Why you should be Working from Home (and How to do it Right)
Eager to spend some of your 9 to 5 tapping away at your home computer instead of the office one? You’re not alone.
A recent Nielsen study – commissioned by Telstra – has revealed some major benefits to both you and your boss when it comes to working outside of the office.
In today’s post I’m not only sharing why you need to ask your boss to consider this option, but how you can get working from home right, too.
And trust me, I’ve made all the rookie mistakes so I’m well-placed to show you the way!
Working from Home is better for your Health
One of the major take aways from Telstra’s commissioned study into working from home (and they looked at it from both the employers and employees side) was how much the option impacted the mental health of the worker (that’s you!).
Making employees feel more productive, relaxed and calm, the study also revealed some other positive impacts:
– Working from home increases your work-life balance
– It allows you to have more freedom around your hours of work
– It saves you time thanks to avoiding the horrendous daily commute
– Working from home allows you to feel more trusted by your boss
– It increases your productivity because it cuts out office distraction
Technology was a major driving force behind employees being able to work from home, with broadband availability and increased NBN access a big factor in keeping people connected – it means we can have office like speeds in our homes.
Cloud usage and video calling were also key technologies that made it easier to work from home, still collaborate with your workmates and stay across all office opportunities (which means you don’t need to feel isolated from your colleagues, or miss out on anything happening at work).
Does your workplace offer working from home as an option? Given the evidence above I reckon it’s time to approach your boss to consider this!
5 Tips to do it Right
I’ve spent the last four years of my life working from home, and when I first started out I made all the rookie mistakes. In the first few months of my journey working from home, I wasn’t nearly as productive or successful as I could have been.
So let me tell you exactly how to get the most out of your own working from home experience. I hope these tips can help you assure your bosses that you can be productive in the home office.
1. Start time, lunch break, and finish
I learnt early on that you have to allocate yourself a start time, set yourself a lunch break (and move away from your computer), and also have a clock-off time.
If you don’t do this, the lines between work and pottering around your house wasting time get incredibly blurred.
It also makes you your own hard task master; if you know you’re finishing at 5pm and have a pile of work to get through, you’ll spend less time watching Judge Judy at 3pm and ensure you get all your work done. And yes, this is straight from the pages of my own life!
2. Dress for the job
The first six months or so of my working from home journey, I schlepped into my office chair still in my PJs, tapping away at the keyboard without even having showered. This is the life, I thought.
I thought wrong. By staying in your trackies or pyjamas, it again blurs the lines between work and relaxation. Nowadays, I get up at the same time every day, shower, eat breakfast, get dressed and go into my home office for the day.
Trust me, this discipline makes a huge difference. It also allows you, on your dedicated lunch break, to get out of the home if you need to (which I also recommend you do often).
3. Pimp out your Office
If like me, you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated room as your office, ensure it looks and feels amazing. Get an ergonomic chair and ensure it’s at the right height.
Then go for your life with the fun stuff; some cork boards, motivational art, an indoor desk plant, a candle crackling away, and mountains of gorgeous stationery.
Even if your workspace is your dining table or kitchen bench, make sure what surrounds you feels lovely. Pop on some soothing music, light a candle, have some fresh flowers nearby.
If the work zone at home looks and feels great, you’ll love to be in it, working away (which is only a good thing for you and your boss!).
4. Cut out home distractions
Another lesson I learnt early; close your office door. My cats are the most adorable distraction and they prevented me from doing a lot of work in the beginning.
Also turn off your TV if it’s nearby. I know it’s tempting to leave the morning shows on as you start your day. But they are the devil when it comes to luring you away from the job at hand.
I now close my office door, get in the zone for work, and shut down my social media channels (I’d highly recommend you do this even if you’re working from the office!). It’s the best way to ensure you stay productive and not distracted by cat videos in your Facebook feed. Save that for your lunch break!
5. The power of lists
I’m a sucker for a to-do list. And if you’re on board with my earlier point about decking your desk out with stunning stationery, to-do lists can look divine.
I start my day with a physically written list (I’m old-school in that respect). I love to jot down all of the things I want to get through in my day.
I also allocate time slots in which I have to get tasks done. This really keeps me accountable and ensures I work hard for my allocated lunch break.
I’ll block out a few hours for writing blog posts, an hour for replying to emails, a few hours to work on styling jobs for clients, and then another hour or so in the afternoon for more admin and emails.
My #1 Working from Home Tip
The point above about to-do lists is probably the most important tip of the lot, because if you can work to this list and the allocated time slots you give yourself, you can prove to yourself (and your boss) that working from home is actually far more productive than time in the office.
What’s your work from home story? Do you do it? Would you want to do it? Have you asked your boss? Drop a comment below and let’s discuss.
This post was produced in partnership with Telstra. The results mentioned in this post are based on research conducted by Nielsen, 19-26 September 2016, amongst 1,810 surveyed Australian employees and employers aged 18 or above. Find out more about the research here.