December 3, 2021

After working from home for close to two years, more and more employees have realised that they prefer working remotely rather than in a traditional office. 

Earlier this year, FlexJobs asked more than 4,000 job seekers how they would like their work arrangement to look in a post-pandemic world. 58 percent of respondents said they wanted a fully remote position, while 38 percent were in favour of a hybrid arrangement (whereby employees split their time between working from home and in the office).

And thanks to ever-evolving technologies such as Skype, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and authenticator apps, not to mention text or email, it’s perfectly possible to do your job just as well, if not better, from home or a third space than from your office cubicle – thereby freeing yourself from an onerous commute and helping you manage external work-life stressors.

If you are an HR manager or a small business owner still unsure on which side of the flexible-working fence you sit, read on.

What is remote work?
Remote work, also known as working from home, is a working style that allows professionals to work outside of a traditional office environment. Some remote workers are fully remote, meaning they work from home (or a cafe/ coworking space) 40 hours a week. Others work remotely a couple of days a week and the rest of the time from the office.

The benefits of remote working
At Optimal we allow our team to work from wherever they choose - that could mean in our London office or from home or a hybrid model (a mix of office and home based work) - because we recognise the benefits of flexible working: Increased employee productivity, reduced turnover and lower company costs. But before your organisation embraces remote work, there are a few key things that both employee and employer need to consider:

Set up a work space
Not everyone has a designated home office, but it’s important to find somewhere to work at home that isn’t your bedroom//kitchen. Aim, where possible, to separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it solely for work and not for other activities. It’s all too easy to let yourself be ‘always on’ when your home and office are the same place.

Know the rules
Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi? If so, you could consider venturing to a coffee shop or coworking space for a morning or afternoon so as to break up the working day.  Does your employer require you to work a nine-to-five schedule, or is there flexibility? It’s important that both employer and employee know the ground rules and stay connected via email and video-conferences etc.

Tech talk
Find out which tech tools you need in order to successfully complete your work - Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Trello - and be a valuable part of the team. And don’t forget to make sure you have the internet speed you need for working rather than FaceTiming and online shopping.
Do trial runs ahead of going remote and work out any problems that might obstruct your work.

Reduce distractions
If, like so many, you bought a dog during lockdown, look into investing in noise-canceling headphones. Ditto if you have kids at home or your neighbour has embarked on a pandemic DIY project. Childcare cancelled? You may have to talk to your company about working flexible evening hours.

Get dressed
Tempting as it is to veg out your favourite tracksuit bottoms, resist the urge. You might be working from home but you are still working and you never know when your CEO or a client will request a conference call via Google Meets with a second’s notice (coffee-stained pyjamas will not seal the deal).

Last word
Plenty of people love remote work  – no commute and all your home comforts – but it’s not for everyone. If you’re struggling with remote work and feeling isolated or distracted, speak up and ask for support. Your team should be supporting each other, and this includes remotely.

*Image credit: Unsplash