Working from home is a luxury that many people would relish and there is no doubt it has many benefits
We will ignore for now this appalling phrase – of course work is part of life – but you know what I mean.
All of a sudden you have flexibility. Want to enjoy an afternoon in the rare English sun? Just get up earlier or put in a quick hour before you go to bed. Want to take the kids to school or pick them up? No problem.
You set your own hours – no-one breathing down your neck. In fact many studies have shown that home-workers are more productive than their office-based counterparts – they provide their own pressure to perform.
You can also integrate private and professional, without compromising your work – keep up with your social networks, organise domestic stuff, be around for deliveries, the plumber, etc.
And, of course, it has been scientifically proven that an afternoon nap can increase productivity – with no-one watching over you, you can conduct your own research.
Home-working saves an awful lot of time and hassle in commuting – this alone could make you more productive, by saving a couple of hours a day. Not to mention the savings in petrol or fares.
Plus, you save on the stress of traffic jams, waiting in the rain for buses or wondering what variety of leaf/snow/rain will delay the train today.
Create your own environment
You also get to create the best working environment for you. Do you like music or radio in the background? Some people like the television on apparently. Maybe you like working in a more personalised environment – surrounded by the art you like, photos, furnishings, etc. that make it feel more comfortable.
Lighting to suit, with plenty of daylight, and the ability to walk around in peace – into the kitchen, garden, etc – are all things that help create the best environment for you rather than a homogenous one designed to the lowest common denominator.
How to make the best of your environment
Of course, this is a somewhat idealised picture, and there is no doubt that working at home has some problems, like isolation, discipline and distractions.
However, here are a few tips to help combat them.
- Try and introduce some discipline like getting up at a certain time, showering before you go into the ‘office’, setting the hours you will work.
- make sure you have a separate space to work in, preferably a separate room, but at least a cordoned/screened area
- ensure you do not get interruptions during the times you have set aside for working – with a partner and/or children at home, this can be difficult, but the discipline that you are working has to come from those around you as well as yourself.
- think about health and safety – now don’t run off scared. I am just talking about an ergonomic set-up with desk, chair, keyboard and screen; make sure you have space around you and that filing is easy to get to and you don’t have miles of cable across the floor; and that you rest regularly away from the screen.
And if you think heath and safety has gone too far and a whole load of fuss over nothing, you may be right. However, just bear in mind that in Britain, twenty people die every year just getting out of bed!
In addition, if you feel that you need back up, there are a whole range of services available to help. If you are employed, your company will obviously have this set up. If not, there are a variety of services available to help.
Cloud services will take care of documentation, email and web hosting, software for accounting, CRM, time management, etc. Unsurprisingly, use of cloud computing is on the rise in the South West.
Your local Business Centre can provide virtual office services to improve efficiency and credibility, secretarial and support services to save on time and staff, as well as meeting rooms, hot desks and other touch-down solutions.