July 23rd, 2013 by John Gallagher 3 Comments

I feel lucky that with my current job I am sometimes able to work from my home office.  However, it can be very challenging to be highly productive if you do not creat the right environment for success.


I find these 5 barriers that may lead to reduced productivity at home:

1) “Other” to-do lists – When I am home, I tend to  see all the other home projects that need to be done as well.

2) Media interrruptions – Television, social media, you name it…they are more accessible from a home office.

3) ‘Casual’ dress – Every day in the home office can be ‘Casual Friday’.  Being too comfortable (pajamas, fuzzy slippers, workout clothes, etc) cause me to feel less engaged.  I need to be somewhere between fuzzy slippers and suit & tie that I wear while visiting clients to feel in the ‘work zone’.

4) Lack of ‘office hours’ – From the home office, it is easy to just pop back in any time of day and check up on work, well into the evening.  Structure is important for me.

5) Access to good nutrition–  It’s so easy to walk to the fridge for ‘snacks’.  Without proper meals, I get tired, or even grouchy(ask my wife!).

These are just 5 of MANY barriers that must be overcome.  In another post, I will talk about solution approaches I have used to overcome these barriers.

Do you work from home?  If so, what are the distractions that can keep you from being productive?

  • Kristen Gielow

    I work from home 100% of the time, and I agree with your above distractions John. I also find it is hard when my family is trying to be a family while I am trying to be a professional. We have pretty strict boundaries around my office but sometimes I just have to open the door and get a kiss from that precious little girl looking at me from the outside.

  • Janet Rauschenberg

    Just for fun: 5 reasons my work office is not as productive as working from home

    I find these 5 barriers that may lead to reduced productivity at work that are eliminated when you work from home:

    1) “Other’s” to-do lists – When I am at work, others tend to see what questions I can answer for them or what personal problems I can help them iron out. My desk and phone are both revolving when I’m in the office. Often times, its for matters that Google, the Intranet, or a visit to the EAP program can resolve. (Don’t mean to sound cold or not helpful here, just trying to make a point)

    2) Media interruptions – Television-I don’t watch television but I can you every episode of Duck Dynasty and other seasonal shows. Social media-I feel like I know my co-workers Facebook friends so well that maybe I should add them to my list. “You name it…they can be more interesting at the office.” Cell phones ringing and people talking like its a party every day reduces concentration. I get so much more accomplished when I work from home.

    3) ‘Casual’ dress – When I don’t have to pick out and iron my clothes to wear to work or matching accessories, packing a bag with dress shoes, purse, umbrella, etc. and remembering everything to take into the office, I can start working 1 1/2 hours sooner. Add to that my commute, the time it takes to apply makeup and curling or straightening my hair, you got another 1 1/2 hours of productivity from me.

    4) Lack of ‘office hours’ -If I’m working from home because I have an appointment or something else to tend to at home, I can work until the start of the appointment and sign on when I’m finished. Instead of making the commute downtown which converts travel time into production time. My personal needs are met, my stress is reduced and my productivity further increased.

    5) Access to good nutrition- I plan my meals ahead of time and when I don’t have to go into the office I don’t have to pack a lunch bag, I’m not tempted to go to a restaurant with my co-workers and I can just grab my food from the frig once and warm it up. Timesaver, all adds up!!! No debate, when I eat well I’m more productive too.

    These are just 5 of MANY barriers that must be overcome. In another post, John will talk about solution approaches to overcome these barriers. 🙂

    I liked your article, thought I’d show the other side.

  • Setting up those boundaries is very important. Feels a bit militant when those are with family, but really they are so our time together is fruitful as well.