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How to Stay Productive When Working from Home

By George Waggott, founder, and Roberto Fonseca-Velazquez, summer law student,

George Waggott Law

Virtual and hybrid working arrangements have become a permanent fixture of the modern workplace. One main challenge that workers involved in such arrangements must face is that the home provides for a unique set of distractions that will affect productivity. Here are some tips on how to remain productive from seasoned remote workers.

1. Establish a productive work routine

The lack of an externally imposed schedule is often the first hurdle to overcome when performing remote work. It often leads to a lack of motivation or a struggle to properly balance work and home life. Also, the lack of prescribed breaks such as a morning commute, coffee breaks, lunch or other “down time” can leave workers feeling guilty for

taking breaks throughout the day while at home. Luckily, this is an easy fix! Although creating a formal schedule is not always necessary (nor easy to stick to) you can still prescribe set times to ‘start’ and ‘finish’ work as you would when you arrive and leave work. Workers can address a lack of motivation by creating a daily task list where they cross completed tasks off the list. Furthermore, scheduling breaks and going for a walk or making a coffee in the kitchen can help break up the day just as your coffee and lunch breaks would while at the office.

It is important to know that when working from home, one’s work schedule is not always going to go as planned! This is okay. Family life and myriad other distractions are virtually guaranteed to interrupt one's work from time to time.  Don’t stress when this happens but rather focus on using your time spent working efficiently.

2. Continue to collaborate with co-workers

Working from home naturally makes it more difficult to collaborate with one's co-workers. Now, more than ever, is the time to ensure your workplace provides you with the tools you need to remain connected to your co-workers. Technologies such as Teams, Slack or Whatsapp can be used to immediately contact co-workers whether you just want to chat or you have to ask a question that requires an immediate answer. Video conferencing tools such as via Teams, Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts can be used for more formal meetings.

3. Optimize your home working environment 

Remote workers would benefit from creating a unique home office to mimic the office environment to match the usual place of work. This can be a separate room, a desk, or just a designated spot in your home where you can ‘go to work’ as you would in the office.

Consider investing in other useful tools such as noise cancelling headphones, an ergonomic chair, or a standing desk converter to make your time working from home more comfortable.

Feel free to decorate your area with house plants or other personal items that you would keep on your office desk to recreate the same environment.

Working from home should not automatically mean less productivity, however it is understandable that many struggle to optimize their work output. 

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to optimizing your setup for working from home, instead it’s about figuring out what works best for one’s specific context.


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