Though it seems like the entire world has been talking about working from home for almost the past 3 years, there are still many people who either have never worked from home, or don’t know how to work from home the right way.
We reached out to a number of businesses about their experiences with working from home. One of the companies that came back to us was TechQuarters, a provider of managed IT services London businesses have been using since long before the Covid-19 pandemic. When we asked them about how successful working from home can be, they said that it all depends upon how one approaches working from home – the practices can be what makes or breaks remote working for someone.
So, what are some of the ways in which you can make sure that working from home works for you?
Build Your Office
It is very important for anyone working from home to have a good office or workspace setup. Many people felt like they struggled to maintain productivity while working from home, and often the reason is that their setup is insufficient in helping them get into the work mindset.
Firstly, your setup should be comfortable and appropriate for work. This means well-lit (to avoid eye-strain), and an appropriate desk/table and chair which supports good posture and is comfortable to sit in for several consecutive hours. According to TechQuarters, it is also worth looking at your computer and equipment and seeing how that can be improved. For example, if you use a laptop, you can increase comfort and reduce risks of RSI by using a laptop stand, and an external keyboard and mouse.
Another very important thing to remember is that working from home means there are a lot more distractions. They could be from housemates, or family; they could be from your home itself (i.e. chores you need to get done); or distractions could stem from the fact that you are mostly unsupervised while working from home.
When working from home, it is worth having a conversation with your family or housemates about appropriate noise levels, and privacy during work hours. But you should also take measures to eliminate distractions that stem from your own activity – for instance, using apps to block social media or other non-work related sites and apps can be a good idea.
Manage Your Workflow
Physical offices have an advantage in that it is harder to forget about pressing tasks, because everyone with an interest in completing tasks or processes are under the same roof. Efficient workflows are down to two main things: communication, and the flow of information. These two things are harder – but definitely not impossible – to facilitate when working from home.
When we asked TechQuarters, they pointed to communication and collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, that make it easier for teams and departments to unify processes and communications into a single interface. In addition to this, there are many great workflow management solutions – such as ClickUp or Asana – that can help teams break down work into actionable tasks, and track progress.
Set Work Boundaries
Finally, to make sure that you are working efficiently and productively while working from home, you need to be setting work boundaries. But what does this mean?
It has actually been found that people who work from home spend more hours a week working, and less time away from their desk during work hours. Unfortunately, this does not correspond to better productivity – in fact, the risk of burnout is much higher when working from home without sufficient work-life boundaries. This is why anyone working from home needs to set strict boundaries on when and for how long they work.
Working from home can be incredibly productive and improve one’s quality of life; you can get time back in your work, and have more flexibility and freedom in your weekly schedule. But to get all the benefits it is important that you maintain the best practices that are listed above, otherwise you may experience lower levels of productivity, and even risk burnout. According to TechQuarters, who have seen the impact of remote work while providing IT support Financial Services companies rely on, working from home has the potential to be more productive than office-based work has ever been – thanks to modern technology – but in the end it also comes down to each individual being supported.