If you are new to working from home, or even if you’ve been doing it for a while but have yet to break the code, there are a few things that you can do to be productive, focused and successful from your home office.

Everyone has a preferred work environment. The solution to your productivity when working from home lay in discovering how to create the perfect working environment for you.

The first step is asking and answering questions.

  1. What helps me to focus? Music, background chatter, silence?
  2. Where am I most physically comfortable? In a small cocoon-like space, by a light-giving window, in a supportive chair?
  3. When I am most productive during the day?
  4. Who else is in my space and are they a distraction or a motivation?

Some of these questions are difficult to answer, and some situations require creative solutions so that you can create a workspace that gives you your best opportunity to work at high productivity every day.

Sound or Silence

Most of us know what we prefer without having to think about it. Most people working in an office environment do not have the opportunity to make a choice about this question. One of the benefits of working from home is that you do have more control over this question – sound or silence.

A pair of noise-cancelling headphones is an investment. If you share a space with other people, or even just live on a busy street, but want to work in silence you can do so. Wearing headphones is also a great way to signal to others that you are busy working and you are not to be disturbed. Whether you play music, listen to podcasts or just have cans on the block noise is totally in your control.

Your Space

For your physical health, having a desk and chair or adjusted standing desk option, is the best option for a long term home office. If you are in a small space, you might need to pack away your equipment every day. However, you should choose the same location most days as it will give you a sense of routine. Having a home office that you can close the door (or in some way separate) from your living quarters helps to create a feeling of distinction between work and home.

One of the best things about working from home is that you can create an environment that is truly yours. You can put up and pictures you want, position your desk and chair in a way that makes you comfortable and, if you are so inclined, leave your dirty coffee cups all over the desk without anyone commenting on your science experiments. You can have as many pot plants as you want and transform a corner of the room into a great place you want to get to five days a week.

The other side of that is that it is your space – so you might need to consider investing in the things you need that you would take for granted in an office, such as a supportive chair or big desk. You are likely also the office cleaner in your own home.

It’s Time

Some people jump out of bed and are ready to work, others need a good few hours to feel the brain start clicking into first gear. You need to know who you are when what time of day you are the most productive. Take advantage of that window of time. If that means sitting down with a coffee and getting straight into your work and ignoring email, social media and phone calls, so be it. Create the bubble around your productive hours so that you optimise your time.

When you hit the time of the day that you usually slow down, again, take advantage by giving yourself time to catch up on the work that needs to be done, such as answering emails or checking your social media messages.


Working from home is not the ideal solutions for everyone. Some people don’t have much space, while others enjoy the social interaction of the office. So knowing your needs matters.

However, if you are in a position that requires you to work from home and share space, you need to know what boundaries you are going to set. Help children understand that you are working and not to be distracted by putting a sign on the door, or on your desk. If you have two people working from home in the same office, agree on some basic ‘rules’ so you both feel comfortable – such as online meetings should be hosted in another room if possible, or noise-cancelling headphones a must.


There is no perfect workspace. We all have limitations that are either expensive, complicated or impossible to negotiate. What matters is creating a place that allows you to feel comfortable most often. You don’t have to set up and never change; keep trying different things until you find a solution that makes you happy. Discuss your needs and concerns with people sharing your space. Create your dream space to work in overtime – it doesn’t have to be done tomorrow, take time to consider what is important. Invest in quality equipment that makes your home office comfortable. Once you’ve done this, you can start to appreciate the benefits of working from home, such as:

  • No commute times
  • Exercising at lunchtime
  • Making lunch at home (saves money) or taking a walk to the store for fresh air and a break
  • Creating a space that is all about you
  • Listening to the music you like as loud as you like (as long as the neighbour’s don’t mind)
  • Working in your comfortable clothes if you don’t feel motivated to get dressed