As technology evolves it creates new levels of flexibility, changing how we go about our work. For instance, as internet connections become faster and increasingly reliable, more companies are happy to allow employees to work outside the office knowing they can easily communicate with each other.
In the USA, 4 million people already work from home – that’s around 3% of the country’s workforce. Within the next 10 years this figure is expected to escalate to one-third. Currently, 1.5 million are based at home in the UK.
Remote working boosts business
The benefits of remote working are numerous. It encourages staff retention, wellbeing and morale, and boosts creativity, innovation and productivity. Also, not having staff in the office cuts business costs and reduces pollution caused by commuting.
This change will open doors to employees who may struggle to get into an office regularly due to a disability, chronic illness, their rural location or family responsibilities. Remote working, therefore, opens up a broader and more diverse talent pool to employers.
Considering these benefits, it may not be so surprising that the more innovative businesses have rejected the traditional office set-up and, instead, operate 100% virtually.
Re-thinking how you work
If working from home is the future, now is the time to begin to make key changes to your working habits which have been shaped by the office environment. Not being in the same space as colleagues impacts some of your professional skills. Here’s some helpful advice:
Confirm core hours – To ensure you’re fully available to colleagues or customers, make sure you know your core hours. Even if you need to flex your time to fit in the school run or another commitment, you’ll still need to make sure you’re contactable during certain times. Confirm this in advance so everyone is aware of your plans.
Draw your own boundaries – When you’re working alone at home, it’s surprisingly easy to slide into working way beyond the hours you’d usually work at the office, as there’s no clear boundary between your professional and home life.
Turning your spare room into an office is a great way of drawing this boundary; when you’re done for the day, you can literally shut the door on your work and focus on your personal life.
Learn to use new apps – Ask your IT team to help set up your home for remote working. Not only do you need fast broadband, an excellent phone signal and reliable email, but you’ll have to learn to use cloud-based software which enables you to save and share documents, and easily access content elsewhere.
Organise your work – A whole new tech market has emerged to support remote working. A good project management tool can help you can track your own progress, and that of your colleagues. Trello, Asana and Basecamp are among the most popular.
Stay in touch – It’s not until you work at home that you appreciate how much communication is lost when we rely on emails and texts. Before sending emails, re-read them to ensure you’re conveying your message accurately. If you need the recipient to do something, ensure that your request is clear, and you’ve included any deadlines.
Be ergonomically sound – Does your employer have an HR professional who can check that your home is set up correctly for work? Ensuring that you have a safe environment is essential to avoid injuries such as back or vision problems.
If you’d like a job with remote working opportunities, call your nearest polkadotfrog office to talk to one of our consultants. You may be able to negotiate this as part of an employment and benefits package.