27 January, 2021

If given the choice, should you continue to work from home?

Employees have had the right to request flexible working – including working from home – for some time now. The coronavirus lockdown has exacerbated the need for remote working, prompting many to consider whether they’d like to continue doing so in future.

As the pandemic persists, many employees are noticing the benefits of at-home working; no more stressful, time-consuming commutes or money wasted on travel and food. Managing work is much more efficient and spending time with family is much easier.

Of course, despite the benefits, making this kind of transition – no matter whether you’re a full-time or part-time remote worker – can have a major impact on both your career and your personal life. If your company has said you can work from home through the end of the year and beyond, here’s what to consider before making the chance permanent.

Thinking about how you work best

If you’re feeling conflicted about staying home or returning to the office, it might be time for a little self-reflection. What would you be most comfortable doing over the long-term, and in the best-case scenario? Consider that coronavirus is an extreme situation, and working from home may change over time.

For example, maybe you were overjoyed to be working from home at first, but now social isolation is catching up with you. Or maybe you’ve been unable to concentrate whilst also homeschooling your child? If child-care facilities reopen, would you be more productive working from home then? There are a lot of unforeseen factors to consider.

While it’s important to think about productivity, don’t discount your personal preferences when thinking about returning to the workplace. The office is often an untapped fountain of social connection – being vulnerable with your co-workers gives an element of understanding and interaction missing at home.

Essentially, people tend to overestimate how happy they’ll be alone; forgetting about the joy of unplanned social interaction.

 Think about what equipment you’ll need

When lockdown was introduced in March, many thought they’d only be away from the office for a few weeks – lo and behold, months later, here we are. If you’re going to make the working from home arrangement last long-term, consider the type of equipment and technical support you’ll need from your employer.

Do you have space to work well from home? Will working from the kitchen be too disruptive? Has your employer offered a coworking space? Location can’t be discounted either.

Don’t be afraid to ask your boss if you’ll be supplied with an adequate laptop, monitor, keyboard and mouse. If you see yourself setting up a new home office, think about what you’ll need to be your most productive – whether that’s an ergonomic keyboard, fancy chair or fax machine.

Talk to your boss about how you’ll meet goals

Moving forward in a remote arrangement requires a thoughtful conversation with your boss. Have conversations about what could be better, what needs to shift and how your boss can support you.

It’s wise to take a step back, and revaluate what success means to your company. Then, think about how you’ll set goals with your boss. A benefit of continuing remote working is surely the enhanced communication that comes with it; communicating progress is easier than ever with modern technology.

An often overlooked aspect of working from home is how you’ll still connect with your superiors and colleagues when you’re away from the office. Sure, you could travel to the workplace for certain events, but where is that day-to-day human connection? It’s also fair to discuss how your boss will be providing this necessary connection as you work to meet their goals.

Definitely consider staying as a remoter worker if your employer implements programmes such as Lifeworks throughout the company. Lifeworks offers connection at the push of a button – put their incentive programmes to good use, and continue meeting every goal your boss could possibly set you.


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