Survey Says: Home-based Professionals Multitask in Some Surprising Ways

IDC estimates that there are currently
about 37 million home office households
in the United States . While working
from home can be convenient, it also
brings a unique set of challenges,
as individuals who do so are forced
to juggle work and personal tasks
constantly. As an “office of one,”
home-based pros need to remain
flexible while maintaining connectivity
in and out of the home.

Recently, LSP Consulting and
Plantronics conducted a survey
of home-based professionals
to learn more about their work
habits and pain points.

Among the findings of the July 2007 survey:

The majority (91 percent) of survey respondents conduct non-business-related
activities during the workday.

Seventy-three percent of home-based pros conduct personal activities while on
business calls. Popular activities include:

-Doing laundry (40 percent)

-Preparing meals (32 percent)

-Using the restroom (23 percent)

Eighty-four percent of respondents perform other work-related tasks while on
business calls, like writing e-mails and doing research on the Internet.

Most home-based pros do some business outside of the home, and nearly one-third
said they work when on the road or in an airplane.

Nearly one-third of respondents don’t have a room at home dedicated as their office.
Furthermore, 42 percent have experienced physical ailments, including neck and back
pain from improper ergonomics.

As home-based pros get down to business, there are a number of things they can do to
work smarter and healthier from home, making the most of their valuable time:

Get organized: Straining to find the materials you need is a huge waste of time. Clear
unnecessary clutter from your work environment and invest in plastic bins to store
items you don’t use daily. Create an organizational system for papers and computer
files that makes sense for you.

Schedule breaks: Taking a little time out can help you recharge and tackle work with
renewed energy. Schedule breaks as small incentives to help you accomplish personal
tasks. For instance, after each hour of work, take ten minutes to load, unload and fold
the laundry. Knowing that there’s a planned break on the horizon can also help limit

Employ ergonomics: Buy yourself a proper desk and chair with sufficient back
support. Working on the couch or at the kitchen table might be comfortable for a little
while, but it will wreak havoc on your body by the end of the day.

Cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder is a common source of neck aches.
A wireless headset or hands-free phone can help you stay pain-free by eliminating
that need, allowing you to multitask with ease.

Go mobile: Mobile technologies such as laptops, wireless headsets and hands-free
phones can help make work more portable and productive. Home-based pros can
move around the house or to an external location like a coffee shop or the airport
while staying completely connected.

Wireless headsets and hands-free phones can also help users multitask. Home-based
pros can dexterously chop vegetables for dinner while completing a business call.
Most have mute and noise-cancelling capabilities to help filter background noise. In
fact, according to the Plantronics survey, most home-based pros think they would
perform business and personal tasks more effectively and comfortably if they could
make and receive phone calls hands free.

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Marcia Passos Duffy, Publisher & Editor
Author of
Be Your Own Boss

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