Working from home sounds like the perfect answer to balancing work and life, but it may not be for everyone. Do you want to telecommute? Here’s what to consider:
Do you have the necessary equipment at home?
If your office is anything like ours, then most, if not all, employees will be equipped with laptops. This is partly due to security considerations, but also for flexibility in allowing employees to work from anywhere; particularly useful, not just for the odd occasion that it may be easier to telecommute, but also for practical reasons, especially given the time of year and the soon-to-be-threat of snow-induced travel chaos.
Other than your laptop, if you’re thinking of telecommuting do you have the equipment at home that allows you to operate productively and get as much done as you would should you have, had you gone into the office? As well as your laptop you also need to consider resources such as your IT department, printers, critical business systems, stationery and even a secondary monitor.
If you’re unable to perform at 100% when working away from the office then maybe telecommuting isn’t for you. It may even have an adverse effect on your role within the business and career.
Some brands will proactively invest in their employee’s home office supplies in order to allow them to work from home and remain effective. This is however at the discretion of the employer.
Luckily, with modern SaaS solutions, such as CIPHR, managing your employee data is possible from wherever you are, and whenever you need to. Cloud solutions offer you flexibility and convenience when working in the office isn’t practical.
Are you as effective when telecommuting?
Working from home, or wherever it may be that you set up for the day, needs to be as productive as if you were in the office. Working from home or another location does pose certain challenges.
Distractions such as children, the TV, streaming services or pets are all productivity killers, any of which can eat into your day quickly without you realising until too late.
Having the latest Netflix film running on a second screen while trying to work can grab and keep your attention for far longer than you would imagine. A pet dog wanting to play with you or even a child wanting lunch or a book read to them are all distractions that could render your planned workday less than 100% effective.
If you know there could be distractions when working from home, try to plan for and alleviate these prior to the day you telecommute. Removing distractions will create a focussed and productive environment, allowing you to make the most of your time in your home office.
‘Working from home’ every Monday and Friday?
Everyone else probably assumes otherwise – Probably not a good idea.
Can you be contacted easily when working from home?
Enabling effective communication between employees, both in and out of the office, is key to successful collaboration and productivity. Email and phone are the more traditional channels by which colleagues communicate, however, mobile apps are now offering enhanced functionality and convenience.
Apps such as Voxer, which acts as a walkie talkie or WhatsApp that allows free communication and media sharing should be on any telecommuters mobile device. If you’re incommunicado when out of the office then you’re probably causing issues and affecting both yours and others productivity.
As well as mobile apps, there are also countless browser apps and add-ons that enhance your ability to talk and collaborate with your colleagues. Depending on your area of work you can run a Google search for apps that will allow you to maintain contact with colleagues.
Does your absence impact others?
When planning your time out of the office, make sure to consider the impact it may have on others.
Are there any meetings planned for the time you’re telecommuting? If so, are you able to join them remotely or do you need to attend in person?
Do any of your colleagues, particularly any subordinates, require your presence for training, mentoring or simply day to day support during a project or task? If so, then it’s probably best that you stay in the office and available in person to support them and ensure they’re able to perform efficiently.
It may also be that a customer is attending training or simply visiting the office. If you feel that you should be available to ‘meet and greet’, then rearrange your time at home.
When working from home, or anywhere other than the office, you should just as productive as if you were at your desk. Ensuring that this is the case will allow you to take control of where you work, while still being a valued employee.