Staying productive when working from home

With more than half the workforce working from home at least part of the time, it’s important to make sure this time is spent well. 

Working from home has grown as an option over the past decade, making it a legitimate and respected career or lifestyle choice - particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why work from home?

There are a number of reasons people work from home, including:

  • As part of a flexible working arrangement you’ve negotiated with your employer. Parents with children below school age have the right to request flexible working options, and others might do this to find a better work-life balance or to increase productivity.
  • To complete extra work outside normal working hours.
  • Being self-employed, where you might provide a product or service without having an external base.


Work from home motivation tips:

Ignore the housework

Many people say they find it difficult to focus on work while they’re at home, because the dishes are piling up on the sink, the washing needs to be hung out, and countless other tasks are beckoning. It’s vital to take a disciplined approach, remembering your work day is still a work day, no matter where you are.

The best way around these potential distractions is to do them as you would on any other day: before or after your working hours. Another option is to place yourself in a spot where you can’t see the housework; out of sight, out of mind.

Be methodical

Being organised is a big key to motivation. Start by getting up early and setting your agenda for the day ahead, a list is always a great idea. Follow your list and try to minimise any distractions from that.

Get moving

Getting some exercise, fresh air and a clearer head is a great motivational tool, and you’ll find yourself super productive after even a short work-out. If you get out for a gym session, walk or run, you might even find yourself with really creative ideas for your next task. Exercise is great for mental health and will also help combat desk work’s sedentary nature.

Set time limits

Without the interruptions of co-workers and meetings, a day of working from home can fly by very fast. It’s important to break your time into several smaller chunks for greater productivity. Use an alarm or alert on your computer or phone, set time limits for each of your tasks and take a break to move, eat, get outside for a few minutes or grab a drink of water before starting on the next item on your list. Whether your work-from-home day is four hours or eight hours, you want to finish it having achieved what you needed to.

Have a finish time

Another potential downfall is letting work creep into your home life. Setting a finish time – and sticking to it – is vital for maintaining a productive work-from-home arrangement. If you finish on time and allow yourself the space to have some downtime, you won’t fall into working all day and all evening. It’s habits like those that create resentment towards your work and a working life model you simply can’t sustain.

Reward yourself

A rewards scheme is always a good motivator. When it’s set by you then it could have even greater effects. Give yourself a little reward, either between tasks or at the end of your day. Perhaps you could set a time limit on a task and reward yourself with a half an hour walk outside on a nice day. Your rewards could also be in the form of an outing, a hot coffee, or any fun activity you really enjoy.


Not sure where to start? Our workplace mental health experts are here to help you.

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