Your office chair is your sofa. Your commute is the length of your hallway. Your snack drawer is your entire kitchen. Think it’s a dream? Not always.
Jobs that let you work from home are all the rage these days. According to a 2017 survey of more than 15,000 working adults, 43% of respondents said they spent at least some time in 2016 working remotely— 12% higher than in 2012. Not only are more people working from home, they’re also doing so more often... Of those surveyed, 31% worked from home four to five days per week, up from 24% in 2012.
Personally, I believe that working from home is becoming more and more of a hot topic because of how tight the marketplace is, a winning way that a company can compete for top talent is by luring would-be employees and retain existing ones with creature comforts. Companies will do all sorts of things to entice employees, including offering flex time and work-from-home options. Indeed, 77% of workers said they’d be more likely to accept a job if it offered the ability to work from home at least some of the time.
Or course, while working from your sofa (or bed) sounds great in theory, like everything else, it’s important to understand the pros and cons before you start picking out home office furniture. In fact, 81% of workers in the survey admit there are downsides to working remotely.
If you’re considering a work from home opportunity, here are some of the potential advantages and pitfalls to think about before you log in from home.
You are truly independent. It’s much more than just the allure of getting to work in your pyjamas. Working from home means you’ll have to rely on self-motivation, self-discipline, focus, and concentration.However, these are really critical components for success anyway. It sounds simple and obvious but time management is a very important skill to have.
You can get more work done, true, but that’s as long as you’re not sneaking off to yoga class and hitting the golf course, if you don’t, then of course you could well be more productive when working from home.
To start with you will save time, a remote worker isn’t spending hours commuting, In fact, by working at home, many people eliminate their often stressful long commutes, adding to a more stress-free productive day. Plus, you won’t have the possible annoyances of office life: interruptions, loud co-workers, chatter, etc.
You’ll become a communications expert. Having a quick meeting in the board room isn’t possible so you will have to get up to speed on what communication tools are available, from texting, Skyping, emailing, web meetings—out of necessity, you will become very savvy in all of those. In today’s digital world, also knowing how to navigate these technologies makes you more marketable.
You may forget to log off. While people might think working from home means doing less, the opposite might be true for diligent employees. When you don’t have that separation of going to and from the office, your workday kind of blurs together into your home life, feeling like you’re always “at work” could even lead to burnout.
You can feel out of the loop. You might not realise it until you’re not there but there is a lot of casual collaboration that happens in an office. Whether it’s picking up on the best practices of your colleagues or having an impromptu brainstorming session over lunch, it’s hard to replicate that from home.
You might not have full access to technology platforms. For the most part, cloud technology has made it easier than ever for remote workers to work from anywhere. However, there are situations in which data security or consumer protection concerns might prevent telecommuters from having full access.
Co-workers might accuse you of slacking. When you work from home and can’t get to a call or email right away, your co-workers may not give you as much leeway as they might if you were in the office. People might wonder if you’re taking it easy rather than pulling your weight, the onus is on the work-from-home individual to be overcommunicating what they’re doing and what they’re accomplishing.
Tips for working from home
Don’t underestimate face time, being present. Go to meetings, events, happy hours, trainings, and other outings as often as you can, there are fewer such opportunities for spontaneous team building when working remotely, so it is important to be proactive in finding ways to engage your co-workers.
The next best thing? Pick up the phone to congratulate someone after a job well done, or the completion of a project rather than sending an impersonal email or IM.
Keep it professional. Even if you don’t have a dedicated office, try to set up a workspace and make it off limits to the rest of your household while you’re working. There’s nothing worse than being on an important work call only to have the doorbell ringing, the dog barking, and the kids screaming in the background.
Be responsive. Get in the habit of sending a prompt reply whenever you get an email, even if it’s just to say, got it, or, I’ll get back to you by lunch. Do your best to be available for conference calls or other collaborations, even if you don’t have strict work hours.
Set specific touchpoints with your team. It’s smart to set a time each day/week for regular check-ins with your manager and/or your colleagues. That will not only help you stay accountable, but it will also remind your office counterparts that you’re still an important part of the team.
Always strive to be a better worker:
By entering into a work-from-home situation with the right mindset—knowing you may actually be putting in more effort than before—you can do a great job and enjoy the benefits that go along with it. Could you use some help achieving that balance? If so please contact me directly, I have multiple roles across the UK IT channel with first class work from home opportunities.