be Beneficial for You? Topics for Potential Startups to Consider

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Working from home involves a whole lot more than simply throwing in the towel at your employed job and undertaking the same tasks from the comfort of your own living space. After all, if it was as simple as that, surely we’d all be opting to work within our own four walls. The decision to work from home, rather, has all sorts of inherent responsibilities that you may have never even considered before when working in employed positions. So, before diving right into the deep end, do your research and decide whether working from home is the right decision for you and your lifestyle. Here’s some key information to help you form your decision.

Is Self-Employment Right for You?

Self-employment, much like everything else in the working world, has its benefits as well as its downfalls. So let’s take a look through them. The enviable perks of self-employment include being your own boss. You decide what your position entails, what hours you’re going to work each week and you will also be able to put a value on your own work through your pricing. This is an amazing amount of freedom and liberates you from the standard nine to five regime. You have more control over your own life as well as your trade. You don’t have to answer to others and have the executive hand in any decisions or changes that may occur in your working life. Perfect, right? You also don’t have to apply for holidays or have limited holiday time, as everything is down to you. If you need to take a day off for a big event, you can take it! If you want an extended holiday, you can go ahead and book it. No worries at all. However, there are also drawbacks in regards to everything being down to you. You have to completely dedicate yourself to your personal brand in order for it to succeed. It is essential that you are motivated, as you won’t have anyone on your back reminding you to complete tasks or be productive. You also have to ensure that your company is profitable, so that you are earning enough to survive and take the time off that you want. There won’t be steady payslips, holiday pay or sick pay anymore so you need to be more responsible with your cash and savings. You also have to sort your own tax out at the end of the year. So, while there are many pros to working for yourself from home, you need to ensure that you are motivated, dedicated and proactive at all times. If you believe that you are capable of this, then it’s time to start taking the next steps!

Understanding Your Finances

Setting up a business isn’t as simple as setting up a few social media pages and spreading the word about your products or services. You need to invest huge amounts of time, energy and cash to get things up and started. So you need to understand your current financial situation and decide whether you will be able to commit to this. Check out your credit score on a free credit check site. This will help you to see how creditors and lenders will view you and consequently how willing they will be to help you out when it comes to funding your self-employed work in the beginning of your venture. Loans will be necessary down the line, not only to make larger purchases that will see a return at a later date but also to improve your rating, meaning that you can lend larger sums of cash as your business grows and expands. Always use reliable lenders such as Loan Center and ensure that you make your repayments on time. This will help to improve your score, as companies and banks will be able to see that you always repay what you owe and stick to the terms and conditions of your contracts. If things are looking less than positive, remain in employment for a little while and use this time to clear old debts and improve your score, meaning that you can start out your new business on the right foot.

Getting Started

Once you’ve got your finances in order and are entirely sure that this is the right path for your life to take, you can start investing in your personal brand. Ensure that you register as self-employed. You can then start developing products or services, create your website, conduct market research and start advertising and targeting customers who could potentially form a loyal customer base for your brand. Patience is a virtue when it comes to self-employment, so don’t rush things. Take your time, be sensible with your money and focus on customer satisfaction and raising brand awareness. It won’t be too long until you start to reap the profits.

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