The number of people working from home is ever increasing, and in recent years, this trend has seen a massive shift in the way people work. More and more people are saying goodbye to the daily commute (at least for a few days a week), and working in a completely different way. Because of improvements in technology, from Facetime, Skype, cloud computing, and laptop computers themselves, it means that we don’t need to be physically in an office in order to get all of your work done. In fact, there are plenty of studies that have looked into this and have found that in many instances, working from home can mean that you work even more effectively.
Of course, working from home is likely to appeal to many employees. No commute, flexibility around some other commitments, and generally a more relaxed working day. But it wouldn’t be working more and more if employers also didn’t see the benefits from their side of things as well. Many companies have even put into place some virtual workplaces and have seen the cost savings that can come from having a team that work flexibly.
Having a virtual workplace can help to create employee productivity, and can mean less missed days off work because of illness or other commitments or problems with commuting. So for that reason, it can be a big benefit for employers. Plus, it can mean a larger pool of talent to choose from when recruiting, because the team could technically be based anywhere. Having a workforce that is distributed, potentially around the world, can help to keep daily operations keep going in the office as well, if there is something that is a disaster or a problem in the office (like a flood or a fire).
Though this can all sound great and really appealing for someone wanting to create a better work-life balance, there can be some drawbacks, as there are with everything. So it is good to know what can come along with the appeal of working for yourself or not having to commute, as some days won’t be as rosy. So here are some of the things to think about if you do work from home a little already or if you want to work from home (or work for yourself) soon.
Success Is Up to You
When you work in an office, there is a little bit of motivation around you as there is a team of people all working towards the same thing. You can have meetings in person which some people will prefer and find works better for them. If you work from home, then the work that you get done, when you get it done, and how you get it done, is going to be completely up to you. So the success and productivity that you have is going to be up to you. As a result, you will want to make sure that you are organized and focused to get the work done. For some people they will really thrive in this environment. For others, they will need some other things in place to help motivate them and to reduce any distractions. You can’t blame chatty colleagues or a pesky boss for a day that is less than productive, so make sure that you are motivated if you really want to make working from home work for you.
Stick to Your Work Schedule
All people who spend time working from home will have to deal with people that don’t really understand what they do. There is a bit of a joke with people that think that working from home isn’t really working. But as anyone who has done this before will know, you still have to get your work done, so you need to make sure that you are sticking with working hours to get it all done. Of course, there is a bit of flexibility with the hours that you work, as you might take a slightly longer lunch break to have a class at the gym, but then just work a little later into the evening, for example. If you really want to stick to your schedule and keep yourself motivated, then you need to make sure that you really stick to the hours that you want to work, and make sure people know about them.
There can be some distractions that come with working from home, and they can naturally take some time and can distract you. There can be some typical interruptions like phone calls, people calling by the house, and sick children off school, for example. But there are also some additional boundaries that can be pushed if you’re not too careful. Set yourself limits and decide what hours you want to work.
Equipment to Make Things Easier
There are some pieces of kit and some tools that are going to help you to make things work much better when you’re working from home. There will be things like a laptop that, of course, you are going to need. Being set up with a broadband means that you can be on your way. But what happens when your system has run out of application memory? You’ll be at home no longer able to carry on with your work. So having something like cloud computing setup is something that can make a massive difference so that you have extra storage and then you can also access files and documents from other team members that are also working from home or in the office.
Think about the things that will make your working day much easier. Will having a headset for phone calls and conference calls be easier, as you need to write things down as the meetings go on? How about a scanner? Think about the day to day of your job, and then you can go from there once you know what is going to make it easier. If people are faced with a roadblock when it comes to work, they will just move on or do something else. So keep yourself productive by doing what you can to get the items and equipment that are going to help.
You Can’t Leave the Office
When you work in an office you have the benefit of just being able to log off the computer and walk away from a stressful day. But it can be really hard to switch off when you are working from home, as your ‘office’ will always be there. It can be easy to just log on your computer to go through emails of an evening, but before you know it, time can fly and you’ve started doing other things. So you need to make sure that you are strict with yourself and remember your working hours. You should also think about your deadlines, and make sure that you are working when you can and planning out your day and your week.
Working from home can be something that can be really exciting, and if working for yourself, can be something that ends up being profitable. But if you are planning to work from home, or want to pitch to an employer about being able to do so, you need to know what best to do and to be best prepared. It can be a great way to get away from the daily grind, which is great for health reasons and for balance in your life. But there are plenty of extra responsibilities that come with this kind of freedom, as you need to be disciplined and organized. The work doesn’t change; you’ll still be doing the same work. You’ll just be in a different environment and in a different mindset, so make sure that it works for you.