Even though studies have shown time and time again that telecommuting is one of the best ways to work productively, there are always going to be times when the couch, snacks, and Netflix are going to be calling your name. In order to be as efficient as possible when working from home, here are five productivity tips for remote workers.

Have a separate work space.

Whether you have a home or an itty bitty studio, having a separate work space is critical to your overall remote work success. After all, if you’re working from your kitchen counter (or worse, your bed), you’re simply not going to be as productive as you could be. So work with the square footage that you already have and carve out some space that will serve as a dedicated office. It could be a converted closet, an attic, a garage, or a nook off of the living room, but establishing this space as your work area will not only help you stay focused when you’re on the clock, but also help you separate your work life from your personal life when you’re not.

Stick to a schedule.

Sure, the whole point of having a flexible schedule is so that you can work when you want, how you want, and where you want. But that should be the exception, not the rule. In order to be productive, you’ll need to establish a schedule that works for you most of the time, and then allow room for tweaking if, say, your child has an event at school or you need to take your parent for a doctor’s visit. Having a routine will keep you on task—and most importantly, on time with your workflow.

Take frequent breaks.

Although it might seem to contradict the previous productivity tip, it’s super important to take breaks when you work remotely—and we mean a lot of them. Why? Sitting for long periods of time is not good for your health, and without the distraction of coworkers, meetings, and coffee breaks with colleagues, remote workers may not have enough reason to get up. But for every 30 minutes of work, you should take at least a 5-minute break to stretch your legs. And you should absolutely get physical during your lunch hour; a walk around the neighborhood or a 45-minute session at the gym can do wonders for your body—and mind.

Be sure to socialize.

Although many remote workers enjoy the peace and solitude of working from home, it can (and does) get a bit lonely at times. That’s why those who work virtually should make it a point to get out into the real world and socialize. Have lunch with a friend or family member; meet up after your workday with another remote worker and swap stories and tips. Having a strong connection to real people (not just via IMs and emails) can not only help with networking, but it can also breathe new life into your workflow.

Get dressed.

One of the very first things you swore you’d do when you got a remote job was ditch your uncomfy office outfits and wear (and work in) PJs all day. And even though that’s fun for a while (after all, who doesn’t get a kick out of wearing fluffy slippers while getting their work done?), it can be counterproductive to your productivity. So when you get up in the morning, the first thing you should do is pretend like you’re going to be heading out to a real office. Take a shower, get dressed, fix your hair, and even put on your makeup. These seemingly small steps are one giant leap in making you more alert, feel more put-together, and yes, be more productive.

These 5 productivity tips can help you as you go about your workday, and help you achieve the level of productivity that can only be had from working remotely.

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