I live on the North West coast of Donegal and work in Derry, a daily round trip of 80 miles and two and a half hours.
I consider myself very lucky to be able to work from home one day a week for lots of reasons. The arrangement works well for me and my employer, Learning Pool, and I’ve worked this way for over four years now.
So it was with some amusement and, I confess, a little smug satisfaction, that I read this BBC article about working from home today. Quite clearly working from home is not for everyone and the suspicion about company motives permeates many of the comments.
Learning Pool seems to be a positively enlightened employer against this backdrop. We have about 30 people based in the office in Derry and another 20 or so based at home throughout the UK. We even have one team member who works from home in Malaga.
So how do we seem to be able to make it work? I compiled a little list of some Do’s and Don’ts that may give an insight.
- use technology like Skype (with video), Yammer, Twitter, Go to Meeting etc to stay in touch with colleagues
- check out what colleagues are chatting about – we use Yammer as our virtual watercooler
- be focused – write your To Do list first thing and stick to it
- create a good working environment for yourself
- know your technology so you can be more self reliant
- be organised with your day – get your shower at your normal time, not lunch time
- remember to take a break – it’s often too tempting to keep going when you’re on a roll
- make sure family and friends know and respect the fact that you are working, even though you’re at home
- save tasks that require your full concentration for when you’re working from home -you will rattle through them much quicker without the office based distractions
- waste time constantly catching up with those back at the ranch
- turn it up to 11. Keep distractions and entertainment as you would have in the office, ie no TV, quiet music etc
- try to put a wash on/put a casserole together/clean the loo while you’re taking a break to make a cup of tea
- take the p** with appointments etc, trust is essential
- forget that, for some, out of sight can mean out of mind
- waste time with an unreliable broadband supplier – this is an essential
- be tempted to work right up to bed time – be able to switch off and leave work behind
- be unavailable – your boss and colleagues should always be able to call you
- forget to get dressed
What have I missed from my do’s and don’ts lists? Share your own tips, please!