Today’s technology has allowed workers to be more fluid with where and how they work, making remote working increasingly popular amongst employees. Companies everywhere are embracing the benefits of ‘anywhere working’. However, the benefits of working from an actual office should not be forgotten. There needs to be a healthy balance between the two, or you could start to see your productivity levels dwindle. Video conferencing, social networking and Cloud services make it easy to work from anywhere; because of this a lot of people believe it is no longer mandatory to go into the office for the job.
While giving employees the option to work from home is great for the business as a whole, too much time off can be bad for productivity and communication. Teams need to often come together to be able to bounce ideas off one of each other; if your key members are often missing from important meetings and collaboration work, then the quality of your work could decrease due to those team members not getting the right information or enough of it. Because of the risk that comes with allowing staff to work from home, Marissa Mayer the CEO of Yahoo, announced that there will be no more working from home for Yahoo employees -“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be impotent, so we need to be working side-by-side. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.” While technology today is great for communicating and data sharing on the go, face-to-face interaction is still preferred by a lot of people. Encouraging different ways of working will ultimately reduce costs and increase the job satisfaction for your staff, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of productivity, so here are some tips to help you stay productive on days you’re not in the office. 1. Dedicated space If you’re working from home it’s a no brainer that you should have somewhere you can work privately away from noise and distraction. While having a desk that’s tucked away in the corner of your room is great, have a look at how to turn that into a professional home office. Putting up a screen to section off the area from homely distractions is an effective and cheap method to cancelling out the buzz of home life. Always keep your workspace tidy and organised to create a sense of professional working environment and to help keep your priorities in order. 2. The me time It’s easy to get caught up in work once you get going however, just because you’re working from home it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a break. Go out for lunch, or not, whatever you prefer! But it’s important that you stretch those legs and get away from the desk every once in a while, this will help you to stay alert, thus increasing productivity. That and getting fresh air is never a bad thing! Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is a vital in order to stay healthy and ensure job satisfaction, but remember that you need to stay focused, so don’t stray from the task for too long or you could find yourself losing the motivation to get back into it. 3. Professionalism at all levels A great way to stay productive on a working from home day is to treat your home office like your own business. Apply the rules of your actual office to your home office, stick a picture up of your boss giving you the scowl if you feel like it’ll help you stay on task. Dressing for the occasion can also help you feel more active, studies have proven that you’re more likely to feel awake and alert on the job if you’re dressed for the part, as opposed to sitting in the office in your dressing gown. Make sure your workspace is clean, tidy and well organised; so that you can easily find the information you’re searching for if you so happen to need it. 4. Structures and routines Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of procrastinating when it comes to working from home. A great way to tackle this is to set a routine for yourself. Setting up a work structure for your day will help you to stay on task and complete them in a timely manner, while it’s great to be doing work all day, you’re not getting much done if you’ve spent the last four hours writing that one report. Break down your day into sections; morning for checking and replying to emails, midday for the important work, after lunch for less important work and at the end of the day check emails again. This is just a basic routine and you don’t have to follow it if it’s not how you work, everyone has their own methods of getting things done, but a routine is always needed. 5. Communication Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should just hermit away until you’re next in the office. Keeping in contact and making yourself available is important for your team to succeed, you’re still a part of a team even if you’re working from home! Keep your phone close and use programs such as Skype, FaceTime, and Dropbox to communicate and share information. Social media is also a great way in letting your team know what you’re up to. Never disappear without first letting a member of your team or management know where you’re going. There are many ways flexible working can benefit the company if done correctly and not abused. Remember these key tips and you will be able to keep productivity levels high while enjoying a day working from home. Flexible working relies heavily on trust and capability. It is up to the individual staff to produce sufficient work and to communicate effectively with their team members.