Winter storm Stella is forcing thousands of professionals to work from home today. And while working from home can be a nice change of pace, it's often difficult to be productive outside of the office.
"The home office is the worst of both worlds," says productivity and organization expert Lisa Zaslow, CEO and founder of Gotham Organizers.
"You're not at home just watching TV, and you don't have the really good office resources and environment of being in the office."
To avoid distractions and reach peak at-home productivity, follow these researched-backed tips:
1. Get dressed
One of the best parts about working from home is that you have the option to work in your pajamas. But research suggests that getting dressed for work, even if you're working from your couch, pays off.
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that professionals perform better on tasks when wearing clothes with "symbolic meaning." In the study, they found that doctors were more focused and performed better at work when wearing a lab coat.
For a business professional, wearing a nice outfit may boost how you feel about work. Research by Joy V. Peluchette and Katherine Karl found, "Respondents felt most authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire, but friendliest when wearing casual or business casual attire."
Workplace expert Mason Donovan, author of "The Golden Apple: Redefining Work-Life Balance for a Diverse Workforce," echoes this thought, saying that wearing work clothes at home does increase productivity.
"Although a dress code may seem silly when you think about working from home, work clothes impact you on a business and personal level and can affect your career," he tells Fast Company.
2. Find your optimal noise level
When working at home, there are a few things to avoid. The first is a noisy work space. High levels of noise tend to reduces a person's ability to process information and think creatively, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. Intermittent conversation where talking starts and stops frequently is also bad for productivity.
So what type of noise is best? That's a bit more complicated.