Friday, 22 November 2019
13 Essential Considerations Before You Decide to Work From Home
by Paul Murphy
In 2019, working from home has become the norm, not the exception.
Recent Indeed research reveals that over two-thirds (68%) of Australian employers now allow employees to work remotely.
And while working from home comes with some well-touted advantages - it makes you more productive (with less distractions), you skip the commute (and the city crowds) and you have more time for personal errands (and to maintain your healthy gym habits) - it also comes with some considerations and potential downsides.
To help you identify if working from home is the right decision for you, we’ve outlined 13 considerations and questions to ask yourself first.
Is your home environment conducive to work?
Who else is around? If your partner or kids are at home during the day it may be difficult to enforce a ‘Don’t interrupt me’ rule. Even your dog may expect attention.
What else do you need to get done? A recent study reports that 45% of people who work from home struggle to keep their mind on work issues. The unwashed dishes and unmade beds may nag at you and destroy your concentration. It will also be tempting to slip out to the supermarket or fit in your daily jog when you should be at your desk. Scheduling these things into your diary will help you be more productive and manage your work vs. personal priorities.
Do you have a dedicated work space? Trying to get things done at a laptop on the kitchen bench is not a great idea. Ideally you need a proper desk in a quiet area. Having a dedicated work space will also allow you to claim a tax deduction for home office expenses.
Do you have the necessary technology and documents? At a minimum, you’re going to need a good phone and internet connection, access to your email account, mobile access to your employer’s computer system, and apps like Skype, Facebook Messenger and Facetime for text and video chat with colleagues.
Is your working style suited to isolation?
Will you miss sharing ideas? You won’t be able to take a few steps from your desk and bounce ideas off your colleagues. Accessing them by phone, email, chat or even video is never the same as a face-to-face encounter.
Can you troubleshoot solo? Think about your personality and work style. Can you troubleshoot issues from home, brainstorm alone, or with colleagues via technology if it’s available? Or will an issue that arise put you into a stressed state and activate your procrastination stage?
Do you have a clear plan for what you will achieve while at home?
In what ways will I save time? By eliminating the daily commute you’re likely to have more time, no travel cost and less stress. You’ll also skip office politics and co-worker distractions, and be able to streamline meetings making them fewer and shorter than the ones in the office. Understanding where you will save time helps you re-allocate this time into other work and life priorities.
What are my work goals for today/this week? There are many different ways to set goals, but aim for an average of 3 goals per day - an achievable challenge. Write down your goals, and send them to your boss or a colleague. This will help keep you accountable.
Will your performance be visible? When you’re at home your efforts and achievements are less apparent to senior management, even though you may in fact be more productive than others who are physically present in the office but intellectually absent. You could redress this problem by briefly touching base with your boss at the start of each work day to resolve any issues from the previous day and outline your agenda for the current one. Follow up with a short daily, weekly or monthly report on your progress.
Does it offer you the freedom you were looking for?
There is no perfect way to work from home. And while working from home suits some individuals, it may not suit you.
By asking these 13 questions, you can ensure that you will make the most of your time working from home, and discover if it’s something you’d like to do more of in the future.
If flexible working and work-life balance are important to you, please get in touch with the team at Ensure Recruitment. We can connect you with employers who share your values and can provide you with the flexible working arrangements you are seeking.