5 simple tips for those new to working from home

13%…a statistic I’d advise you to get to know sooner rather than later, if you are one of the increasing numbers of remote workers. In a 2014 report produced by Stanford University, it was found that mobile and remote workers are 13% more productive than their office-based counterparts.

It’s perhaps no wonder that more and more employers are exploring just how flexible they can be in fulfilling their employee’s desire to experiment with remote working. With a balance between work and life being a key value for many of us in our careers, it’s easy to see how the prospect of working from home could be very appealing.

Approximately 45% of UK workers are currently based outside of their main office for more than half the working week and with technology advancing at breakneck speed, it is little surprise that analysts only expect that figure to increase.

But what are some of the things to consider? 

Sure, you loathe your commute, but aren’t your colleagues one of the best things about your day job? You might love the moment when you walk through the door after a full day’s work, but how will you feel about your home if you are based there 24/7?

As someone who has successfully worked remotely for the past five years I thought it would be helpful to share my top tips:

  1. Carve out a work space – whether it’s a home office or a space in another room, make sure you dedicate somewhere in your abode as ‘work’. And treat it just like your office at work as much as possible: when you finish the working day leave until you are next ‘due in’.
  2. Take a fake commute on foot – use a walk around the block to help delineate your day. It may not be as long (or tedious) as the real thing, but having this time travelling from ‘A to A’(via B) can really help energise the brain and get you into work mode.
  3. Ditch the onesie – tempting as it is to slip into something comfortable whilst talking on the phone, it really does pay to make an effort and wear work-ish clothes. It’s all part of the process of acclimatising your way into ‘work mode’ and, crucially, back out the other side.
  4. Be flexible and understanding – acknowledge the investment of trust your organisation is making in you to agree to your remote working request. Repay that investment in terms of being flexible by recognising that sometimes you may not always be the first to hear information. You will though be the first one home at the end of the day!
  5. Connect, connect, connect – any meetings you can virtually attend – do it. Be patient with your colleagues in their efforts to set things up at their end. Before you know it you’ll be hopping in and out of online meetings like it’s going out of fashion.

Of course, working completely independently isn’t for everyone.  The need to self-motivate, project manage and persevere all feel more acute than they might in a shared office, for example.  For some people, remote working can only really work as part of their week, rather than a full commitment. And for others, it can be part of a long-term career progression plan. If you’re thinking of this, check out these one-to-one sessions

That said, the autonomy and flexibility that remote working can offer, can be a real revelation to both you and your manager.  So why not give it a try?

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About the author

Laura has worked as a careers consultant for more than 10 years. A specialist in medical careers, Laura has worked closely with consultancy clients such as the BMA for whom she provided one-to-one coaching and skills workshops. She is responsible for managing The Careers Group Research Unit, and in that capacity, she has delivered a series of successful professional development webinars. Laura has also produced research into SMEs and graduate recruitment, which she presented at a national conference in 2013. Most recently, she has taken the lead in the project management of the highly successful, world's first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Career and Employability Skills via the Coursera MOOC platform, which was shortlisted for a Career Development Institute Award in 2014 and won an AGCAS award in 2015. More blog posts by Laura Brammar ››
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  • Zvikomborero Matiza

    Hi Laura. Your article is very interesting and I am in agreement with you on one hand as an employee and disagree on the other where I am an employee with ambitions of becoming an employer. This is well suited for those who want to work for life until retirement. Why I say that? If we are to read or talk to all who have made it in their businesses or rich people, they have one thing in common. “There is no work life balance if you want to succeed in business” and if we are to go by this, would you still stick with the same position as discussed in your article? If you answer is no, how do you treat this situation?


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