Working from home … alone
By: Dr. Helen Ofosu
Working from home … alone
In today’s world, we can do almost everything without leaving the comforts of our home. There’s online shopping, therapy via Snapclarity, advice and expertise via Magnifi, dining in courtesy of Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes, studying, and online dating. Even job hunting and interviews are quickly becoming synonymous with sitting in front of a laptop instead of pounding the pavement with a printed resume. Not surprisingly, most people are starting to warm up to the idea of doing their work from home. It’s no longer only independent or freelance professionals either. Now large companies and governments are also recognizing that their employees don’t need to board a congested bus to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours when they can accomplish the exact same thing without leaving their home at all. And, with digital monitoring already establishing its presence in corporations, managers/supervisors can observe their workers’ productivity from anywhere.
The advantages of working from home
Saving Money: There are so many ways in which getting from one’s home to the workplace can become costly. There’s the expense of a work-friendly wardrobe to fit all seasons. Transportation, including winter tires for a safer commute, is another expenditure as is constantly filling up the gas tank to get from one end of the city to another. Even if you’re lucky enough to be able to take public transportation to-and-from-work, those passes, and the additional costs of Uber or taxis on days when you miss a bus/shuttle can get expensive too. Then factor in the cost of before-and-after care for children (which can be hundreds just for a few hours a week) all because they have to factor in their travel time to-and-from work. For many professionals, their major financial stresses come from having to rent a space to work from, and with virtual offices popping up companies are now saving costs by allowing their employees to use their personal electronic devices rather than supplying them with corporate tech resources.
Time / Flexibility: You’ve heard the expression ‘time is money.’ Well, setting your own hours to accommodate your peak productivity is something that many of us don’t appreciate as much as we should. Some clients say their most productive time is in the afternoon and later evenings, others say they work best even before most people are brewing their morning coffee.
One client said, “Honestly, I get more done in an hour while draped in my bathrobe, sitting at my kitchen island than I ever did working in an office 9-5.” I won’t exaggerate and say that I can accomplish a full day’s work in an office in one hour from home, but I definitely pack a lot into a typical day at home. Reducing one’s travel time decreases the stress of rush hour traffic jams or trying to align bus schedules with office hours. More importantly, minimizing or eliminating the commute can allow you to concentrate on the job 100%. Studies show that less stress enables more creativity and motivation. This ‘found time’ also allows us to reassign some time to other tasks and errands that can’t be fit into a normal workweek. For some, this flexibility and freedom in a workday helps them maintain consistent motivation.
I know that many people factor in their anticipated commute times and whether or not a job offers at least some opportunities to work from home when making a decision about an offer of employment. Finally, there’s even some talk of factoring in commute times as hours worked to offset the significant amount of time that some employees spend in transit. Most working parents know that there are days when our children are sick and we need to stay home with them while they recover. Often, these are situations when we can still squeeze in some productive hours while our children sleep, watch Netflix, or play video games. In so many ways, it’s truly a win-win. When employers don’t permit working from home then these become lost hours that are difficult to recover.
Atmosphere/Ambiance: Home sweet home. There’s something satisfying about working in a comfortable environment. Unfortunately, many of our workplaces can sometimes feel like claustrophobic, windowless cages with unflattering lights above our heads. I hear complaints all the time that employees feel cramped in uncomfortable cubicles, bombarded by endless chatter from rows of co-workers. The air can be stale, (not too mention the workplace hazards during cold and flu season). The consequences of straining to block out distractions and recover from interruptions include headaches, fatigue, and irritability. Working from home is a great way to avoid toxic co-workers and bullying/harassment which occurs in far too many organizations.
Working from home sounds like paradise or heaven on earth. But is it a good idea for you? As the saying goes, everything isn’t for everybody. Check back soon for part two of this blog where I’ll cover the downside of working from home.
Do you need help navigating the world of work? Contact Dr. Helen today for a free and confidential initial consultation by phone, email, or via direct message on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. If something urgent comes up, I’m also available by a voice or video on Magnifi, an expertise-on-demand app.
Have you ever wished you could get inside the head of a hiring manager? You can. Dr. Helen Ofosu is a Career Coach/Counsellor with a difference. She has worked for organizations to create hiring and screening tools. She’s created countless pre-screening tests, interviews, simulations, and role plays for organizations of all kinds.
Dr. Helen’s training in Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology means she is a genuine expert in evaluating work-related behaviours. She uses those skills to help hiring managers tell the difference between people who say the right things during interviews and people who actually deliver on the job. In other words, Dr. Helen understands first-hand how job candidates are assessed.
More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.
I/O Advisory Services – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations.
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