'Take your mouse home!' Just 29 useful tips on working from home from women who've mastered it.


It’s something we’re going to have to acknowledge (and just deal with): a lot of us will be working from home in the very near future.

The reason is, of course, coronavirus. Whether it’s because you’re self-isolating or your office has enforced a ‘work from home policy’, for most of us this will mean shifting our desks to our homes.

It’s understandably, a bit of a transition.

Take these work day exercise tips from the office to your home. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

Say what you will about the constant chatter of an open-plan office, but the distractions seem to pile up once it’s just you, your kitchen table (or home office, if you’re lucky) and everything else that’s buzzing around your home. Children, pets and that never-ending pile of washing, included.

So how do you do it? And how do you do it well?

This was the question scientist, author and Twitter user Emily Lakdawalla, @elakdawalla, asked her followers, with her post gathering over 1,900 responses so far.



From how to maintain contact with the outside world, to the importance of taking your breaks, here are 29 pieces of easy-to-implement advice to get you through this period and beyond.

1. “Set up a comfortable working station with a good chair, water, and good lighting.”

2. “Schedule morning meetings with your team, even if you don’t have anything you ‘need’ to go through. Sharing what you’ll be focusing on today will make you feel accountable and you’ll be more productive. Also good for getting in some social contact.”


3. “If you start at a reasonable time, go for a walk or do a quick workout pre-work so you feel less antsy just sitting there all day. You don’t even have a commute, so you literally don’t move and therefore get zero moving endorphins, and it can feel a bit weird.”

4. “Schedule breaks to phone a friend, family member or colleague, or just talk to whoever is at home with you. This way you’re still getting your ‘social fix’ that the office space also gives you.”

5. “Take your mouse! The trackpad thing gets old real quick.”

6. “Go for a walk. Make a point of that. If you’re in isolation, do some burpees or something similar.”

7. “Don’t feel guilty for taking normal workday breaks. You have fewer distractions at home, so it’s easy to just power through. FORCE yourself up to get a coffee, or to get a few minutes of fresh air every now and then.”

8. “I think I’m going to use that tip from Margaret Atwood on the latest WorkLife podcast (which she uses to avoid procrastination) of having a ‘To Don’t’ list. For example, don’t go on social media between this time and this time, don’t be tempted to do laundry, etc.”

9. “Don’t ever, ever work from bed. It’ll mess up your sleep. Your brain will start associating bed with work.”

10. “I always get ready in the morning as if I’m not going to work from home. I find staying in my pyjamas or comfy clothes makes me feel lethargic and sleepy the whole day.”


11. “Pack everything away at the end of the day, so you establish a boundary between work time and chill time.”

12. “You can have multiple places to work. I tend to follow the sun around the house. I have sitting and standing spaces, and nice places to read.”

13. “Consider using the time it would take you to commute to read, have coffee or listen to a podcast.”

14. “Set and stick to work hours. You can split hours morning/night with ‘an afternoon off-period’. It’s easy to get distracted by the flexibility to take a social call, duck out for an errand, or procrastinate with chores.”

15. “Work your usual office hours. After 3pm when the kids come home is most difficult so plan for it. Take walks during conference calls. Go out for coffee and lunch. No TV in the background. Treat it like a normal day at the office.”

16. “Distractions are everywhere, so be realistic and allocate time to capitalise on opportunities; go to the gym; go for a walk when the sun is out, rather than drifting into things. Structure is everything and I am terrible at it!”

17. “Let music help shift your mood. A lot of us might hate that speaker in the office when we need to focus but a little music at certain points during the day can help revive your vibe! I tend to choose relaxing music in the morning when I’m usually stressed trying to get through things, and upbeat music later to maintain energy.”

18. “One of the best things about working from home is being able to have a power nap after lunch. Makes you so much more productive in the afternoon.”


19. “Be clear with family (especially kids) in advance that you can’t be disturbed.”

20. “Count the achievements, not the minutes worked.”

21. “Ignore all advice from other people… do whatever fits your lifestyle best.”

22. “Always get up and move/walk every hour.”

23. “Eat meals. It is so easy to forget to feed yourself, especially if your start and stop times end up shifting a little. Make sure you stop and eat and stay hydrated.”

24. “In the beginning, I had to set a timer. I worked for 25 minutes and then took a 10 minute break to let myself get distracted. Like emptying my dishwasher or texting a boy or whatever. Now I’m on autopilot but it took me a solid year of setting a timer.”

25. “Whether it’s Slack or email or whatever: Type about facts, use voice for ideas.”

26. “Most browsers have features for blocking specific websites, it’s good to do some introspection and block things you know would be distracting.”

27. “Turn off notifications.”

28. “Just say no to house chores. Set a schedule and only transition to housework once you achieve either a goal or the end of your workday.”

29. “Get up at the same reasonable time every day.”

What’s your best tip or hack for working from home? Tell us in a comment below.