Why You’re Not Productive In Your Home Office … And What To Do About It

Working from home is often considered the ultimate setting for increased productivity. You don’t have to travel, you have fewer noisy coworkers, and you have more control over your work environment directly, so it makes sense for many people to work harder and get more things done in a shorter period of time.

But for many remote workers, trying to achieve their goals in a home office, these benefits are not so obvious. If anything, working from a home office has made them less productive.

So who could be responsible for this disconnect? As you can imagine, there are many possible culprits. Let’s take a look and see if we can remove them for your situation.

Office environment problems

Sometimes the main cause is your environment.

You don’t have a separate office space.

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to work from anywhere in your home. If you want to be more productive and focused, having a dedicated space for your home office is important. When working on the living room sofa or dining room table, you may be distracted by other people and things in your house. Worse still, you will be trapped in a laid-back mindset that will keep you from doing your best work.

You are distracted by environmental stimuli.

You may also have a problem with environmental stimuli, which can come in a variety of flavors. For example, you may have a noisy toddler in the room above. You may live in a noisy neighborhood. You could also be distracted by the TV constantly in the background or a lingering smell that you can’t seem to get rid of. Try to identify and eliminate the sources of these interruptions.

Your environment is dirty or congested.

If your environment is dirty or congested, you may also find it difficult to concentrate. If your desk is cluttered with unnecessary items, your carpet hasn’t been vacuumed in weeks, or the air itself is full of pollutants, it can distract even the most concentrated people. Make sure to clean and tidy up your home office regularly, preferably at least once a week. You can also invest in a air purifier to remove certain particles from the air and circulate clean air in the chosen environment.

You don’t have the right furniture.

Furniture doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on your productivity, but the right investment can make a big difference. Make sure your desk gives you enough space to work and is the right height to allow for an ideal posture. Similarly, it is important to have a chair that provides ergonomic support and one that encourages good posture. With these in place, you will be able to work much more productively and avoid potential health problems like chronic back pain.

You don’t have the right equipment.

It’s hard to be productive without the right equipment. You may have obtained your equipment from your employers or you may have purchased it yourself. Either way, your team will have a huge impact on how much you can do during a workday. If your computer is old, damaged, or slow, you will have little hope of reaching its full potential. Consider upgrading components like your core processor and RAM for better results.

You are not creating the right atmosphere.

Your work atmosphere is a complex variety of different sights, sounds, and smells. Do your best to create an ideal environment for yourself. This could mean investing in new lamps and auxiliary light sources, updating your speakers and playing the right music, or lighting candles and incense to fill your surroundings with a pleasant scent. Experiment to find what works best for you.

Habit and mindset problems

Other times, your lack of productivity is mainly due to your habits or mindset. Some common examples are listed below.

You’re stuck in “home” mode.

Most of us experience a pronounced change when we go from work mode to home mode or vice versa. If you are stuck in the mindset that you are at home and that you need to relax, you will not be able to focus on your work. On the contrary, if you are always stuck in work mode, you may not be able to relax in your own home. Set up a home office that is separate from the rest of your home. Sticking to a strict schedule can help keep your work and home life separate.

You start the day inconsistently.

It is important to have a routine. If you start your day inconsistently, you won’t be able to start your workday smoothly and start building momentum. Try to wake up at the same time every day and perform the same actions in the same order. It can be a bit tedious at times, but you will work much more fluidly and build momentum faster.

You skip breakfast.

The conventional wisdom that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been the subject of recent debate. But there is no ambiguity in the fact that if you are hungry, you will not be able to do your best work. Make sure you eat breakfast every day, whether you can whip up a whole variety of eggs and bacon or just have a quick bowl of oatmeal.

Eat badly.

Some people struggle to be productive while working from home because they are constantly snacking or because their eating habits have deteriorated and become much more unhealthy. Try to keep your meal times consistent and rely on a healthy combination of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and complex carbohydrates. Avoid junk food if you don’t want to feel sluggish the rest of the day.

You feel like you can get away with the bare minimum.

In some situations, working from home makes you feel like you can get away with the bare minimum. As long as you’re online and replying to messages, your boss may not care much about your performance. At first, this may seem like a huge benefit, but over time, it will bore you and put you down. If you find yourself in this position, try challenging yourself in unique ways. And if you can’t challenge yourself in this position, consider finding a new one.

You don’t have the support of coworkers or bosses.

Employees must feel committed to be productive. If you don’t have the support of your co-workers and colleagues, or if you feel very alienated from your employers, you will be miserable. Unfortunately, this is not something you can do much for yourself. All you can do is request more support as specifically as possible and hope that you will get it in the future.

You are alone.

Many people have had trouble working from home because they feel lonely, especially if they don’t have a family living with them. But there are many ways to solve this problem. You can work in a different environment, go to a cafe, or even just interact with your neighbors to socialize a little more.

You are tired of this environment.

Any productive work environment has the potential to become obsolete. If you’re getting tired of this remote workspace, consider rearranging it or temporarily working in a shared workspace or other public place.


Which of these problems is significantly affecting your productivity? Which ones can you address right away?

Make some adjustments to your approach to remote work and see if you notice a significant difference in your productivity. If you don’t see a measurable boost, try something else and repeat this process until you get the results you are looking for.

Working from home isn’t ideal for everyone, so if you can’t find a path to productivity after months of effort, it may be in your best interest to find a conventional office position or a completely different career.

Image Credit: Olia Danilevi, Pexels

Deanna ritchie

Deanna ritchie

Editor-in-chief at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor for ReadWrite. Previously, she worked as the editor-in-chief of Startup Grind and has over 20 years of content management and development experience.


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