The How-To: A Guide To Working From Home
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With the rise of flexible working options, more and more professionals have decided to “do their own thing,” and bid farewell to the conventional 9-5 office environment. At the same time, many corporations have started outsourcing certain departments, which offer plenty of opportunities for skilled professionals to be working remotely on projects and short-term assignments. Several reputable organizations have also implemented remote/working options for their workforces, owing to the internalization of many industry sectors, which requires flexible staff to keep the communications going between different countries and time zones.
Amazon, Dell, IBM and Virgin Atlantic have been forerunners in implementing this concept, and now, various other public and private sector organizations are in the process of following their footsteps, as it has proven to be beneficial for not only the organization’s overall success, but also to foster an employee’s performance by giving them a certain flexibility to create a balance between their personal and professional lives. But for those who are considering flexible working options, it’d be good to keep these pointers in mind before signing the dotted line:
1. Is your personality suited for working remotely?
Working remotely is not for everyone, and therefore, before making the decision of leaving the office environment for good, make sure to ask yourself if you are okay with not being in a social setting, such as the office. Working away from the office can be very lonely for those who don’t enjoy solitude, so be sure that you are ready for this aspect. Are you a self-starter, or do you need others around to motivate you to get work done? If you answer yes to the first, then there is a big chance that you will enjoy the benefits of working remotely, as you are your own boss, and let me tell you, it is a damn good feeling! Not only does it allow you to be more independent and creative, but it also shows that your employer trusts your abilities and judgment.
2. Set yourself up for a work mindset with your ‘office’ and your attire
I believe that having a fully equipped home office (if you don’t have such space, a corner could be set up as a dedicated office space) is important. You can get started on this easily, with just a small table, office chair, a pen and notebook. At the same time, I’d suggest dressing for work as if you were going to the office, as this gives you confidence and also puts you into the right mindset. At the end of the day, the better we look and feel about ourselves, the more productive we end up being. No matter if at home or at the office, work is still work, and I personally suggest not working in one’s pajamas!
3. Define what work-life balance means to you
This can be a tricky one to figure out, as your home is now your office and dealing with an annoying client/colleague can cause you to bring your work distress into your personal space. The key to fix this, though, is to leave these issues in your “office,” and separate them from the rest of the house. For instance, keep a dedicated phone line/laptop for work, and this prevents you from mixing it with your personal agendas. When working from home, we can easily work more than we signed up for- so it’s important to set boundaries. I personally work from 9-5, and overtime is a “no- go.” I have always believed in having a good work-life balance, and by sticking to my office hours, I accomplish this not only for myself, but I also make room for quality time with my family, and no matter how busy my schedule gets, I wouldn’t compromise on this. As a result, I simply work harder during my hours of work: my motto is “work hard, play hard.”
4. Give yourself some time out too
Being at home every day can get monotonous, therefore one should always make time to go out. What works for me is to use my lunch breaks to go for an express work out at the gym. If an hour is not sufficient and the gym is too far, try going for a walk/run in a neighboring park. Things like these give me an energy boost for the remaining day at work, and also for my leisure time later. One of the other ways I get a change of scene is to simply pack my laptop and go to my favorite coffee shop, and work from there- I just need to make sure that an efficient wireless connection is available there! Working outside the home also offers the benefit of meeting up with a friend or loved one during your lunch break.
5. How do you find a job that offers flexibility?
If you are looking for remote working opportunities for the long term, I would advise you to apply for organizations that are known to offer these. However, such options are often only available for employees that have been with the company for a while, and therefore, if this is what you are looking for, it is worth sending off applications to these organizations. If you’re already employed, speaking to your boss or line manager is a good idea- though this concept may be fairly new for most companies, some may be surprisingly open to give it a try. At the end of the day, happy employees contribute to the company’s overall success, so why not give it a go?
For those of you who are looking to work on freelancing opportunities exclusively, I found that Nabbesh.com is an excellent channel to look for freelance assignments or project work. Once you decide to go for the independent working option, there are various ways of legally working as a freelancer, either by obtaining a freelancing license, or by registering a freezone company under your proposed business activities, just to name a few.