Do’s and Don’ts for Home Office Professionalism

Do’s and Don’ts for Home Office Professionalism

Now that the majority of us are working from home, I thought I’d send along a quick list of do’s and don’ts for ensuring maximum home office professionalism—and perhaps improving efficiency:

1. Meetings will be shorter, you will look and sound better on camera, and you may even burn more calories if you invest in a standing desk. I like Versadesk and they are cleverly having a sale right now.

2. If you’re working on a big project, you can easily “expand” the size of your office by incorporating pages from a Post-It Table Top Pad: these white board-sized Post Its are a great way to give a conference-room sized feel to a closet-sized office. (As you can see, in the picture above, they are a perennial feature of my office.)

3. A countdown clock is a great way to ensure you stay on task.

4. It might also be useful to get a countdown clock for your family room to help younger members of your “staff” remember when you will be available to them again.

5. Sometimes people have trouble believing that you are actually working. To reinforce this boundary, I recommend:

  • Starting conversations with “What can I do for you?” as opposed to, “How are you?”
  • Rehearsing a few phrases you can use to move the conversation along. For example, “Oh, Hi – I’m working toward a deadline…just in the middle of finishing a project…etc.  May I call you back tonight?”

6. If your meeting begins at 1 p.m., be online by 12:55. (After all, you would build in extra time if you were on your way to an onsite meeting.) Have the email/telephone number of the organizer in front of you so you are prepared should you run into a technical difficulty.

7. If you have to trouble shoot, stay in the present. Saying things like, “This worked fine yesterday,” (hopefully) isn’t something you’d hear from in-office tech support.

8. If you’re on a group meeting, mute yourself when you’re not speaking. I am sure you will have controlled for interruptions from kids/pets/partners but the best laid plans…

9. As noted in my post “Don’t Work in a Goat’s Stomach”, plan to do a “sweep” of your office at least twice day to rid yourself of banana peels, old coffee cups, etc. Physical clutter breeds mental clutter.

10. While it’s so so tempting to spend the day in your pajamas (or less), getting dressed in a semblance of work clothes is likely to boost your productivity—at least put on pants.


For a quick recap of do’s and don’ts for presenting your best self on camera check out “When You’re Ready for Your Close Up”