The other night, my colleague and I were talking about flexible working options and how to make it work for him. My boss sits in the UK and can’t watch over my shoulder for every task. He needs to trust me and my actions have shown that he can. Knowing how I’m working, he granted me a compressed working week and I can only say: “It’s brilliant!” Instead of working 8 hours over 5 days, it’s 10 hours over 4 days, giving me a 3 day weekend.
Now let’s focus on my colleague again. He’s interested in alternative ways of working. As he often has to attend telcons at 5:00 and 6:00 am, his days starts extremely early. After all, he’s in the office for these calls. We brainstormed how working from home can be beneficial for him and possibly also for you. Working from home! On days when calls are starting at 5:00 am, he could work from his house.
How can working from home work for you:
- Working from home is not about working on your home. You still have the same obligations as if you were in the office. This you should never forget!
- Home based employees may feel isolated. If you require lots of interactions with your colleagues or need someone to push you to work, re-think whether working from home is really for you. Or is it just an option for one day a week or specific project periods?
- Review and determine how you’ll achieve your work projects and commitments. You may not be able to get a permanent option to work from home initially. Negotiate a trial period (e.g. 1-3 months) with your boss and evaluate during and after this period how you’re managing working from home. You’ll also need to evaluate the impact of working from home has on your boss, your co-workers and your clients. Has anything changed?
- Set up a home office in your house. If you don’t have an extra room, which area can be remodelled into a dedicated office space? Your office should allow you to focus on your activities without being disturbed by your family members, visitors or staff.
- Get the equipment and tools that will make you as efficient as working in the actual office of your company. This may include your laptop plus a docking station, a printer/scanner (ideally, you’d move to paperless if working remotely), a reliable and fast internet connection, your mobile, a landline phone or a headset if you have a soft phone and stationary. What about any paper files and stationary? Some files may not be taken outside the company.
- Just because no one will see you working from home, that’s not an excuse to stay in your PJs all day. Get dressed and wear your office outfit. This will also flip the switch in your brain saying you’re now working, despite still being at home.
- Determine your working hours. This may need to be done with your boss and your team. Will you be working the same hours with the same start and end times as in the office (e.g. 8:00 am – 5:00 pm with lunch from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm)? Or is your desire to work from home to have more flexibility with your hours (e.g. 7:30 am – 11:30 am, pick up the kids and eat with them and continue from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm)?
- Ask your family to respect your need for quiet, work time. If family members, friends or neighbours are always calling you while you’re supposed to be working on a project, you’ll need to set boundaries. Your boss expects you to work and if you like to keep your job, you’ll need to prove that you are working and producing results.
- Be also clear about other distractions at home. While it may only take 5 minutes to turn on the washing machine, housework, watching TV or taking a snooze will have to wait until your work is done. This is where working from home will show how self-disciplined you really are and need to be.
- Keep a healthy lifestyle. Working from home may reduce the number of steps you’ll take every day. No need to drive to work. The walk to your kitchen may be shorter at home than in the office. No walk with colleagues after lunch. Stock up on healthy snacks like nuts and apples at home and be active either during your break or after you’re done for the day.
When I’m working from home, there’s a lot more focus on the activities at hand. The house is quieter compared to the office and my attention spans substantially longer. Because of this increased concentration, I can accomplish significantly more in a calm and relax way. When negotiating with your boss, make a list of the advantages working from home will have for your boss and your team.
Are you already working from home? How are you making it a success story for your company and you? Share your story with us. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Until next time,