In the past months, a huge percentage of the working population have had to transition to home working. It has been reported that around 49% of UK workers now work from home. This is a staggering figure that isn’t likely to change anytime soon, as employers and staff have seen the benefits of this new arrangement. Moving forward, employers are likely to reduce office spaces and give staff the option of either home working, office working or a hybrid alternative.
However, the future of home working will vary for everyone, and it’s important to make sure you consider your options and do what is best for your specific situation. Here we have created a list of the key questions to consider when deciding whether you permanently work from home.
Where do you work most effectively and productively?
There are many benefits to working remotely, like not having to commute and being closer to family. However, it is very important to analyse whether you are as productive at home as you are in the office.
Working from home requires a high level of motivation, communication and discipline. It’s easy to forget that it doesn’t work as well for everyone. Spend some time thinking about your ability to produce quality work both at home and in the office, while also considering where you have distractions and where you feel most comfortable.
How will you remain visible and connected?
This is an important consideration when working remotely, as building and maintaining relationships with colleagues is essential. Not being present in the office often means missing out on those quick corridor conversations and catch-ups after the weekend. Getting the balance right between becoming totally isolated from your colleagues and having regular catch-ups can often be challenging but equally valuable, both for your mental wellbeing and staying up-to-date.
Don’t forget that working remotely doesn’t mean you can’t go to physical meetings and events. Attending these when you can will help you network, remain visible, and feel like part of the team.
How will you maintain your mental health and wellbeing?
As many of us have found, working from home can at times feel isolating and stressful, especially when there is still the same amount of work to be done but more distractions. When deciding to work from home permanently, make sure you are confident in your ability to set clear boundaries to maintain your work-life balance, allowing you to switch off, relax and do something you enjoy. Ensuring you have easy access to professionals if you need support can also be greatly beneficial if you ever feel the need to use it.
How will you manage your work-life balance?
Working from home can often mean the lines between work and home are blurred, especially when you have constant access to your work laptop or computer. Not only can you become easily sidetracked by your pets or your children or deliveries, leaving you feeling like you are being unproductive and then working in the evening to catch up.
Making sure you spend time away from your laptop is hugely important as it allows you time to switch off and relax. This can often be a tough balance though, that needs definite discipline. This can be done by setting clear times and limits on when you will be unavailable to family and outside distractions while also minimising the distractions you are surrounded by, for example, the TV.
Will you be comfortable having a different employee experience to your office-based colleagues?
Some businesses are considering offering their remote staff different perks as office-based perks are not replicable for remote staff. This is still in its infancy and currently there are things remote staff miss out on, these often include perks like free breakfasts, lunches and cakes. However, in the future world of work this may be different, but for the time being it will be important to come to terms with the fact that you are likely to have a different experience of your company when working from home rather than working in the office.
Hopefully we have been able to give you some food for thought in these questions. However, many enjoy the benefits of working from home, its also important to consider other factors, to make sure that the decision you make will be right for you long term.