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How to Improve Productivity While Working From Home

We can’t speak for everyone, but it isn’t unusual to find that your productivity drops off a little bit when you are working from home. There are many more temptations and distractions to draw you away from work at your home office, and staying focused can be a bit more of a challenge.

In fact, a 2023 study by Stanford’s Institute for Economic Policy and Research has found a 10%-20% decrease in productivity for fully remote workers.

In this blog, we’ll outline some of the best ways you can adjust your home office set-up to help you stay committed to the task at hand while you’re working from home. All of our tips work just as well in an office setting too.

1. Have a Dedicated Workspace

The first thing to offset the chance of associating your home with relaxation is to create a dedicated workspace. This means creating a home-office set-up that's a little more permanent than sliding a table over to your couch, or even worse, using a laptop in bed!

Create a specific space that is designated for work. Whether this means setting up your computer at the dining table, or rearranging a guest room to become your home office with a suitable desk and chair, you need to have a location that becomes more associated with work than play.

Need inspiration? Check out our range of standing desks for home use which can be paired up with any of our ergonomic office chairs for an optimum and flexible working environment.

How to Improve Productivity While Working From Home

It’s also worth noting that spending too much time taking breaks on your couch in front of the TV, or napping in bed, can make it difficult to switch off and relax when you do finish your shift. So make sure to set up a proper home office space and use it! 

2. Plan Your Work Strategically

Most people who work office jobs know that some parts of the day are more productive than others. Some people may find that they get more done in the morning than the afternoon, others might find they struggle to really get going until after lunch.

One solution to offset this variation in productivity is to arrange your workload strategically. If you get significantly more work completed in the morning, then arrange all of your densest and most essential work for the morning hours to ensure you get through as much as possible.

If the afternoons are a bit of a struggle for you in terms of workload, leave all of your less intensive work until then. Replying to emails, arranging calls/meetings, and various administrative or planning tasks might be better suited for then.

Meetings and catch-ups are particularly suitable for the less productive hours as your colleague or associate can help you to stay focused on the task-at-hand!

However, instead of embracing these low productivity hours, there might be a way to counteract them altogether, and get yourself into a flexible working habit.

3. Boost Productivity with a Sit-Stand Desk

Whether you find the morning or afternoon as a difficult time to really stay focused, you might be surprised to hear there is a solution. Our mood and behaviour are very closely linked to our physical stance, and switching between sitting and standing at your desk will help to optimise productivity.

Even if you don’t have standing desk, you can try this out. If you tend to slouch back in your chair during the working day, make a concerted effort to remain upright, with your back straight. You’ll find that you feel more awake, focused, and productive.

Standing is even more effective. If you have no trouble working in the morning, sit at your desk and get through as much work as possible.

If you often feel the afternoon lull and the need to slouch, just adjust your desk to a standing position and you’ll find it much easier to stay focused.
 

However, it isn’t just your ability to focus that is improved. In one study, just under 90% of people who switched to a standing desk reported that their energy levels and vigour improved.

Available in both electric and manual variations, a standing desk encourages you to switch between standing and sitting positions, with a myriad of health benefits 

4. Optimise Screen, Mouse, and Keyboard Location

The location of your screen is incredibly important for making sure you can get work done without straining your eyes. Forcing your eyes to focus on minor details all day while being too close to the artificial light of your screen can tire them out and have long term effects.

The simplest way to make sure your screen is in the right location is to stretch out your arms. Your fingertips should just about be able to make contact with the screen. If they can’t quite reach, move the screen a bit closer. If you can reach too easily, move it a bit further away.

Additionally, it’s important that your eyes are somewhat in line with the top of your screen. If the screen is too low, try adjusting it. If the monitor isn’t adjustable, try using books or reams of paper instead. If the monitor is too high, you’ll need to increase the height of your chair.

However, it’s also vital to have the most important tools on the desk in the optimal position; your mouse and keyboard. No matter what kind of industry you are in, if you use a PC you’ll use these tools to interface with it. 

Where your hands naturally sit at the table for comfort, is where your keyboard should be. Your mouse should then be placed right next to this, either on the left or right depending on your dominant hand. The aim is to make sure you aren’t struggling to reach either of them, and that you use your elbow rather than your shoulders to avoid strain.

5. Take Regular Breaks

No-one wants to burnout, and sometimes when working from home it can be easy to forget to take a break. However, taking breaks is one of the most important contributions to overall well-being and therefore productivity while working from home. 

The absence of regular breaks can result in mental fatigue and reduced concentration. Taking short 5 minute breaks therefore allows your brain to recharge, leading to improved focus and more productive task completion.

Even if it's to make a quick cuppa, your brain will thank you.

6. Minimise Distractions

Let's face it, distractions are one of, if not the biggest problems when it comes to working from home, especially if you share a home office with your house mates or family members.

How to Improve Productivity Working From HomeThis is why it's so important to set up your workspace in a quiet area, away from noise and other people, where you’re unlikely to be interrupted.
 

Technology and personal devices can also be very distracting. So, keep yourself off your phone and social media, unless your job requires it. 

7. Give Yourself Enough Space

Having enough space on your desk is vital for optimising productivity. You can’t afford to be constantly shuffling things around, or losing track of a notebook because you’ve placed some other files on top of it in order to accommodate a cup of coffee!

While some people need only a laptop, and a modest writing desk to sit it upon, others need large paper files, printers, scanners, telephones and so on. In this case, make sure your desk is deep enough to suit your space and the purpose of the desk, and utilise cable trays and tidies to keep your cables organised, or under desk storage solutions for your files and other accessories. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, optimising your home office setup is crucial for maintaining productivity, especially in the face of potential distractions when you're working from home. 

Looking for a standing desk for your home, office or workspace? Check out our collection of standing desks, available for next working day delivery if ordered by 3pm. Our desks come with a 7 year warranty, 30 day risk free return, as well as access to a UK-based customer service team to answer any questions that you might have. Otherwise, our blog provides more useful tips on using a standing desk for a more balanced lifestyle. Feel free to contact us with any questions, with the handy live chat feature on our site, or vie email at info@ergodesks.co.uk.

Need additional help on choosing a desk? Read our full guide on Choosing the Right Standing Desk for the Ultimate Home Office

Date Published: September 8, 2020

Last Updated: January 15, 2024