Make a success of working from home

Many people cannot work from home because their job simply can’t be carried out in that context. As for the rest of us, working from home can be a revelation, or purgatory, or perhaps somewhere in between.

To make WFH a success, you need three things: a positive attitude, a dedicated space in which to work, and the right selection of software tools to carry out your job with the minimum of hassle. Some people would add a dog for companionship, though most would do without the kids around, especially if they’re learning violin or the bagpipes.

Attitude

If you’re dead set against the idea, then WFH will never work for you. However, it’s possible to bring yourself round to the idea by taking things a step at a time in order to persuade yourself that it’s not so bad after all. It will feel quieter working by yourself and you’ll no doubt miss the casual coffee-time banter that used to lighten your day. But these can be remedied with an online radio station perhaps, and there’s software available for you to communicate verbally with your colleagues and customers, and conduct meetings. Furthermore, you won’t miss that delivery you were expecting, you won’t be spending so much on fuel and wear and tear to the car, saving lots of CO2 in the process, and you can reduce your clothes budget. There's plenty to feel good about!

Workspace

You’ve really got to have a dedicated place in which to work, such as a separate study room. In parts of Scandinavia, some houses even come with two front doors, one of which is exclusively to access the workspace, so the home worker actually leaves the house by one door and re-enters via the other. You don’t have to go that far, but stuffing a desk and PC into the corner of a bedroom is not going to work long term. You might even be able to get help from your employer with the cost of setting up a decent workspace.

Software

You’ll need almost all of your software tools to be web-enabled, so that you can easily share documents and so on with your colleagues, rather than having to continually email stuff. You’ll still require email to use for formal or confidential communications with your employer or your customers. Probably the most in-demand software for home working is some form of video conferencing, such as Zoom or Google Meet, which we’ve seen in action recently, being used by members of the Royal Family and by Parliament. It’s surprisingly easy to install and use, and it really helps to engender the community spirit that you used to enjoy at the office.

Don’t forget

Take a break now and again. And if you do have two front doors, go home for lunch.

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