Build productivity amid sudden change

Take Control of
Working from Home Temporarily

Glenn Fleishman

We’re in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. In the middle of a global viral outbreak, you were told or asked to work from home—and you’ve never or rarely had to be productive where you live before. What to do? We’re here to take some stress out of your life with a new, free book that details how to set up a home office and balance work and home life for those not accustomed to it.

All Take Control books are delivered in three ebook formats—PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle)—and can be read on nearly any device.


Clear selection

Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily is a free 66-page book tailored for the sudden onset of telecommuting. It’s our way of trying to help.

We advise you on how to stake out a space to work, how to equip it either with material you already have or what to buy if you can afford to invest in the space. Do you want to stand or sit? (Get a better chair or a laptop or monitor riser.) Should you get an external monitor if you don’t have one? (Yes!)

The book delves into furniture and hardware setup, including the right kind of audio input and output for calls and videoconferencing, as well as looking at security, collaboration, and communication software tools you may be unfamiliar with or might set up for your team or company.

Part of the difficulty in working from home is creating a separation—physically if possible and psychologically—from the rest of your home life. This can take as much effort if you live alone as if you have a partner, roommates, or an extended family. We delve into strategies for staking boundaries, working around others, and trying to communicate limitations to your work that arise from this necessary period of isolation.

For parents, we know that you may have school-age kids at home for weeks or months, and there’s a chapter with suggestions on how to juggle those obligations with your work requirements.

And we remind you to be kind to yourself, take breaks, and not replace an absent commute with simply more work. A little tea or coffee, some stretching, and a brisk walk around the block while maintaining social distancing can go miles towards boosting your mood. This isn’t easy for anyone—it’s OK to admit that.

We’re all navigating this new world together, and we want to help. Author Glenn Fleishman, a veteran freelancer, who has spent the last decade working full-time in a home office, solicited advice from dozens of Take Control Books authors, contributors to the Mac publication TidBITS, and friends and acquaintances who have hundreds of years of collective remote work experience.

If you’re like us—Glenn and Take Control Books owners Joe and Morgen—you feel somewhat helpless in the face of forces beyond our control and with no clear path forward, just that there is a path forward. We contributed our time to this book to provide a little light from our experiences and those of many others who donated their tips and observations.

We welcome your feedback and wish you all the best in managing this transition.

In this book, you’ll learn more about how to:

  • Stake out a physical space, even if it involves setting up a curtain or moving a bookshelf
  • Pick or adjust a chair if you plan to sit
  • Figure out the right mic and headphones or speakers for your needs
  • Add a monitor for efficiency, or use software to turn an iPad or other devices into a second display
  • Stand while you work without necessarily investing in a new desk
  • Set working hours to avoid never being off the clock
  • Put up a sign or otherwise signify when you’re working to those around you
  • Invest a tiny amount or a lot into noise-canceling headphones or earbuds
  • Use videoconferencing to replace meetings and casual conversation you miss from an office
  • Adjust your expectations and that of your employer to how much work you can produce, initially and in the long haul
  • Take regular breaks to avoid burnout, but if you get in the zone, you can stay there, too
  • Juggle the simultaneous burdens of full-time home parenting with home working
  • Remember to eat lunch
Glenn Fleishman

About Glenn Fleishman

Glenn Fleishman is a veteran technology writer who has contributed to dozens of publications across his career, including Macworld, Fast Company, and Increment. He has also written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series. He is currently building 100 tiny type museums full of real printing artifacts. Glenn lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

What’s New in Version 1.2

The section on using a virtual private network (VPN) was expanded to offer more specific advance for major operating systems on configuration and connections; see “Enable a Virtual Private Network.”

I also added a detailed new section on backing up files, something you may have not needed to manage previously, because your company handled that; see “Set Up File Backups.”

Glenn Fleishman Talks Working from Home with Chuck Joiner

Posted by Joe Kissell on March 19, 2020

Glenn Fleishman discussed his new (free!) book, Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices in a special two-part interview.

In Part 1, Glenn covers topics such as setting up your workspace and equipment, dealing with ergonomics, and coping with other people in your living space.

In Part 2, Glenn discusses video and audio conferencing tips, as well as how to stay focused when not in the office.

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