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Working From Home

By Wendy Tate, Mar 25 2020 05:04PM

Are you in the position that you have been asked to work from home? Or are you and Employer who has had to ask staff to do so? This can be worrying for some, there are those who think that people will get nothing done due to household distractions especially when there are children around and others who believe workers will be happier and more productive. So, who is right? The answer depends to some extent on the individual. Even before the Covid 19 crisis there has been growing support for home working and many find they are in fact more productive working from home.

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Recent studies have supported the idea that working from home—for the right people—can increase productivity and decrease stress. Research also suggests companies that encourage and support a work-from-home protocol save money in the long run—an added bonus to the employer especially now.

As well as the obvious money savings for the employer employees benefit too, a recent study found that employees who worked from home experienced 25% less stress, reported that they were able to maintain a better work-life balance, as well as eat healthier.

Cofounder of SimpleTexting, Felix Dubinksy, notes the health benefits of being at home, “It’s much easier to keep a healthy diet while eating at home. You save a lot of stressful hours that would have been spent commuting. You can construct a comfortable work environment for yourself. Spend more time with family.”

There is another side to this, if you have been used to a busy office working at home for the first time can make you feel that you are out of the loop can chip away at your motivation and engagement. Working from home often means working alone, and if you thrive in social settings, you may need some time to adapt if you thrive on interaction with others switching to a home environment where there isn't anyone to talk to can be incredibly difficult.

There needs to be self-discipline, it is easy to get distracted with personal phone calls, daytime deliveries and children. Working from home means using your initiative you need to be able to assess your tasks and deadlines and prioritize the next appropriate steps to take without someone one telling you what and when to do it.

I have spoken about being de-motivated but the opposite can also be true without the structure of set work hours, it can be all too easy to carry on working beyond what would be the normal working day and the lines between work and life can become blurred. When you work from an office it's clear when the day is over, however, when working from home, you're 100% responsible for maintaining your calendar and time ‘at work and overworking is actually a bigger problem than under-performing.

I have been working from home now for 6 years so here are my tips:

• Get ready for work – ever heard the saying we are what we wear, well this is so true. I still get ready for work, put on work clothes (even shoes). I feel ready for work, my family know I am working so leave me to get on, the boundary is there. Slippers are for the end of the day when I’m done.

• Have a set start and finish time – it is all too easy to start early or to carry on as what you are doing won’t take much longer. If you do this for too long you will burn out. You need proper down time and your family need you too. Set an alarm for 15 minutes before the end of your working day to remind you it’s time to finish up. Time does fly by.

• Set boundaries with friends and family – again this can be difficult at first as you don’t want to upset people, but they need to know your ‘working hours’ and call you outside this time where possible.

• Take breaks – and I mean proper breaks, you would if you were in the office you still need to have these.

• Zoom – if you need to speak to someone do it via zoom, seeing your work colleagues as well as hearing them can make you feel less isolated.

Whether this is temporary or the start of a new way of working for the future look after yourself

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