Five tips for increasing productivity when working from home

Five tips for increasing productivity when working from home

Posted: Tue 5th Mar 2024

Working from home has become the norm for many small business owners. But with all your home comforts just a few steps away, staying focused and productive can be a challenge. Do you find yourself struggling to stay on task and meet deadlines while working remotely?

Remote work is certainly more flexible and convenient, but to be successful it requires good time management and discipline. It's easy to fall into distractions and procrastination when your home office is just a few feet from your bedroom or living room.

To work more productively from home, you need to establish a routine and set boundaries. By putting a few key strategies in place, you can boost your efficiency and output, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

In this blog, we set out five tips for increasing your productivity levels when working from home.

1. Create a dedicated workspace

It can be hard to develop a productive routine when you're surrounded by distractions. One of the most important things about working from home is to have an effective workspace. This doesn't have to be an entire office but it needs to be a space where you do nothing but work.

The problem with working on the sofa or in bed is that those places aren't for work, so it's more difficult to concentrate. Plus, you'll find yourself getting distracted by the TV or that alluring stack of unfinished books on your bed stand.

So take a few moments to think about the space you have available and how you can separate your work from your home. Set up a desk or table in a room not essential to daily life, and furnish it with the necessary equipment (see below).


Watch this webinar to learn about productive home office layouts, where to get office furniture, and what factors can affect your workspace at home:


2. Sort out your equipment

Another crucial element of productivity is making sure your home workspace has the right equipment for you and your business.

Make sure you have a good screen with a stand and a suitable office chair. Try to work in natural light if possible – if it's not, find a lamp you can use. Staring at a screen in a dark room can strain your eyes and make you feel drowsy.

Good posture is extremely important to physical health, so be sure to sit correctly, as strains like back pain can be especially debilitating. The Innerbody website has tips on improving posture while sitting at a desk, and how to set up safely for a healthy working life.

Having your own comfortable workspace, no matter how small or portable, away from the hubbub of home provides peace and quiet to work without distraction, but also puts you in a different mindset. Start calling it your office.

Learning to disassociate your living space from your working area will not only lead to an increase in productivity, but you won't come to resent the space as a cog in your daily grind.

3. Manage your time and establish a routine

When you work on your own, you don't have anyone around to remind you about a project, email or deadline. Creating a to-do list every morning or blocking out time in your diary is a good way to stay on top of everything and stay productive.

Project management systems such as Asana, Trello and will help you collaborate and organise projects when you're working with a remote or hybrid team. Regardless of your approach, make sure you have a system for keeping up to date with work that comes in.

Just like in a traditional office, it's essential to set up a routine. Make a cup of tea at 8.50, turn your computer on at 8.55, and by 9am you'll have nothing left to do except work.

You could even set aside a time to dress later, to force you to move away from your workstation to take a break. Because you've removed the time you'd spend doing the daily commute, you may want to lengthen these breaks. Which takes us nicely into tip four...


Watch this webinar to learn practical techniques to manage your time and prioritise tasks, so you can dedicate more valuable time to working on your business:


4. Take frequent breaks

Working at home means missing out on those times where you'd speak to colleagues or go to meetings. That means it's doubly important to make sure you're taking adequate breaks.

Take five to 10 minutes every couple of hours to get away from your desk. It's a great way to clear your head, plus staring at a screen all day can be bad for your health as well as your creativity.

At lunchtime, it's important to revel in those 30 to 60 minutes as a break from work. Don't just think you'll crack on straight through until 4pm, then clock off early. There's a spate of studies that show human beings can't concentrate at full capacity for long uninterrupted periods. As such, it's important to stay productive or this opportunity may fall away.

During this time, do whatever you would at the office. Go to a different room, eat your salad, take a walk around the block (physical activity is vital). Some people are able to slip into home mode and load the washing machine, but doing household chores will take you out of the work mindset.

Be strict: Once the time is over, sit back down refreshed and ready for the afternoon tasks. When 5pm rolls around, make sure to complete the task you started. Don't leave it half done – even if it means you stay an extra 15 minutes.

Close your computer down and shut the door on your home office (or put it away if portable). Clock off for the night, go for a walk, and return home feeling as though you've commuted and thus left the stress of work at the office. Isolation can cause mental health issues.

5. Collaborate with other people

This might sound counter-productive, but if you have someone working with you, you're likely to work harder. It might be because you want to match their level of productivity or because they provide very regular, short breaks to make you feel refreshed.

If you're unable to have visitors, take advantage of tech solutions like Teams, Zoom or Google Meet that make it easy to have informal chats or virtual meetings. And make sure you're reaching out to people often.


StartUp UK: Turn your good idea into a great business

Access support to start your business

Visit the StartUp UK hub for resources that give you the education and inspiration to get started on your entrepreneurial journey.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.