People are increasingly choosing to work from home due to the amplified flexibility of workplace conditions. Companies can enjoy greater time and cost efficiencies as this overcomes long commute times for employees who reside in rural or remote geographical locations.
Working from home also allows for lower staff turnover, where people can work from home even when injured or fallen ill. The flexibility is particularly relished by people who struggle to balance a home and work lifestyle, owing to caretaking of children, pregnancy or other family circumstances. This opens the opportunity for diversity and inclusion, allowing work for people with disabilities and people who may be unable to work within office spaces owing cultural or religious conditions. Further, there are people who believe to be more productive without the constant chatter of work colleagues and work more effectively when utilising their own computer desktops and equipment that they are more familiar with.
Although working from home has its evident benefits, there are 6 skills that are required and should be further refined to work effectively within the home environment.
Owing to the household atmosphere, you may find it to be a rather relaxing setting, with no genuine rush to arrive on time and no need for a professional appearance and attire. You also do not have any direct supervision from your manager or other fellow staff. You can work at your own pace, as long as you complete tasks before set deadlines. However, this may generate lethargic and unmotivated behaviours and can cause significant impacts to your work productivity. It is critical to develop the skill of self-motivation, through completing your office tasks in a separate room from where you would typically use to relax. This may include working on the kitchen table, dining area or even outside on the patio. Set an alarm to wake up, allowing yourself decent time to freshen up, wear a change of clothes and have breakfast before starting the day at work (at home). Keep in mind that you are technically still working, just aside from the commute and physically being inside the office. Remain a professional and organised mindset whilst you are at work.
Since your main form of communication to your workplace is via online platforms, it is integral that you are proficient with the functions of video call applications such as Skype and Google Hangouts in the event of long-distance meetings. You will also be required to speak clearly and coherently as there is a lack of communication cues such as gestures, eye contact which can limit the effectiveness of conveying your point across. As direct verbal communication is not as fully required, it is effective to further refine phone call and email responsiveness as well as email writing skills, to remain informed with the updates of the workplace.
If you are seeking jobs that allow you to work from home, most require you to be tech savvy and qualified areas of IT, customer service, administration and marketing. You will be required to be proficient with the latest software and programs to enhance your capability of working at home as well as IT to overcome potential internet connectivity issues. Acquire qualifications and enrol in specialist training courses from Upskilled to keep updated with the latest skills required in your role and remain as a valuable employee to your company.
Are you highly distracted by your bed or comfy sofa and would rather nap, attend your social medias or play with your pets as opposed to working? It may be hard to resist, but distractions are detrimental to your work productivity and efficiency. Set your phone on the ‘do not disturb’ mode to limit calls only from certain people such as your emergency contacts and your employer. Removing the notifications and banners will keep you less distracted to use your phone and remain on task. You can also turn off your Wi-Fi and data internet to refrain from attending to your social media. Clearly vocalise to the people in your household that you are working and be adamant in not allowing them to distract you and limit the time to chat with them.
Working at home would compel your personal and work lifestyles to intertwine, so you should ensure that you are able to balance the two. Flexibility and adjustment are skills you will be required to refine. You may need to set time to complete household and childcare tasks but also give time to work on tasks set by your employer. Complete and organise each task around consistency. Allow the same length of time to complete a household task at the same time of day to avoid variation and irregularity. With a set schedule, you will be able to easily balance and keep track of time given to home and office work.
You may find yourself not keeping track of time as effectively as you would in the office space, as you do not have a supervisor to notify you of impending deadlines. Here, you will need to develop time-consciousness skills. It is an effective idea to use management tools and applications such as Trello, Asana and Wrike to keep note of completed and yet to be completed tasks. You can also use sticky notes to organise tasks into lists and prioritise which tasks are needed to be completed.