How to stay productive while working at home


Getting prepared now with an optimal at-home office set-up can help boost productivity for weeks and months to come. Even better, being organised means you’ll get more out of your day, whether you’re an employee or student.

Here are some tips to make your work-from-home journey as smooth as possible.


Optimise your work environment

Your physical comfort and surrounds can have a significant impact on your productivity. Set yourself up for success by:

  • Maintaining good posture. Position your desk, work chair and computer properly. To avoid stiffness or soreness, your arms should be at right angles, with your forearms resting on the desk. Raise or lower your chair to achieve the correct angle
  • Adjusting your surrounds. Some people work well with background music, others prefer silence. If there is disruptive noise in your home that you can’t control, try listening to something relaxing (for example, the sound of rainfall) to help you concentrate – YouTube is a great source for this.
  •  Wearing suitable layers of clothing and maintaining a comfortable temperature. If possible, close off your work room from the rest of the house or apartment so you can heat or cool it quickly and efficiently.

 Structure your day

  • It’s a challenge to maintain usual discipline without the structure of an office or classroom routine. You can keep your energy levels up by:
  • Taking a five minute break every hour. Stand up, walk into another room, stretch, yawn, drink some water – anything but work
  • Choosing a time for lunch each day and sticking to it. Try to get some fresh air during your lunch break, whether that involves going for a walk or popping out into the garden or outdoor space
  • Working fixed hours each day. Designating ‘work time’ and ‘home time’ will help keep you focused on the task at hand. Tip: turning your work computer off at the end of your work day is a great way to really switch off and reduce your energy use too.

 Stay in ‘work mode’

  • It can be tempting to do things at home that you wouldn’t do at the office or at university. As hard as it is, avoid:
  • Texting your friends or scrolling through social media (unless you’re on a break).
  • Frequently raiding the fridge outside of scheduled break times
  • Browsing the internet when you’re meant to be working.

Manage interactions with others

  • You don’t want to cut yourself off completely from your household or your colleagues, but to stay focused, consider these suggestions:
  • If you and other household members are working from home, spread yourselves out so you each have a dedicated work area
  • If it’s not possible to work in different parts of the home, draw up some ground rules about how you’ll interact. For example, if your job requires one of you to make phone calls, will you leave the room when talking?
  • If you’re a student, consider scheduling a phone call with a classmate at the same time each day to discuss your workload and help each other if necessary.
    Whether you’re working from home for the long haul or expect to be back in the office in the short term, with a little discipline you can make it work for you.