Almost 9 million employees in the United States work from home at least half the time, according to recent research from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs.¹ That’s a 115 percent increase in the number of teleworkers in the past decade—and the trend shows no sign of stopping.

Working from home can save time and money on commuting, work clothing and lunches out. But it also presents the possibility of isolation and a lack of the support structures available in the office, such as IT help and the ability to discuss projects with team members in person. If you’re working from home, here are five actionable tips to maximize your nine to five.

1. Stick to a routine. 

Some people imagine that working from home means sleeping in or taking time for household chores, fitting in work when needed. But the people who use that approach likely won’t get much work done—or have a job for long. Consistently wake up early and stick to regular working hours so you can be available for your on-site team members.

2. Take care of yourself.

People who work from home often have more uninterrupted hours for getting work done—which can mean too much time sitting still at a desk. Productivity is great, but not at the expense of your health. Find time for exercise each day, even if it means fitting in a quick workout in your home office. Also, make sure you eat a nutritious diet. Try snacking on nuts, blueberries and strawberries, which can help you boost your productivity.

3. Dress for success.

Making sure you get dressed and ready each day will help you feel like and present yourself as a professional. This can be especially important for video conferences and impromptu meetings: You may not be in the office but your supervisor or your clients may still want to see your face. Make sure your surroundings are clean, organized and appropriate for work. Keep your work area free from clutter and you’re likely to work better.

4. Stay connected with your co-workers.

Take advantage of technology solutions to feel more connected and demonstrate that you’re actively involved with the team. For instance, it’s easy to use instant messaging (IM) to interact at your desk with co-workers. Opt for video calls and other opportunities to see your supervisors and co-workers face-to-face as often as you can, even if it’s electronically. These tools are easy to use and can go a long way in ensuring that you don’t become an overlooked member of your team.

5. Get social.

Keep your mental health in check by making it a point to get out and interact with friends or colleagues on a regular basis. Try scheduling a monthly happy hour or bi-weekly lunch date with co-workers. These outings may seem like they’re just for fun but they will energize you to keep producing good work when you’re working alone.

Unless otherwise indicated, this article was written by John Hancock, and is intended to promote awareness and is for educational purposes, only.
¹ Parris, J. (2017, June) “The state of telecommuting in the U.S. in 2017.” 1 Million for Work Flexibility. Retrieved from