A lady works on her laptop at home while her kid makes a painting.

Working From Home: The Ultimate Playbook

Over the last five years, the number of workers who work from home has skyrocketed by over 40%. Although the COVID-19 pandemic had something to do with this increase, people have learned over time that working remotely comes with its own benefits and is a great substitute for commuting to work every day. However, as with everything, working from home has its downsides, and you need a playbook to navigate these and help yourself have the most productive work-from-home experience. 

Stick around to find out more about this “playbook.”

What Are The Benefits of Working From Home?

Working from home has a lot of benefits both for the employee and the company. 

Benefits For The Employee

  • Helps Save Time and Money. Time is money, or so the saying goes, but remote working offers a chance to save both at once. Studies show that an average employee spends about 54 minutes commuting to work every day; that’s almost five hours a week and ten days a year spent on the seats of public transport or whatever means of transport the employee prefers. 

It might not seem like a lot when you consider this one day at a time, but in the grand scheme of things, five hours per week is a lot of time, especially when that time could be spent doing something productive. Not only that, moving from home to work and vice versa can cause you to exude a lot of energy, especially on busy days or during rush hour. Additionally, transportation costs money, money that can be saved or put towards the cost of other things. 

By working from home, an employee gets to save time, money and energy and can channel all these resources towards being productive. 

  • Helps Save More Money. This might seem repetitive but think about this. Working in any organization or company requires that you spend money on more than transportation. You would have to buy clothes fit for work, and depending on where you work, you may have to have lunch money every day. In certain organizations, these bills might be factored into your salary, but that’s not always the case. And even if it were, wouldn’t you prefer to spend your money on clothes that you aren’t obligated to buy?

If you worked from home, you wouldn’t even have to have clothes on to get your work done, well, unless you’re on a conference call. That said, working from home can help you get rid of or, at the very least, reduce some dispensable expenses. 

  • Makes Your Schedule More Flexible. Having a constant routine might be enjoyed by a good number of workers, but others find it boring and tiring. If you fall into the latter category, remote working might be just the thing for you. Those who work from home control their schedule, which means they resume and finish work when they decide and get as many breaks as they want when they like when they like it. 

Most importantly, remote working has a higher rate of productivity, and this is because workers have the option of carrying out their specific tasks when they feel the most productive. Additionally, a flexible schedule means an increased ability to multitask. Instead of grabbing coffee on your lunch break, you can decide to declutter your space, do a skincare routine, get started on dinner, do your laundry, or whatever it is you want to do. There are no rules. 

  • Better For Your Health. Let’s start by stating this: sitting behind a deal all day is not necessarily bad for your health, but it has its side effects, which don’t make it the best option. That said, working from home is a much healthier alternative. First of all, remote working eliminates or decreases the occurrences of work-related stress or anxiety. Secondly, working in the comfort of your home is definitely healthier than working in a space shared with several other people. 

Besides, you’re more physically active when you’re working from home, and all that movement is healthy for your body. 

A work meeting takes place virtually.
Working from home can have many benefits for the employee as well as for the company. 

Benefits For The Company 

  • Access To A More Efficient Work Team. Searching for a team can be a rollercoaster. One minute, you’re encouraged; the next, you have no hope, especially when your search is localized to a particular geographic area. Being open to the idea of remote working gives you a wider search area, and the wider your search, the more your chances of finding and hiring the best talent out there. 
  • Your Company Will Be More Productive. As aforementioned, remote workers tend to be more productive than people who work behind a desk. It goes without saying that a productive staff will result in a more productive company as a whole. 
  • Reduced Overhead Cost. It is expensive to keep a company running. Apart from managing the staff, you have to pay bills such as light, rent, utilities, et cetera; however, when a significant portion of your staff works from home, you, as a company head, get to save money on these bills. 
  • Remote Workers Make Up a More Reliable Staff. Workers love having flexible hours, and if your company provides them with that, they are sure to stick around for much longer. And it goes without saying that a reliable staff is the bedrock of every functional company. 

Are There Tricks To Make Working From Home Easier?

Well, we’re glad you asked because the answer to that question is “Yes.” The benefits of working from home are long and very attractive, but they don’t just fall into a person’s lap. Remote working can be the bane of your company or team if not handled properly. 

Here are a few tips that can help you have a smoother and easier work-from-home experience. 

  • Communicate effectively. Whether you’re a remote worker or an employer, communication works both ways and without it, a remote team cannot function right. Imagine you’re part of or supervising a team of workers from different parts of the world. Such a team can only thrive and achieve its goals if there is proper communication between the teammates and their supervisor. 

Now, in the process of establishing proper communication, everyone has to be considered, but at the same time, you, as a member of the team, have to consider everyone else and not be self-centered. If you’re part of a diverse team, that is, a team that consists of people across different time zones, it is important to realize that you will be required to make sacrifices at certain points. 

Especially when online meetings are to be fixed, it is hardly possible to find a time convenient for everybody, so when you can, take one for the team and have it at the back of your mind that your sacrifice is for the good of the team. 

A man on his computer at home.
If you’re part of a diverse team, that is, a team that consists of people across different time zones, it is important to realize that you will be required to make sacrifices at certain points. 
  • Encourage Employee-Emoloyee Relationship. A strong, healthy relationship between employees is a branch of proper communication, a highly important branch at that. Employees, especially those that are far apart, need to find a way to interact with one another within and outside of work hours, irrespective of whether a supervisor is present. 

These kinds of interactions are necessary to carry people along and keep people in the loop. As an employee, you can talk to your colleagues about a project you’re working on, and you might find their insight very helpful. Two heads are always better than one, don’t forget. 

  • Encourage Accountability. For a team to work like a well-oiled machine and a strong community, accountability is necessary. However, it takes two sides of a team to make this work, that is, the supervisor and the employee. If you’re a supervisor, that means that you’re probably under a lot of heat from the higher-ups, and while transferring this pressure to your team can help your overall productivity, it can also cause more harm than good if not controlled.

That said, supervisors should know when to be patient with the team or cut them some slack. For example, in a team where everyone is from a different time zone, a team member is going to be late to or absent from a meeting. That cannot be helped, but what you can do is make sure to do your best to keep everyone in the loop. This includes setting reminders and communicating the time for a meeting a few days before so everyone can prepare. Overcommunicating is better than poor communication. 

For employees, try not to work alone and try as much as possible to carry your own weight. If you don’t, not just you but everybody else gets the heat. Be accountable to someone, and if you have a problem meeting a deadline or attending a meeting, ensure to inform your supervisor beforehand. 

  • Be Available. When you’re part of a remote team, it is important that your teammates or supervisor can reach you in real-time, specifically during work hours. If you make yourself unavailable without informing your team, not only can you set the team back, but you can also pile up your workload. At the end of the day, you’ll get overwhelmed, and nobody’s 100% productive when they’re feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Define Your Work Hours. As a remote worker, work hours aren’t always specified; however, if you’re going to establish a healthy work-life balance, you need to define your work hours. You can’t have work stuff creeping into your alone time or family time, so define your work hours and have your teammates understand that they can only reach you for work-related stuff within these hours. 

Also, network workers are very prone to overworking, which is very unhealthy if you want to keep your level of productivity optimal. So, setting these boundaries between work and life also prevents you from overworking. 

  • Keep Your Communication in One Place. With remote working, every social media platform is a potential communication platform for you and your team, but we highly recommend that you keep your communication in one place. Decide with your team on one communication platform, and this way, your messages, and communication history can easily be referred to. 

When you use one system for your communication, documents and last conversations can be accessed from one device, regardless of where you are. Also, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re sticking to or trying to keep up with multiple systems at once. 

  • Take Breaks. One reason why many employees prefer working remotely is to avoid a 9-5 work environment, which can quickly become toxic. However, if you’re not careful, your work environment at home or in your dorm can quickly become toxic. One way to get ahead of this is to take breaks and be sure to pace yourself. Remember that you’re not a robot, and you need breaks once in a while. 

So, go out, make plans with friends, take strolls, have a dance party in your room, watch a movie, take a snack, or even take a nap. Taking these breaks, especially when you hit a wall with work, can be the morale boost or reset you need. Remember that breaks are healthy for not just your mind but also your body. 

  • Have a Mentor. It is easier to discharge the functions of an office if you have a mentor or someone to look up to. As a remote worker, it is easy to drown under the responsibilities of your job without anyone noticing, but having a mentor in such an environment can provide you with the company you need. Sometimes, you’ll need to know that you are not alone, and a mentor might be just what you need.

It is also a mentor’s responsibility to put you through in areas of your job where you’re feeling stuck. Now, mentoring is a huge responsibility, so before you choose a mentor, take your time if you have to, but we guarantee that having a mentor as a remote worker is great for your mental health and productivity in a remote workspace. 

A simple home workspace set-up.
With remote working, every social media platform is a potential communication platform for you and your team, but we highly recommend that you keep your communication in one place.

Ready To Elevate Your Work-From-Home Experience? 

Working from home can change your perspective towards corporate jobs, and the tips listed above can elevate your experience as a remote worker. Remember that you have a responsibility to your team, and working from home shouldn’t be an excuse to slack in your responsibilities; the higher-ups are always paying attention.
Stay productive, and good luck!

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