Productivity Tip: Switch Microsoft Office to Work Offline

From YouTube to Reddit to Outlook, distractions have become an everyday part of our present digital life. As the human brain switches between tasks, we go through a degradation of performance that could affect every aspect of our cognition and influence our work negatively. A study by the University of California, Irvine reveals that it takes 25 minutes on average to get back on track after an interruption. Research proves that multitasking is not always successful. In reality, doing two things well at the same time is only possible when at least one of the tasks is automated.

As far as Outlook goes, we all know that only a few e-mails require immediate attention. Since Microsoft Outlook is always open on your PC, the incoming emails can easily distract you. One of the simplest solutions for avoiding interruptions and distractions like unwanted in-coming emails is setting Microsoft Outlook to the ‘Work Offline’ mode.

How Does It Help?

Outlook is a tool that should boost your productivity instead of slowing you down. The secret lies in not jumping to check it every time it dings. If you follow this suggestion, Outlook works better and interrupts you less often by only notifying you when you are ready to view and respond. The top three reasons for switching your Outlook to Work Offline mode are:

  1. Lack of an internet connection (while traveling)
  2. Slow or mediocre internet connection
  3. For cleaning your inbox without the disruption of new mails arriving or completing other tasks

If you are a busy manager or owner trying to run a business, always being online on Microsoft Outlook may mean you are interrupted every minute or so. Of course, there are important emails from potential clients or stakeholders, however, most emails can wait. Working offline will help you clean up your inbox, reply to important emails and allow you to focus more on getting actual work done.

Some things you can do while Microsoft Outlook is offline:

  • Finish reading all un-read messages
  • Respond to important messages
  • Write a new message
  • Update your calendar
  • Respond to requests
  • Edit contacts
  • Complete other work projects

Working offline in Outlook also allows a smooth internet connection and speed in case you are downloading large files or working on an extensive project taking up memory and bandwidth.

How to Switch It Off

As soon as your computer connects to the network, Outlook will connect to your mailbox automatically. However, if you wish to disconnect it manually, open Outlook and choose the Send/Receive option from the ribbon and select the Work Offline feature indicated there. The taskbar icon at the bottom will show you are not connected to your mailbox.

Keep in mind that you will not be able to receive or send any emails when using the offline phase. After disconnecting it manually, you will have to click the Work Offline button again in order to reconnect with Exchange.


Avoiding distractions while working is tough. Working offline in Outlook offers tremendous benefits that you cannot overlook. Not only you are saved from being interrupted every time a new email pop ups, your internet connection speeds up and allows you to wrap up other projects that need your undivided attention.

Garner IT Consulting can help you and your business stay focused on high level priorities in many ways. Call us at 850.250.3210 or drop by our offices at 1330 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, Bay County, Florida.

Best wishes, Randall and Julie Garner and the entire Garner IT professional team


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