How to Work from Home: Benefits, Challenges, and How to Make it Work for You
More people are working remotely now than ever before, and they love it. Why? Work from home comes with a lot of perks for employers and employees - not to mention independent freelance workers.
It's not always easy, though, and not everybody is a fan. The jury is out on remote working for many, and if you are about to make the change, you may be feeling the same. Let us walk you through the good, the bad, and the possibilities that come with remote working. With a few tips on how you can make the most of at-home work, anyone can find the experience work from home benefits and rewarding.
Why Work from Home is Good for Modern Businesses (And for You!)
Remote working was once reserved mainly for independent business owners, digital nomads, and freelancers. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made it the way of life for a huge portion of the country. People who had spent decades working in busy offices suddenly found themselves unable to go to work and had no choice other than to work from home.
Initially, the move was for safety purposes, to reduce contact between co-workers, but it rapidly became so much more than that. Businesses found the economic advantages of working from home too good to give up, with many companies completely re-thinking how they work. It has many work from home benefits for both employers as well as employees.
Many employees protested the change but have since seen the light. It is not for everyone, but it could be for you. Here is an overview of what to expect when you work from home, including the advantages and disadvantages for both businesses and employees.
Advantages and Work From Home Benefits
- Reduced overheads: Electricity, water, and rent
- Better safety regulations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: Social distancing
- The chance to employ talent from around the world: No more location-based restrictions
- Happier staff: Content workers produce better work
- Downsized offices to help save costs: Businesses may need an extra boost to recover from losses during the pandemic
- A more flexible and adaptable business: Modern way of thinking, moving with the times
- Reduced travel times and costs: No more long commutes and hefty ticket prices
- More personalized workspace: Set up your office exactly how you like it
- Better work-life balance: Spend more time doing the things you want to do
- Increased independence: Enjoy the trust and freedom
- Flexible work schedules to work around family: Perfect for parents
- Good for people with health and safety concerns: Social distancing
- More job opportunities available: Apply for remote positions at companies around the world
Disadvantages of Working from Home
- More reliant on staff to work productively at home: Trust is essential
- Lost sense of team spirit in group projects: Lack of face-to-face contact can have this effect
- Data security concerns: Harder to control unsecured networks and potential hacks
- Loss of social life with colleagues: Lack of human contact on a daily basis
- Higher bills at home: The more time spent in the house, the more utilities you use
- Hard to settle into a routine: First-time remote workers may find it hard to adjust
- More distractions: Homelife is not always clinical and professional
- No immediate support: No supervisor or manager to turn to in a crisis
Top 10 Tips to Make the Most of At-Home Working
Overall, working from home can be an excellent chance. Many people say they could never go back to working in an office full-time now they have experienced the perks of working from home. Getting into the flow does not come naturally to everyone, and you may need a bit of guidance along the way.
If you are unsure whether or not it is right for you or are struggling to adjust to your new way of working, don't worry - you are not alone. Follow these 10 steps to make remote working work for you and enjoy the work from home benefits.
1. Give Yourself a Dedicated Workspace
Psychologically, people automatically feel more productive when they enter an office area. Because you associate the space with work and only work, your brain switches to this setting whenever you are there. On the other hand, when you walk into your lounge space, your brain and body switch off and begin to relax.
Setting up a dedicated area for home working is an absolute must if you hope to get the most out of it and enjoy fully work from home benefits. Ideally, a separate room with a door is the best option, but that is not possible in most homes. A work nook set up in a quiet corner where you are unlikely to feel distracted works just as well.
Avoid getting into the habit of working at the kitchen table while you eat or in your bedroom. These zones are not conducive to productive, focused working.
2. Treat Yourself to Quality Furniture
Posture problems and back pain are just as real an issue for remote workers as they are for office staff. The importance of a good chair and convenient desk can never be stressed enough. If working from home is your new normal, kit out your space in style.
An adjustable standing desk is one of the best items any worker can have in their modern workspace, wherever it may be. Standing and stretching are essential for the health and comfort of workers, even if they work from home.
The benefits of finding the best budget ergonomic chair for your home office are tenfold. You don’t need to break the bank to avoid breaking your back - in fact, Autonomous offers excellent discounts for employees making the move to remote working!
3. Find the Perfect Office Desk Setup for You
Your office desk setup plays a central role in your day-to-day work life. Whether you like a minimalist desk with only the basics or a busy desk with all the accessories you could ever want or need, it needs to work well for you.
One of the pros of working from home is the freedom to set up your desk however you like, without being restricted to office policy or guidelines. Just remember, clutter is not only inconvenient on a desk, but it also distracts you from the task at hand.
Choose some ergonomic office desk accessories that benefit you and make working easier. Check your lighting, your cables, and your screens to make sure everything has a convenient flow and feels good to work with.
4. Stick to a Routine
Of all the disadvantages of working at home, the lack of routine is the one people find the most difficult to deal with. Having set working hours may seem restrictive, but it actually makes things a lot easier. It is far better than getting some work done here and there with no rhyme or reason as to when - which is not productive and is likely to leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Give yourself a productive working schedule and stick to it. A morning routine and afternoon routine helps you feel more normal in your at-home work life. You don’t need to work the same hours every day - one of the perks of working from home- but you should know in advance what you plan to do.
5. Make Rules and Follow Them
Rules are your friends when you work from home - for both yourself and the other people in your house. Make sure your household knows when you are working and when you are not, and decide on a set of rules regarding how to act during your working hours.
Perhaps make your office space a no-go zone while you are working or restrict noise levels at certain times. Distractions are often welcome, but they are not productive. If you stick to your rules, you are likely to get a lot more work done in less time - leaving more opportunities to take advantage of being at home with the people you love.
6. Don’t Forget to Go Outside
Even if you work in an office for 10 hours a day, you at least go outside on the journey there and back. When you work from home, days can pass without the need to actually leave the house. This is unhealthy on multiple levels, so don’t get caught in the trap!
Part of your routine that you set for yourself should include a walk, a garden break, or some way to get some daylight and fresh air in your lungs. Sitting down all day is bad for your body but being stuck inside all day is bad for your mind.
Your mental and physical health should always be your top priority. Simple things like scheduling an hour’s walk around the park in the afternoon or even 30 minutes of gardening before you eat lunch make a big difference.
7. Focus On Communication
Communication is essential for a successful business. If you are a remote worker but still part of a larger company network, make sure you keep an open line of contact. The recent pandemic showed the world the value of keeping in touch and how many excellent communication tools we have at our disposal to help us do so.
If you work independently or are self-employed, communicate with your business contacts and employees. People need other people, even in the corporate world.
8. Keep Work and Play Balanced but Separated
The clue is in the name: working from home. This is not one long snow day when you get to skip out on your responsibilities and have a nice time at home. Sure, one of the advantages of working from home is an improved work/life balance, but it needs to be properly managed.
Spending more time with family and friends is undoubtedly one of the best things for remote workers, and that freedom is a luxury. Losing the balance in your life and letting work take over is not healthy, but it also can’t go the other way.
9. Maintain a Positive Mindset
Positivity gets you everywhere, and negative thinking plugs all opportunities. None of the pros of working from home matter if you can't get into a forward-thinking headspace. Motivating yourself to work hard and succeed on your own without the immediate support of a team around you is not easy, but it can be done.
Those who master the art of positive thinking and self-motivation are bound to excel when they work from home. There is a lot of freedom that comes with remote working, but you need to know how to make the most of it!
10. Take Advantage of the Perks
Last but not least, don’t forget to enjoy the work from home benefits. Make that cake you never had time to make, take up that hobby you always meant to start, reconnect with the people you were always too busy to call. If you follow the previous nine tips, you could be surprised how much extra time you have on your hands.
By making the move to remote working, you give yourself an extra challenge- to use your motivation and self-determination to stay productive and successful - but you also open up a world of opportunities to improve your quality of life.
With the right attitude and a few little tweaks to your space, it is great to work from home. Work from home benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, as long as you follow a few simple rules. It is easy to miss the comradery that comes with working together in an office, but for many reasons, this is simply not the norm for everyone anymore. That being said, there are plenty of perks of working from home to make up for it.
Take advantage of the employee purchase program and upgrade your home office at a discounted price. Just because you work from home, it doesn’t mean you don’t need the best ergonomic chair and desk. You deserve comfort and support, no matter where you work.
Focus on the advantages of working from home and you may find you never want to go back! The most important thing is to keep an open mind and stay productive. Oh - and don’t forget to have a little fun with it!
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