Are you working from home at least 1 day a week? If so you are among the many people where this has become the norm. Whilst many employers embrace or encourage working from home, we hear from people whose employers are not so keen and are trying to bring employees back into the workplace. If you value the option of working from home there are steps you can take to make sure its works for both your and your employer. Here’s our step by 6 step guide to successful home working:
6 Steps to successfully work from home
1. Get the Right Balance
Opinions vary as to the optimum number of days working from home v the workplace. Many automotive industry employers that Copeland work with are offering employees between 1 and 3 days a week working from home. If you are keen to work from home part of the time I’d recommend a conversation with your employer to discuss options. Listen to your employer and try and understand their needs and hopefully you’ll be able to agree on a balance that meets the needs of the business as well as your desires as an employee.
2. Set Ground Rules
If you live with others – be it family or housemates – it’s important to set ground rules around noise levels and when you cannot be interrupted. For example you may have children returning from school in the afternoon. Depending on their age you need set clear boundaries about when you are working and cannot be interrupted. The same applies for neighbours / friends who may like to drop in if they see that you are at home. You need to educate them on your working hours when you are unavailable for social meet ups.
3. Have the Right Workstation
If your home allows the ideal is to have a permanent home workstation. Ask your employer if they will pay for or contribute to this. Even if your employer is not prepared to pay I’d urge anyone to invest in their home workstation. A proper desk is great but not essential, however in my opinion the most important piece of kit is a good chair that’s fit for purpose. If you spend many hours in front of a screen or using a keyboard you can suffer from RSI if you don’t have the right posture and position. An adjustable chair will help greatly with this. You can purchase second-hand office chairs for a fraction of the new price eg Used Office Chairs. Another inexpensive addition that I have invested in is a laptop riser and a wireless keyboard.
4. Manage Your Hours
You will know what hours you are contracted to work. Contrary to some employers’ concerns, many people work far longer hours when working from home than they would normally do in the workplace. This is due to a number of factors including lack of a commute and lack of distractions. If you are someone who tends to work much longer hours whilst at home make sure you manage this, plan your day and build in regular breaks. This could be 5 minutes to put on a load of washing or prepare a meal – don’t feel guilty doing this – think about the time in the office we spend having a quick chat with colleagues – you’re just taking a different type of break.
5. Take Exercise and Get Outside
There is a danger that when we work from home there can be days when we may not leave the house at all. The benefits of getting outside and taking daily exercise are very well documented. Make sure you get outside every day – even if you just walk round the block for 10 minutes.
6. Clear Communication
Finally and perhaps most importantly, if you are going to make working from home successful for both you and your employer its vital to have a good communication system in place. Your employer should feel totally confident in the knowledge that you are as productive whilst working from home as you are in the office. The means of communication will be various – you may like to have a regular video call or just emails and phone calls. Whatever the method you use the key to have an agreed level of communication in place that works for both you and your employer so that all parties are well informed according to business needs. ,,,
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