Making working from home work for you

Three top tips to succeed at working from home

Working from home – often seen as synonymous with flexible working – is a great tool that allows us to better manage our workload and… well, our life. 

Working from home offers a host of benefits for both employees and organisations. Employees feel more empowered and trusted to deliver, which in turn reduces burnout and stress, and greatly enhances employee wellbeing and mental health.

For organisations, the advantages include less churn as employees are more loyal (cost savings), a reduced requirement for office space (cost savings), and an offset to the organisation’s carbon footprint.

Seems like a win-win, right? So why do so many people struggle to get their line manager’s buy-in to work from home, even when the organisation has a flexible working policy? That’s a whole other article in itself (it’ll be live next week…).

In a nutshell, though, it comes down to the line manager’s insecurity:

“You can’t work from home, because how will I know you’re working and not just watching Jeremy Kyle?”

Whilst this is a ridiculous attitude (Jeremy Kyle isn’t even airing any more…), some things are outside your control. However, there are three really simple changes that will make working from home much easier for you:

1. Be transparent: up, and down

It’s said that the best kind of defence is a good offence. Don’t try and hide the fact that you’re working from home. Put it in people’s diaries. And by “people”, I mean your team and your boss. Be clear where you are, and when.

When there’s not so much secrecy about your actions, people are less suspicious about your intentions.

2. Video calls

This is probably one of the most important changes you can make: utilise your camera. There’s no excuse not to. I haven’t come across an online meeting platform that doesn’t support video, and all laptops have cameras built in. If it’s a one-on-one phone call, use FaceTime or Skype.

It’s a subtle way to reinforce your presence, and it also keeps you accountable.

You won’t be scrolling through your phone on camera. This is something you can take back into the office with you. Over a few months you’ll notice more and more people joining in.

3. Dedicated space

This may not be an option for everyone, but where possible work in a dedicated space. I used to work off my breakfast bar, which was great for coffees and food, but it was harder to mentally separate my living space from my work space. Now I have an office. There’s a huge TV that acts as a second screen, a desk, and a whiteboard for planning and ideation.

When I’m done, I close the door. Separation is key.

If trust is still an issue for your line manager or department, that’s a difficult one to overcome. And actually I’d be asking whether your employer offers the right cultural fit for you in the long term.

These three tips are yours to own. You can action them now. Let me know how you get on in the comments.

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3 Thoughts to “Making working from home work for you”

  1. Dan

    Hi Dan,

    As a fellow career dad this is s great blog, thank you!

    Would you be able to share a pic of your home office set up? I can’t quite seem to get my space right!

    1. Hi Dan, thanks for you comment. For sure – it’s very much a WIP, but I’d be happy to. Will do a post on my instagram 🙂

  2. Daniel Goodfellow

    Thank you!

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