Working from home
Working from home is an unstoppable trend, especially in the US. Almost 3% of the total workforce in the US work from home at least half of the time. This number increased from 1.8 million workers in 2005 to 3.9 million in 2017. Many companies have recognized the value and the importance of offering working from home as an employment option.
Yesterday we talked about the luxury of having an office in our modern times. Today we want to share some facts and experiences on working from home.
If you have never worked from home before, it may take some adaptation from your side. In fact, it is a bit scary to not have your colleagues physically around you day by day. Nevertheless, if you created your routines and communication channels with your team, there is a high probability that you don’t want to go back permanently to an office.
Who benefits from working from home?
Working from home is beneficially to many stakeholders:
- The Company: If the company does not provide office space for all its employees, it can save on office operation cost and space. The question is that whether these cost savings will be higher than the additional investments / expenses you have by managing a global workforce. You may need to invest in some online collaboration services and your travel expenses will increase due to the importance of organizing regular face-to-face meetings. The biggest benefit for the company may not be a cost reduction factor but rather an increase in motivation and productivity. When nobody controls your time but only your outputs, you will minimize the time needed for your outputs. There is no competition at home on who is the first to come and last to go. It will always be you.
- The Employee: Imagine your job is build around your personal needs. You have kids and want to bring them to school and pick them up in the afternoon? Try this when you work place is an hour commute away. Working from home will give you the opportunity of managing your time. It will as well adopt to your life circumstances. Your partner has received a job offer from a different place (seems that he/she is still working in a traditional company), working from home will allow you to move locations without necessarily having to leave a job.
- The Environment: Imagine if 50% of the global workforce would work from home. Think about the reduction in car usage, traffic jams, unnecessary pollution through daily commuting.
- Your Neighborhood: Most probably, the small businesses around your home may benefit from you working from home. Part of your routine may be having a coffee or lunch outside of your home. Thus, you will use your local shops, bars and restaurants more often. Working from home may actually motivate you to do more outside of your home after work or at weekends.
3 Benefits from working from home as an employee
- Time management – The key benefit for an employee when working from home is that you have much more control over your time. It does not automatically mean that you totally control your time (you may have recurrent conference calls and huddles) but it is easier to fit in private circumstances. Scheduling doctors appointments or parenting tasks (picking kids up from school) becomes easier.
- Fitting private circumstances – If you are a truly remote worker than you should have total flexibility of where you live. If your dream has always been working from the beach, this becomes real now.
- More efficiency – In many job which allow working from home, you will control the time you need to spend on certain tasks. This will most probably lead you to become more productive since nobody will notice whether you needed 1 hour for a task or 10 days. It is your time you are loosing out.
3 Challenges when working from home
- You are alone – Not everyone can imagine a working environment with no colleagues around you. Being all day long at home you may miss these informal talks with your co-workers. It is recommendable to build in some social-interaction-moments into your days. This can be something simple like going shopping or more sophisticated like joining local groups.
- Routines – The moment you are in control of yourself, it becomes challenging for some people to actually control themselves. If I don’t have to stand up to go to work, why should I stand up in the first place? It is a good practice to implement daily routines for your home office day. Patterns will help you to not accept the temptation of not getting the things done.
- Working more – You will be more efficient and effective when you are measured by tasks rather than by time spent but that may lead as well to you working more than in a normal office. The nice thing of working in an office is that you have a clear separation between work and home. If your work is at home, your home is your office.