Working from home – part 1
02 Feb 2014
Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Whether we’re talking about part-time jobs or full-time jobs, one of the most popular ways to make a role more flexible is to include an element of working from home. In fact, a 2016 survey highlighted that 7.5 million British employees would rather work from home one day a week than get a pay rise.
But would it work for you? Here’s a quick look at some of the pros and cons.
√ No commute = no time wasted
Probably the most obvious benefit of home-based working is that they cut out your commute. If you log on as soon as you’re dressed and ready, rather than sitting in traffic or being crammed onto a train, you’re stealing back valuable time that you can use working instead of travelling. And a more chilled-out start and end to your day has to be good for your personal wellbeing too.
√ Less people around to distract you
From management meetings to water-cooler chats, there’s always someone or something to take your attention away from your work when you’re in the office. If you’re disciplined enough to work well under your own steam, homeworking is likely to make you more efficient and more focused, and therefore more productive.
√ A working ‘day’ that suits you
The 9-5 working day doesn’t suit everyone’s circumstances – and enlightened employers will measure your output in terms of what’s been achieved, not when. Working from home makes it easy to flex your workload around any other responsibilities or commitments you might have – and certainly doesn’t mean you won’t get the job done. For example, some working parents prefer to pause for a few hours at pick-up time and make up the extra work once their children are in bed.
So that’s the upside – but how about potential pitfalls? Here are some things to watch out for:
X Work-life spread
It’s generally easier to switch off from a job that you physically leave at the end of the day – some people who work from home find that it can spread into their evenings, almost without them noticing. And if you don’t have the room for a bespoke office, your work can end up literally spread all over your kitchen table too.
X Lack of stimulation or motivation
The very lack of distraction that helps some people focus on their work could be a disadvantage if you find it hard to self-motivate. Some people find that having others around encourages them to stay at their desks and keep working; others feel that having a background buzz around them, or people to bounce ideas off, is more stimulating than an empty room.
X The risk of invisibility
If you’re never in your boss’s line of vision, there’s a risk that you might get forgotten. And that’s not great when it comes to promotion, bonuses or simply getting your voice heard; you’ll need to be proactive in order to stay front of mind.
Clearly, no way of working is perfect, and different methods work for different people. But generally speaking, people who work at least some of the time from home would agree that the benefits far outweigh the problems; the best thing to do is to give it a try.