Written by: Shani Fowler
The pro’s and con’s
Working from home can be a double edged sword. It depends as to reason why you are working from home and the job you are trying to do, as to how best go about it. Reasons people work from home can vary. It can be that it gives flexibility in allowing time with family. It could be because the company they are working for has a lengthy commute and it simply makes sense to do as much from home as possible. It could be that it’s your own business and it is a home based business so that the overheads to that business are greatly reduced. Often people work from home to cut down the ever increasing costs of child care. Whatever the reason that a decision to work from home has been made, there are going to be pros and cons.
Rolling out of bed and sitting in front of your computer screen wearing your favourite fleecy pyjamas with your morning coffee in one hand and spooning in your porridge with the other can seem appealing. Especially on a winter’s morning as you peep out of the window and watch the commuters battling with the wind and rain. As you pull in tight on your dressing gown, it can fill you with overwhelming relief knowing that you don’t have to join them. Your boss isn’t behind you breathing down your neck. It’s bliss. It’s perfect.
Getting in the right”mind set”for work
You may well be right, but it can be hard to get in the “mind set” of work when doing it from home. Doing your job well requires discipline and this can be hard to achieve this from home with all the distractions around and relaxed approaches that can be adopted. You may have just got into the “zone” of work when one of the children calls you to turn the television channel over to Cbeebies. Or there is a knock on the door from double glazing salesman who thinks you have nothing better to do all day than discuss a new government initiative to fix the energy wasted from your ill fitted, under-performing windows and doors.
In the corner of your mind you know that there is a laundry basket of washing just calling to be loaded and put on a full cycle, after all it won’t take a minute will it?! All these and more distractions can take you away from your job in hand. It can make the output and quality of your work suffer.
Keep lines of communication open with your work
Although predominantly the prime reason for working for most of us is to earn money, the secondary reason (and for some the prime reason) is usually for the social outlet that work offers. Work offers the chance to engage with colleagues, to form relationships and encourages camaraderie. Although not everyone always gets along in the work place, and it may be nice that you can avoid someone by being at home, people usually gravitate to someone they become friends with, and look forward to seeing on a regular basis. Working from home can be lonely at times. Even if you have the background noise of a television or radio, often this can serve to be more annoying than comfort. This aspect of work is obviously severely affected when working from home and it is prudent to at least keep lines of communication open to work via email or telephone. It is important to still feel like part of a team and inclusive.
Routine and discipline
The key to successfully working from home can lie in routine, discipline and communication. Also recognising that there is potential for distraction. Prepare as much as you can before you begin working, such as making sure the children are settled, the cat’s already been fed and there is little else to distract you. Try to work out the easiest time to be able to work and set that time aside; trying to stick to that specific time a day each day can help, it becomes a routine and all work has to have routine, even in the most flexible of modes.
Also ensure that you still engage with colleagues and have a little light banter from time to time, that way you can get the best out of working from home. You can get the reduced time and costs it takes to work but still have a degree of flexibility.