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A hybrid form of working is going to be the new norm for most people. Both working in offices and at home can have challenges for productivity. For example, open-plan offices are ineffective for concentration, as it is so easy to get distracted or engaged in unproductive activities.

Depending on your role and/or company, working from home will hold a large percentage of your time. So, how do you create an environment to optimise your productivity?

Have a workspace

When the first lockdown hit, there was a rush to find a workspace in the home - kitchen tables, desks in bedrooms, working on the kitchen breakfast bar, etc. Now we have the time to plan this space and become creative around the function. Try, if possible, to keep this workspace out of the bedroom. The bedroom is a dedicated space for sleep and recovery. Invest time and money into the interior; this is your opportunity to personalise the area.

Try to make sure that the room is as light as possible, as exposure to natural light help maintains our body's natural rhythm, allowing us to feel awake during the day and help us fall asleep at night.

Spend time picking a desk and chair

Investing money into a suitable desk and chair is going to be vital for productivity. Ideally, this desk needs to be one that can also turn into a stand-up desk, as sitting all day is seriously harmful to our health and wellbeing. Of course, you do not need to stand all day. I like the idea of odds and evens. Evens you sit and odds you stand. Changing your position every day helps.

Also, make sure that your screen is just above the eye line to help with energy; looking down can make us feel sleepy.

Plan your day

Imagine a professional athlete turning up to training with no plan or schedule! You are a cognitive athlete; your cognitive energy is the key to your success, so make sure you plan the day.

Have a morning routine that ensures that you start the day on time. Don't roll out of bed and start. Just like a body preparing for sport, we need to warm up the brain. Otherwise, the first 2 hours of work are going to be tough. Part of this routine needs to be a false commute; get outside and walk for 10-20 mins. This is the starting gun for the day and helps with general physical activity.

Usually, the first two hours of work are the best time to get your most important task worked on. This is the time you need to be focused, so shut that door, put on your noise-cancelling headphones and go for it.

Then at the end of the day, do another false commute as a finisher. Don't just walk from your desk to the kitchen and then expect to shut down from work.

There has been lots of discussion around setting boundaries, and as a senior business leader, you need to have this at the forefront of your mind.

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Keep the space organised

Think about how the following will impact you.

  1. You might not have that much space; therefore, making sure that it's organised will help.
  2. You will be moving from home to office and back again, so make sure that you don't forget this is going to be necessary.
  3. You might be sharing this space with someone; therefore, you don't want papers getting mixed up.

Limit distractions

Obviously, there are increased distractions when working from home - partners, children; the list is endless. We cannot control all these distractions, so the point is to limit as much as possible. The first few points in this resource will help, but understand that is going to happen. Make sure that people know you are working, shut the door, put a sign-up, wear those headphones.

When doing the most important task, shut down email and phone notifications; remember that the key to high performance is focusing on one task at a time and being completely engaged.

Again, professional athletes cannot train at 100% all the time, and they need breaks. The same is true for our minds; most people can only do 90 minutes of highly concentrated work, then they require a break. Make sure that this rest is actual rest and not looking at another screen. Get outside. Looking with a narrow focus increases stress while being outside opens up our vision and helps reduce stress.

If everyone completes 90 minutes of highly focused work per day (with no distractions), I genuinely believe that stress and fatigue will be reduced.


Plan colleague connections

You will be heading into the office at points during the week; the office will become a meeting and brainstorming environment. Plan these sessions. Creating group flow (check my resource on group flow) is the key to successful team performance. Therefore, making the right conversations, environments, and outcomes is critical to an organisations success.


I hope that you found these points helpful. If you have any questions, please drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Author Bio

LeeEldridge2020 Lee Eldridge is a leading human performance coach and founder of The Athlete Tribe. The Athlete Tribe is a bespoke human performance group, created to enable people to achieve—and sustain—their full potential. Founded in 2019, he offers a unique performance system designed around the principle that Everyone’s An Athlete, using proven techniques in adaptive leadership and flow.