How to start working from home after the pandemic
A guest post by Max Williams.
We’re currently in the grips of a global pandemic. It seems to have been going on far longer than we ever imagined, don’t you agree?
However, the end is in sight thanks to a worldwide vaccination effort that should hopefully see us free ourselves from COVID’s grasp.
During the various stages of lockdown, many people have found themselves working from home for the first time ever. It might have been something you thought about doing in the past but never got around to. Or something you’ve never thought of doing, or something that you’ve tried and you haven’t quite made it work for you.
It’s true that working from home isn’t for everyone but for those whom it suits, home working can create an ideal home and work-life balance.
If you’ve tried working from home during the pandemic and it’s something you think you’d like to continue with after this nightmare is over, how do you go about it?
Is your office going back to commercial-based settings?
The first thing to ascertain is what your manager has in mind. Do they want everyone to gradually phase back into the office once the pandemic is over? Or are they considering allowing a more remote and flexible method of working to continue?
Nobody really knows when the pandemic is actually going to end. So it’s possible your manager has a road plan in place for when things ease up. However, it’s equally possible they have no clue yet either!
It’s a good idea to approach your manager about future plans earlier, rather than later. This gives them food for thought and helps them to understand what you would prefer. It also allows you to start being more planned in your own approach moving forwards. Unpredictability is no fun, after all.
Finding out what the possible future plan is from your manager helps you to choose what you really want. If you’ve decided that you love working from home and it’s something you want to continue with, ask about setting up a flexible working arrangement to enable that to happen.
Is a flexible working arrangement good for working from home?
Some businesses may call it by another name, but the general idea is the same. This is a request you put in to your manager which requests permission to work in a more flexible way. This could be working from home all the time, part of the time, working completely remotely, or working part-time or full-time. It’s basically a change to your regular way of working and it’s done in a formal request manner.
Employers don’t have to approve your request, but they do have to consider it. And if they choose to reject it, they have to give you a reason why. This can’t be just any old reason, it has to be a business reason that will stand up to good sense.
For that reason, when putting in a flexible working arrangement for continuing to work from home, make your request as water-tight as possible. Think about the possible questions they will ask you and try and think ahead to the possible problems that you not being in the office may cause. Then, come up with a solution for it. The less thinking you give your manager to do, the better!
If your manager says no, it’s time to really think about what you want. Do you want to go back to the commercial office? Do you want to look for employment with another business who will let you work from home? Or do you want to think about going freelance and working from home permanently? It’s a tough decision, but it’s one to consider now, and ponder it over time.
Creating a long-term home office
If you intend to work from home for longer than a few months, and past the ‘wait and see’ feel of the pandemic, it’s important to set up a home office that is not only comfortable and supportive, but which looks the part too.
So, what are the main elements of a top quality and inspiring home office?
- Comfortable furniture – A desk in the corner of the dining room really isn’t going to cut it over the long-term. You need ergonomic furniture if at all possible adjustable to your body shape and to help you sit in the correct position. You should also think about a height adjustable desk, so you can work in a sit and stand routine, therefore helping with health and wellbeing.
- A relaxing yet productive decor – Did you know that the colour of your office and how you decorate it has a huge effect on your productivity levels? Go for a blue, green, or yellow tint to your office and you’ll feel relaxed yet productive. Avoid purple and red, otherwise you may feel a little stressed and highly strung! Avoid too much clutter but personalise your space to make it feel comfortable. This is your office, after all.
- Adequate lighting – Lighting that is too dull, too bright, or flickers, is going to cause eye strain, headaches, and potentially migraines too. Make sure you have enough natural light making its way into your space but also focus on ensuring the space is lit well enough to help you to see!
- All the equipment you need in place – Think about what you need and make sure you have it all in place. Arrange your items so that they’re not in the way, but they’re within easy reach. It stands to reason that you’ll need storage to ensure that you don’t have papers all over your home office too.
Working from home isn’t for everyone, but it could be for you
Working from home can be a challenge, even for those who have done it for a while. Distractions are rife and you have to learn to use time management techniques to avoid wasting time and allowing your productivity to suffer. Start tracking your productivity now and look for distractions. That way, you can work to overcome them before they cause you a problem in the near future.
Remember to design your office properly and to think about your health. A sit-stand desk really is a great way to not only get exercise but boost your productivity at the same time. By doing this, and taking regular breaks, you’ll make working from home a productive and enjoyable working situation for you.
About the author
Max Williams is a proud father, red wine lover, outdoors and curious of anything digital and productivity.
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