Do you want to work from home?
Imagine waking up, then walking 10 steps to your office! No traffic hassles. No feeling like you’re a sheep on a bus. No need to dress up. How cool and easy would that be?
Working from home can be great. But it can also raise real problems. Here’s why and here are some tips to working from home.
The problems of working from home.
The obvious one is that you’re away from every else in the office. I mean, literally, you’re nowhere to be seen. So, do you crave the social interactions? The birthday cake surprises. The ‘how was your weekend’ chat. The Friday afternoon social drinks. The feeling of collective success. All of these are social benefits of working together in an office. If you can’t live without them, then working from home is not going to work so well for you.
Another one is, “what about getting stuff done”? Like meeting people. Do you really feel OK in having a meeting with a client or supplier in your own home? What about someone taking your calls. Or, someone to do the admin tasks for you. Working from home might limit your options here.
Or, will you get forgotten? When it comes time for someone to be promoted, maybe it’s the person who’s ‘on the radar’ in ‘in sight’ of the boss when it comes to decision time. You might be doing a fabulous job working from home, but have you heard of ‘out of sight – out of mind’? Maybe it’s real.
Think about the environment. With you not needing to travel to and from work each day, that’s a great saving, particularly if you’re driving. And, if everyone worked from home, is there any need to have an office/building per business? Maybe those resources can be put towards building more homes for people to work/live in?
The benefits of working from home.
If you’re OK with all the potential problems, then working from home can be really great. You’ll definitely have more time in your day. How much time do you spend getting to and from work now? And how much energy does that sap out of you? Further, you don’t get nearly as many interruptions, which means you can get more done.
Don’t forget about flexibility! As long as you’re on top of your job, you could possibly sneak out to watch your kids in their athletics carnival. Then, once the kids are in bed, you can drop back in to work to catch up on anything missed. So convenient! Flexibility is a wonderful work-life balance thing.
How do you set yourself up for working from home?
Here are a few really good tips to follow if you want to work from home.
- Dedicate a space to your work. The kitchen bench is OK … but, it’ll get taken over, and you’ll get pushed aside. So, find a space where you can call ‘the office’. It doesn’t need to be a room, but at least you can be away from normal home stuff so you can concentrate on your work.
- Have all the resources you need. Most stuff is online, but be sure you have a good laptop, chair, desk, filing cabinets, etc. Ikea or Officeworks normally have great space-saving home office stuff you can buy.
- Be disciplined. You’ve got be able to say, “I’ve got work to do” and go and do it. Yes, you can be flexible, but you avoid work at your peril. Your boss will soon find out, and it’ll all be over. If you have little pre-school kids, it’ll be a real challenge; those little munchkins are so cute, but you’ve got to drag yourself away.
- Get work ready. Don’t come to your office dressed in your pyjamas. Look like your serious about work. Treat it with respect. You don’t need to work in a suit and tie. Just think, “if I were going to meet a supplier (not necessarily a client) today, what should I wear”? Be the image you want others to see.
- Stay tuned with the real office. The people in the office – maybe your boss, too – will want to know that you’re actually working, and not slacking off. So, keep sending emails, phone calls, dm’s, post updates, etc, and be sure you’re getting replies, so you keep in touch with what’s happening and don’t miss out. Maybe even pop in from time to time.
- Keep your head in the business. If your boss or your clients call you, then you’ll need to be alert to whatever is the latest. Make sure you’re up to date. If you wander off to do something, then be careful not to stray too far. But, set guidelines and expectations, so they know not to contact you after normal working hours. Remember to keep a work/life balance.
Finally, I reckon there is a lot to be said about working from home. Given the tech advances this century, it may well be the office of the future. You can do it, and it’s a really attractive and efficient way to work, but you have to be ok with the loss of social work stuff.