The events of the last year have made remote working – completely or partially – a genuine option for many companies and individuals who might never previously have considered it. “As someone who had previously always been office-based, working from home has really suited me”, explains Luke Bull.
Here are his top 10 reasons why.
- No more commute. I shudder to think how much time I have spent stuck in traffic in the past 25 years getting to and from various offices. An hour’s stressful commute doesn’t exactly put you in the best frame of mind to tackle the day ahead. And once you have emptied your in-tray, you face the same ordeal on the way home. And as for the cost of fuel…
- I can wear what I like. We’ve all seen the stories of people working in their pyjamas or just putting on a smart top when they have a Zoom call. I could do that too, but I choose not to. I actually wear exactly the same type of business casual garments I did when I was office-based. I think there is much to be said for keeping your work and leisure wardrobes separate – but I love the fact that I can ‘rebel’ if I want!
- When I need a break, I can have one. We all work hard but the last thing you need in an office is to receive disapproving glances from your boss just because you step outside for some air and to refresh your mind after a challenging task. Breaks from the screen are well documented as beneficial anyway, and nobody should feel guilty about taking them.
- Less time in pointless meetings. Pretty much anyone who has worked in an office will know this one – the meeting that nobody really wanted or needed, or the meeting that drags on interminably long after its primary aim has been achieved. Online meetings have to be planned and so are more likely to happen only when they are needed – and if you remember to book only a short Zoom slot, you have a ready-made ‘guillotine’ and reason for everyone to stay focused.
- Quiet space: the modern trend for open plan offices doesn’t suit those colleagues who prefer peace and quiet to work effectively, especially when it comes to highly involved or technical tasks. A home office space – especially if you can dedicate a room for this purpose – provides just that.
- Better tea and coffee: it’s not true everywhere but there are plenty of companies whose employees regularly bemoan the quality of beverages available or have an issue with the particular brand that their colleagues prefer. At home, it’s your choice. And you cannot blame anyone else!
- I can start when I like. Are you an early riser, or just one of those people who is more effective first thing in the morning? I know I am. And it was an incredible frustration for me at several roles when I turned up a bit early and the office was locked, meaning a wait for a keyholder to arrive. The most effective part of my day – gone in an instant. Now if I am up early and ready to get started, I just crack on.
- An earlier finish. At most office jobs, the expectation is that you take an hour for lunch, but most people don’t necessarily need that long, or end up working through at least some of it anyway. Cutting it by 15 minutes still allows me a decent break and a more timely finish at the end of the day.
- Trust. My responsibilities are no less now than they have been in many other roles I have had. But some of those employers assumed I was only working if I was in the office and they could see me doing it. If I am accountable for something, I will get it done, on time and to the required standard.
10. My food doesn’t get stolen from the office fridge. Unless you are one of those strange people that don’t eat lunch, you have probably had this happen to you. That freshly prepared healthy sandwich snaffled by an unknown co-worker leaving you fuming and trying to work out who the culprit was, as you make an unscheduled trip to the local café for an overpriced replacement.
It must be said, in closing, that working from home isn’t for everyone. Employers need to respect every employee and understand their own challenges. This may include providing employees with co-working spaces, or formalising catch up calls to keep everyone aligned with one another.
That said, there’s no denying working from home brings significant benefits. We’d like to think it’s a trend that’s here to stay.