Working from home, or "WFH" as the kids say, is one of the miraculous benefits that a lot of modern offices are granting to employees. Since a large majority of work can be done remotely—thanks to the innovations of web-based filing systems, online communication, and widespread laptop and mobile device ownership—just because you're not "in the office" doesn't mean you're not "at work." Get what we're saying?

The problem comes when employees misinterpret the privilege of working from home and think it means "sleep from home" or "do other errands while occasionally checking work emails" or "go to your kid's ballet recital" or "sleep until four." While you're not under watch when you work remotely, that doesn't mean it's a free for all.

Being at home can be distracting, though, as we all know. The dog is barking, your room needs cleaning, and someone's grilling a feast next door. Mmm. Here are some tips on how to make your work from home days just as productive as your office days.

1. Whatever you do, do not work in bed.

If you set up your office in your bed, chances are, you will shortly be asleep, your papers will be a mess, and you'll have an unsightly crease on your forehead from where it landed on your laptop keyboard. Being in bed tells you it's time to go night-night. So if you're planning on going through that 10Q report, you should probably be sitting upright.

2. Tell anyone around you that you are working, so you don't get random interruptions.

"Hey, everyone, I'm working from home today, so please don't bother me." Yeah, that should do. Find a room with a door to close and keep it closed. But that doesn't mean you have to lock yourself up all day. A vital part of productivity is taking time for a lunch break and other breaks throughout the day. When your kids start asking you to build a treehouse at three, resist. You'll have a good excuse to put that off until the weekend.

3. Stick to your schedule.

If you're usually in the office by nine, today shouldn't be the day you just open your computer at eleven after your spin class. In fact, you'll spend less time commuting, so if you really want to impress your boss, send an email at seven! That'll show them that you take working from home seriously. Working from home also means that you don't have to be working all night. When it's quitting time, it's quitting time.

4. Get out of your pajamas.

Working from home gives you the benefit of no necessary human interaction, and it may be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day. But we always find that getting showered and dressed makes us feel fresh and helps boost productivity. Staying in our comfies all day makes us just want to curl up in a ball. Dress for success, even when you're not leaving the house. No need for a suit.

5. Get your work space just right.

Open those windows! Natural light will help you be more productive and stay awake longer. If your abode is a basement, you may consider taking your work to a lively coffee shop or a (less lively) library. Being surrounded by productive-seeming people will be inspiring.

6. Don't sleep through your calls.

We can often lose track of time when we're working from home and not constantly looking at the time on our computers at the office. But make sure you don't neglect any calls that have been scheduled. Also, if you're on a call, it might be a good time to feed the dog so he stops barking while you're trying to have a professional conversation.

7. Don't go AWOL.

Just in case your boss calls! You can run out for a bit, but keep it only to what you would do at the office if at all possible. If you need to be out for an extended period of time, give everyone a courtesy head's up. But you know that already.

We all love working from home once in awhile. And who knows, maybe the better you work from home, the more opportunities you'll have to work from home! Want to find out where to find the best remote jobs? Check this out!

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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