April 22

How to be More Productive in Your Work-at-Home Office


​Because of the COVID-19 lockdown​, millions of people around the globe are being sent to work at home.

We live in strange times.

For many, ​their bosses would never have allowed it in the pre-coronavirus world, so they do not understand how to work from home productively and stay healthy and sane.

​So ​I've put together a ​brief guide on how to set up your work-at-home office and your environment, what equipment you will need, and what ​ground rules ​to set to make sure you can still get stuff done.


​Disclosure: ​Links in this post may contain affiliate links​.

As an Amazon Affiliate, we may earn a small amount from qualifying purchases, but you will never pay any more for your purchases as a result.

​​You can find further details in our TCs

​A Work-At-Home Quiz

​Before we get started, why not test yourself with our little work-at-home quiz?

It's very short and will take you about 1 minute.

Start here:

​Your Work at Home Office Guide

So how did you do?

Whether you got them all right or all wrong, it's still useful to go through all the things you'll need - including setting expectations!

I've built a mind map of all the things you'll need to work at home to be productive, and physically and mentally healthy, and here's what the bit about your home office environment looks like:

Your Home Office Environment

​This mind map will help guide your choices when you work at home.

OK, let's get started.

​​Equipment You Need to Work At Home

​​A desk and a good chair​ are the absolute basics when working from home. If you don't have these, you're storing up trouble for yourself - go out and get them. You really don't want to end up with a bad back because you sat on the couch all day with your laptop on your knee.

Your boss wouldn't let you do this in the work office, so ​if you don't have them, ask him for a budget. And make sure you've asked in an email, not on a phone call - he'll feel like he needs to comply with Health & Safety Regulations, and you'll be more likely to get what you need.

​I also strongly recommend having 2 monitors - your productivity will go up by huge amounts​!

If your boss won't buy you a second monitor, buy one for yourself - you'll ​get your work done sooner, giving you ​more free time with the kids later.

Duex Pro Portable Monitor
Dual Monitor Stand

You also must be able to communicate with your boss and work colleagues, so a webcam like this one with a privacy shutter ​would be a good idea​.

How to be more productive in your work-at-home office


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​Your Work-At-Home ​Environment

​Now ​you've got all the equipment you need to ​work at home, you need to set up your home office environment.

If you have a spare room or a dining room, use that.​ On the other hand, if you ​share a one-bedroom flat ​with your ​spouse and 12 kids, then you've got a problem - but ​it's fixable!

Ideally, you need a room or space where you can close the door on the rest of the world.

But if all you have is a corner of a shared room, it will have to do. There are ways to get the quiet time you need to get your work done, and I'll talk about that in a little while.

How to Work From Home...

​and ​stay productive, healthy and sane

Learn how to balance work-life, home-school the kids and keep your boss happy too!


​Home​ ​versus​ Home Office​​​

​​When working from home you need clear boundaries, expectations and ground rules. As much as possible, keep a ​dividing line between Home and Home Office. This line will ​get blurred, but it's important that you ​fix where the line is and try to stick to it.

Your home​ is where your family ​and your TV are. Playing football with the kids and watching endless re-runs of Mexican soap operas will not get your work done.

​Similarly, unless Twitter and Facebook are part of your job, then ​they're not part of your home office.

When you're in your home office, you'll need your work phone and work email close at hand. ​Your personal phone, ​email and social media have no ​place in your home office, so leave them outside the door - they will kill your productivity and upset your boss.

​When you leave your office to roughhouse with the kids, leave your work phone and ​email inside the office or switch them off - they have no ​place in your personal life.

Home Office Tip

Leave your home outside your home office

​- and -

leave your home office outside your home.

Closed or Open Door Policy?

​​When you work at home, there will be times ​when you need to focus and ​not be disturbed.

One way ​is to have a Closed Door Policy​ - ​when you're in your home office you close the door ​and don't re-open it until ​your working day ends.

​This is a bad idea. Contrary to what you might think, the isolation is actually bad for your productivity, and ​it's also bad for your mental health.

An alternative is an Open Door Policy, where you leave your door open, allowing your family to chat with you whenever ​they want to.

​This is also a bad idea. It will kill your productivity, which will either upset your boss or lead you to put more hours in catching up.​

I'm sure your wife and kids won't be happy with this arrangement either...

​How to Work At Home - and be more productive, physically fit and ​sane​ #homeoffice #workfromhome #workfromhomelife

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​Your 'Do Not Disturb' Policy

​​What I do ​suggest is that you have a Do Not Disturb Policy. This is where your ​door is open ​​when it's OK to be disturbed and closed when you need to ​get stuff done.

Make sure the spouse and kids understand this.

But what do you do ​if you only have a small corner of a shared living room?

Put on noise-cancelling headphones when you need to focus - and make sure that everyone understands ​not to ​disturb you under any circumstances.

Is the house under siege from a horde of savage Vikings? No? Then go away.

Are the kids having a fight? Do you see blood? ​​Come back when you do.

​Has the dog chased the cat onto the roof? Unless ​Granny has followed it up ​and ​is in ​danger of falling, I don't want to know.

Talk to me when my headphones are off!

​​Working At Home - A Summary

​You might think your home isn't necessarily the best place to get stuff done​.

​​Millions of us must ​work at home because of the coronavirus, though, and it's ​straining ​the productivity and physical ​and mental health of people ​across the ​world.

But ​it doesn't have to.

​Working at home in any small corner ​and setting a few ​boundaries and restrictions can make ​it all go smoothly.

If you keep a ​dividing line between home and home office, you leave your ​home life outside the office and your work life outside the home, you'll quickly develop the habit of getting stuff done.

And when you do that, you get the time ​you need to exercise and spend time with your ​kids.

​You can have it all when you're isolated and working ​at home!

​How to Work ​From Home

​If you're struggling with the isolation of working at home, ​check out ​our exclusive video course How to Work From Home, where I take you through ​everything you need to know to increase your productivity, ​whilst staying physically and mentally fit in your home office.

This course is Open Access to start with - you don't even need to register!

As part of the course you'll get an Ultra-HD pdf of ​the mind map of How to Work From Home to download and keep, and I'll share with you where you can also get your own poster to pin on your wall.

If you want to continue learning, you can start from the beginning here:

How to Work From Home...

​and ​stay productive, healthy and sane

Learn how to balance work-life, home-school the kids and keep your boss happy too!


​I look forward to seeing you on the inside!


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Lee Baker