Most of us want to put 2020 firmly behind us. But there were some silver linings from this tumultuous year. One positive was the chance to work from home.
Australians whose jobs allowed them to do so discovered there were many personal benefits to working from your own home. You can save time and money if you don’t have to commute to work. Dress standards can be more relaxed and comfortable. If you have children, you may have more flexibility around childcare and the school pick up and drop offs. And with less time spent on commuting, you may also have a better work-life balance.
But working from home can have other unexpected benefits too – for both you and your employer.
So, if you’d like to work from home at least some of the time, how do you go about having that conversation with your employer? And how can you get the most out of working from home while avoiding some of the pitfalls?
Prepare for the conversation
Before you broach the subject with your employer, make sure you work out all the logistics of working from home in advance. Find out what you need to set up your home office. Make sure you have adequate internet connection and that you can follow your workplace’s security requirements while working remotely. You can then reassure your employer that you’ve done your homework and are well prepared.
It’s also a good idea to look at some research about the benefits that working from home. Years before the pandemic hit, studies had already been undertaken that revealed the advantages for employers who allowed their staff to work remotely. These included cost savings on office space and furniture, greater staff retention and increased productivity.
When you do sit down for that conversation with your employer, frame the conversation from their perspective and how it will benefit them. Explain any cost savings that it will offer them. Point out how working from the peace and quiet of your own home will make you more productive as you don’t have to deal with interruptions from colleagues or noise from staff communal areas.
Demonstrate how you’ll be able to work collaboratively – either through conferencing software or arranging to come into the office for meetings. Suggest you do a trial run of working from home, so you and your employer can be sure that it works well with the rest of the team.
Meet those remote work challenges
Of course, working from home has its challenges too. Many Australians said while working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown, they missed workday rituals like getting dressed in their work clothes or stopping at their regular café on the way. And 77% said they missed the energy of the workplace. Some people also felt their workdays got longer at home.
If you’re planning on spending some days in the office, most of these downsides won’t affect you. But it’s a good idea to keep up rituals on your days at home. For example, you might feel more productive if you put on work clothes before stepping into your home office. And if you’re missing the interaction with others, have lunch at a nearby café or take the dog for a walk before settling down to work
With work being inside your home, it’s also vital to know when the workday ends – and when you need a break. Turn off your laptop at the end of the day and don’t check emails out of work hours.
Source: Colonial First State