How to work from home (without impacting productivity)

Living Well | Jan Fisher | Posted on 18 March 2020

Make the most of working from home with these productivity-boosting tips.

To help reduce the spread of coronavirus, many Aussies are working from home.

While there are advantages – less time in traffic or on crowded public transport and more time with loved ones – there can be pitfalls too. 

A two-year study by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom analysed the output of 250 travel agents who were given the opportunity to work from home. It found that while productivity soared due to fewer sick days, less time off and shorter breaks, and the attrition rate fell, about 50 per cent of workers reported feeling isolated and did not enjoy working from home full-time. 

So how do you make the most of your office-free work week, without reducing your productivity? Here are our top tips for working from home. 

Laptop sitting at white desk in office

Seven ways make working from home work for you

Get dressed 

Resist the urge to lounge the day away in your PJs. Pull on some pants, a skirt, whatever. It puts you in a more professional mindset and you’ll avoid embarrassment if there’s an unexpected conference call. 

Try to stick to your normal routine 

Of course there are distractions at home not found in the office – catching up on Game of Thrones before the new series, rearranging your T-shirt drawer – but matching your usual routine lets you clear the decks early and will make it easier to slip back into office mode when you return. 

Upgrade your WiFi 

It’s time to make sure your wifi is the best it can be. It’s frustrating and unproductive to have to shuffle off to the library, local coffee shop or your techie mate’s house when the wifi crashes. If you deal with clients it looks unprofessional, and you can waste valuable time if you are up against deadlines. 

Keep in touch

If you have colleagues, check in with them over the phone, rather than via email. Not only will this help you feel more connected, it will also keep you accountable for your work. Organise meetings via FaceTime or Skype so that you still feel like you're part of your work community.

Sit at a desk or table, not the couch

While working from the couch all day might seem like a good idea, be careful not to get lured into switching on the television. Try to have a designated work space. This makes it easier to compartmentalise between work time and relaxation time.

Get moving 

Take a break every hour. In a standard office environment, you get up to consult with colleagues, grab a coffee or go out for lunch. Keep moving at home as well. If you need motivation, invest in a fitness tracker and find some exercise routines on YouTube.  

Get out of the house 

Return to the real world at least once a week even if it’s just to go for a walk to the park or to the supermarket. Hanging out the washing doesn't count.