23 Mar 2020
How to handle distractions when working from home

How to handle distractions when working from home

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube videos… we get it. It’s easy to become distracted when you’re working remotely. And sometimes you need those little bursts of downtime, especially if you’re able to share them virtually via an online office watercooler like Slack or Microsoft Teams. But let’s face it: working remotely still means staying motivated and getting your job done.

Don’t succumb to these distractions

Social media

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. It’s so easy to think you’ll quickly check your feed but then you end up down a rabbit hole. Again, unless your work requires it, keep the socials off your work computer or tablet, and save them for your downtime.


It’s easy to think you’ll just sweep the kitchen floor. Or put the washing on (and then hang it out). The best thing to do is assign your chores to your official downtime, just like you would in an office.

Going out for coffee

We’ve all got those romantic ideas of working from a café. But chances are, you won’t get any work done because you’ll either people watch, or run into people you know. And in this time of social distancing, it’s probably safer to have your coffee breaks during assigned times at home.

Person watching TV


Unless your job requires you stay on top of the news, avoid having a TV in your home office. It’s too easy to get distracted by what’s on, and you’ll berate yourself for the time you’ve lost.

Email substitutes

Slack, Microsoft Teams and other similar applications, are billed as the answer to email overload. Problem is, it’s easy to be distracted by constant pings from messages and threads. Email can be a better tool and one you can deal with at an appropriate time. It helps to set out of office alerts or change your status to avoid distraction - but signing out of these apps altogether can really help you focus. Some workplaces mandate these tools though, so make sure you follow any set guidelines.

Make time to log out

The internet is a constant hosepipe of information (and distractions) flowing onto our screens.

We’ve mentioned avoiding things like the socials and email substitutes as a way of getting work done, but sometimes the best way to focus is to disconnect from the internet altogether.

If you schedule dedicated offline time throughout the day make sure you let your remote team know what you’ve scheduled. They can always reach you by phone if they really need you.

Being offline often means you’re going to get more work done in a shorter period. The upside? A boost to your efficiency, and a feeling of a job well done.

This advice is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice. To decide if QBE’s products are right for you, please ensure you obtain and consider the Policy Wording or Product Disclosure Statements and Target Market Determinations, available online at QBE.com/au. Insurance issued and underwritten by QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545).


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