Are You Disciplined Enough to Work from Home?

The dream of many employees is to sit around their homes in their pajamas and work off of a laptop. Okay, while some may have different visions of how working from home will go down, you get the picture.

If you’re someone with an offer to work from home, will you take it? Whether working for someone or running your own home business; avoid distractions.

For many individuals, the biggest distraction in working from home can be themselves. No matter how hard they try, they find a way or ways to distract them. As such, the work never gets done.

In order for you to be a productive home worker, what will it take?

Being Disciplined and Focused

So that you are able to get the most out of your home working opportunities, remember these tips:

  1. Discipline

Above all else, can you stay disciplined enough to work out of your home?

For instance, what if you live blocks from the beach or downtown? Will you tempt fate to go off and relax under the sun or explore the shops and other businesses?

Staying disciplined means your work will always come first no matter what temptations. Remember, it is that work keeping a roof over your head in the first place.

Once you’re done with your work for the day, feel free to go out and relax and explore as much as you want.

  1. Focus

Staying focused while working from home can be tricky at times.

Among the disruptions you can have:

  • Children wanting your attention
  • Your significant other is also demanding your attention
  • Having work done on your home or apartment all the time
  • Unwanted phone calls

As for those unwanted phone calls, you do have an option or two there.

One trick is doing a reverse phone search.

Such a search allows you to find out where that call or calls originates from. Often, it may be telemarketing, something you likely do not have time for.

It is also important that you let family and friends know that work from home is not a joke. Some people feel as if those working out of their homes have all kinds of time for things other than their jobs.

In a nice way, be clear that your work time is important to you.

  1. Hours

Finally, the hours you set at home are important.

While you may very well have flexibility with those hours, try and keep as close to a 9-to-5 schedule as possible. This is even more so if those are the hours you worked for others in the past.

The last thing you want to do is veer off course of what you’re used to for the most part. If working for someone from home, remind them you are not a doctor on call 24/7.

Some employers might think that to be the case since you are working out of your house.

The same holds true if you run a business out of your home. You do have other things to do on your non-work hours.

Remember, earning money for your business is what keeps you solvent.

Whether the work from home is for your employer or for you as a self-employed individual, make it count.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics on the web.

Working from Home: Pros and Cons

Making the decision to really give up a high flying job with potential, and give up the 9-to-5 office-based job is a lot harder than you might imagine. Sure, if you guaranteed anyone that it would 100% work, then making the decision would be simple. Most people working in offices want to be elsewhere, let’s face it, and it was the same for me.

So what are the hurdles you have to overcome to make it work? The cons? These can be summed up as:

  • Distractions from your home life – TV, social media, friends, and family
  • Loneliness
  • Distance from colleagues – if you have colleagues
  • Discipline – you need to self-motivate
  • Blurring the line between home life and work life

However, get these things right, and there are many, many pluses to working from home including:

  • Flexibility to design your own schedules
  • Ability to take more time off
  • No commute
  • No micromanaging bosses
  • You can work where you want
  • You can wear what you want

You can read my full article to find out more about my pros and cons of working from home.

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and aging, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

How Is Your Office Communicating?

communicatingThe traditional office setting is no longer a given when it comes to running your business. Time was that everyone knew what to expect from an office, down to the kettle in the break room.

These days businesses are embracing more flexible models of working that can make a difference to how an office is run. As things change, good communications become even more important than ever.

So just what changes are afoot and what can your business do to help keep communications strong?

Traditional Office Is Changing

The old style of office is certainly changing. It’s not uncommon now to have more than one office for your business, often in quite different geographical locations. This can even include offices abroad.

Telecommuting is changing the face of the office too. With telecommuting on the rise it’s becoming more and more common for staff members to work away from the office part or even full time.

You might also notice your workforce becoming more mobile in terms of getting out and about to meet customers.

Pros and Cons of More Flexible Offices

A more flexible office set up has a lot going for it. The ability to work outside of the office cuts out commuting. This can boost staff morale, and can also help you retain top talent who perhaps couldn’t make it to your location every day.

Working out of more locations and having colleagues’ abroad opens your business up to a broader market. You can expand into other places and build a strong team without needing to be in the same city, or even country.

On the other hand, a more flexible office model does come with some challenges. As the article “Alternatives to the Traditional Office” says, collaborating with co-workers on projects can be difficult at the best of times. Having a more disparate work force can add to those difficulties.

A more flexible office can also bring challenges in terms of team bonding and building and keeping a strong company culture, as colleagues spend less time communicating face to face.

Importance of Good Communications

Good communication is a keystone of any business, no matter what your office model. However, there’s no doubt that communication should be even more of a priority if your office is more flexible.

Making communications a priority is the solution to making sure your business runs effectively no matter how flexible your office becomes. Good communications will make sure you deliver great customer service and keep things running smoothly no matter what.

Focusing on communications also means your staff will be able to bond and work well as a team, no matter how far apart they are geographically. Putting the effort in to communicate well will boost collaboration and keep your company culture strong.

How You Can Keep Communications Strong

The first step to keeping communications strong is to pay attention and make your office communications a priority. Don’t let it drift – keep tabs on how well it is working, and what you need to change.

Making use of flexible communication options such as VoIP (voice over internet protocol) telephones and Cloud-based storage will make it easy for your team to stay in touch and share vital information with each other wherever they are.

You can also embrace tools such as teleconferencing and video chats to encourage real-time communications even if your staff members are hundreds of miles apart.

Have Expectations in Place

Setting expectations is vital. Staff who telecommute or work out of different locations should know what is expected of them. This includes where and when to report back on their work, how often they are expected to get into the office, and when they should check in with their colleagues.

A more flexible office model can be a real boon for your business, giving you flexibility and even lowering the amount you need to spend on physical space.

Make communications a priority and your business will benefit no matter what your office set up.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on topics including social media, SEO that works, and the importance of good office communications.

Opening up New Opportunities for Your Workspace

800_hiringThe workplace is constantly changing. With that in mind, is your business keeping up?

As technology provides more flexible working opportunities and workers’ expectations of the workplace shift, going to work is a very different experience than it would have been just 10 years ago.

Just what are some of the main changes taking place and how can they impact your business?

More Collaborative Working

The workplace is becoming more collaborative. More collaboration can be seen in everything from instant messaging to Google Docs, to work flow systems that let team members see which tasks they need to do and find out where everyone else is on a project.

The traditional model of a manager giving orders and everyone following is changing, as employees get more and more involved with decision making processes, making each business a truly team effort.

Encouraging more collaborative working is a good step for your business. More collaboration can lead to better communication and more efficient working.

A more team-focused culture means your employees will feel more heard, and will be more likely to get involved and be invested in your company’s success.

Increase in Telecommuting

As the article “The Dawning of Wide Open Workspace Slideshare” points out, as many as 3.9 million Americans are expected to telecommute by 2015.

The increase in telecommuting is changing the way people do business. More flexible working and the technology to stay in touch means workers can achieve great things for your company without coming in to the office.

Cloud-based technology, smart phones, and collaborative software make it easier than ever for your team to work and work together, no matter where they are.

Telecommuting is good news for businesses. Contrary to what employers fear, telecommuting can make workers more productive, by giving them the freedom to work more flexibly, and letting them know that your business supports them in that.

More Global Teams

Working with colleagues from around the country or even the world has never been easier. High-speed internet connections and the increasing opportunity for businesses to embrace a global audience is changing the shape of businesses.

Colleagues in one office may now find themselves working alongside team members from disparate locations.

More global teams are good news for your business. As well as tapping into the potential of other markets, more global working gives your team the chance to work with colleagues from a range of places, strengthening their knowledge and giving them new skills.

Changing Workspace and Culture

Working culture is changing, and this is reflected in changes in the layout of offices themselves. Many offices now are adopting a more open layout with plenty of areas where team members can sit down together to get some work done.

A good work-life balance and finding satisfaction at work matter more now than ever. Employees expect to be heard, and valued, which in turn means a more involved team with fresh ideas.

A more fulfilling and open workplace culture can reap big rewards for your business, including a more committed and engaged team, and a more positive office culture which is just as productive, if not more so, but much more enjoyable to be in.

Workplaces and the way team members work together are changing more and more.

By embracing these changes and finding the best ways to work with them, you can help create a rewarding culture and flexible workplace that people will want to be part of.

As an employer, what do you most value in a workplace?

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including branding, inbound marketing, flexible working and social media.

Is Telecommuting For Your Business?

social_hiringWhen you think of telecommuting, what do you imagine? For some employers, there is a real fear that their employees will be sitting at home relaxing a little bit too much and not getting the work done. But in actual fact, telecommuting can increase productivity and raise employee morale, which is good news for telecommuting employees and the businesses who welcome remote working.

Yet according to the University of South Australia, only about 16% of employees currently work from home regularly. Could your company be missing out on a way of working that will benefit you and your employees? How can you decide if telecommuting is for you, and how can you implement with as little stress as possible?

What Are Benefits of Telecommuting?

Some major Australian companies have already taken steps into telecommuting and found it beneficial for their business. Cisco Australia is a strong supporter of telecommuting, with 90% of its global workforce teleworking at least one day a week. The result? Employees who are happier and more productive.

As well as cutting out the stress of the daily commute, telecommuting sends your employees the message that you trust them to do their jobs well and that you’re a flexible employer who cares about them. A strong telecommuting policy can also cut your expenses as you need less office space, heat and light to run your business.

When is Telecommuting the Right Call?

Telecommuting isn’t right for every business. Some jobs naturally need a person on site. It’s hard to imagine a successful telecommuting surgeon or chef for example. But for jobs in many industries, telecommuting is a good fit. To figure out if telecommuting is right for your business, ask yourself:

Which jobs could my employees do from home as effectively without being in the office?

If there are jobs in your company that could just as easily be done from home, then you’re in a position to consider telecommuting. The other thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking about the telecommuting trend and how your company can handle it is infrastructure.

Online services such as Google Docs and Dropbox can be used to help with file sharing, while Skype and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) communications can be used alongside email to help your telecommuting employees keep in touch.

How Can You Make Telecommuting Work for You?

The key to making telecommuting work for your business is developing a strong telecommuting policy with good ground rules.

That way, your employees will know what is expected of them and what is allowed, and you’ll all have a way to touch base and check in that expectations are being met. When drawing up your plan, be sure to include:

  • How often your employees can telecommute;
  • Whether any particular days or times are not eligible;
  • The hours your employees will be expected to be contactable by phone or email while telecommuting;
  • What your employees are expected to achieve while out of the office;
  • How often your employees are expected to check in with you;
  • How often they are expected to come to the office, whether for regular check ins or events such as meetings.

With a strong policy in place, telecommuting can bring big benefits to your business, resulting in happier employees who get more done.

Make an effort to make telecommuting part of contributing to your team rather than a way to get out of the office and you’ll be off on the right foot.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, business