The lines between living your life and doing your work have been forever changed with the technologies that allow us to stay connected 24/7 on devices so small that they can go anywhere with us…yes, even to the bathroom. For many companies it is a matter of economics to make a shift in how we work. Commute times in large cities are becoming longer than the workday itself. The expense for companies to maintain offices that are sitting empty and idle for more than 15 hours a day does not seem to make sense anymore. This is even more critical when you factor in the state of our economy and the environmental impact of these expensive empty buildings.
What this is leading to is a shift from work at work to work at home. Off site workspaces, telecommuting and flex hours are the evolution of the new workplace. Here are some home office strategies to help you thrive in your work at home setting:
Dealing with isolation in a home office setting is usually the first challenge that arises. When I left my office job 15 years ago and started my own home based business Social Networking was unheard of. It was a very lonely time. Now with technologies like Skype, Google hangouts and Facebook chat connecting is quick and efficient.
The work at home environment needs to accommodate the work that is performed. Space planning is critical. If you have to tackle projects that involve intense concentration a quiet environment with minimal interruptions is a must. If you are dealing with large blueprints and reams of paperwork, adequate space for the tools to perform the work are mandatory. You can’t just make do! You will suffer. Stress will accumulate, resulting in a compromise to the quality of the work produced. When I first set up my home office I occupied a very large room in our home, recently the room was needed for a bedroom. I am now in the main part of the house with a desk that looks great and provides the space I need to do the work, while keeping me connected with the family. I also invested in a proper chair which makes sitting for hours possible and pain free.
When you are immersed in the buzz of activity in a busy office the pace set by the people around you can be enough to keep the work flowing….fast forward to a solo office at home. Managing the free flowing schedule of an offsite workspace can be tricky if you have trouble staying motivated and on track. Having a plan for the day/week and following it are the first steps to staying on track to complete the work at hand. The flexibility of the work from home arrangement allows you to work at your own peak times of the day, and with this uninterrupted flow of work you may be surprised that what may have taken all day at the office can be completed at home in only a few short hours.
Some of the benefits of this new way of working may be increased employee loyalty and retention. Happier employees are usually healthy and well employee…which leads to reduced overall company costs.
These strategies are not just for the work at home employee. They are for anyone who is working from home. Despite the challenges that come with this type of work environment, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. It is rewarding and opens the door to a lifestyle that only those who work this way can know and understand.