Working from home

By: Michelle Welch – Learning & Development and Change Consultant at The Juniper Company 02/19/2016 Categories: Blog

“Today I will be working from home” a declaration that once was considered in the office as a cop out, a day to sit in your pyjamas with your laptop on the sofa watching day time T.V.

But…

is there more to working from home than the perception of wearing fluffy slippers and drinking milky coffee?

It is now widely recognised by employers that flexible working can bring greater happiness, better work-life balance, and increased productivity.

Of the 30.2 million people in work in January to March 2014, 4.2 million were home workers, giving a home worker rate of 13.9% of those in work. This is the highest rate since comparable records began in 1998 (Study published by the Office of National Statistics)

In preparation for my recent return to The Juniper Company following maternity leave, I thought carefully about what I am realistically able to offer to meet the requirements of my role. I came to the conclusion that flexible working could be a potential solution to achieve that work-life balance I so value, whilst fulfilling the needs of the business.

When it comes to working from home it can be daunting to think about how you will fulfil your role away from the office, and this led me to carefully consider three elements:

  • Working part-time
  • Working remotely
  • Working mum!

How can I make it fit?

So, I am now six weeks into my modern, flexible work arrangement and so far so good! I have however come to realise to work effectively from home it is important to:

  1. Agree expectations with your Manager from the outset – this solution really needs to work for both parties, so agree what hours you will work and when can you be contacted
  2. Have an understanding family - to support with childcare, particularly when conference calls are scheduled!
  3. Define your workspace – The sofa is not particularly conducive to focused working!
  4. Build a routine of core work times and include breaks - It really is amazing what you can achieve when you set yourself deadlines i.e. I need to complete this before the school run or the baby wakes up! It also helps you to avoid distractions like emptying the dishwasher and the pile of ironing in the corner!
  5. Ask for help - Don’t sit on a problem until you are next in the office
  6. Top and tail your week - communicate your “task list” to your manager and or colleagues at the start of the week and provide a brief update at the end of the week
  7. Use technology to keep in touch - Regular communication is vital, engage with your team to avoid isolation.