For employees

Working from home: A staying insider’s guide

Earlier this month, London School of Economics released a report on the experiences of 500 home-workers.

The findings revealed that actually, the whole experience for both employers and employees wasn’t overwhelmingly positive. Employees can feel isolated, miss opportunities and have to pay their own utilities. ON top of that employers can think that their workers are taking advantage.

In reality, working from home isn’t better or worse than working in-house – it’s just different. And it can be hard. So you’ve got to make some hard and fast rules. We interviewed a few ‘home workers’ to get their tips, too.

Be prepared

Working from home sometimes involves slugging most of your office back to yours. Do you have your work-approved laptop with battery life? Does it have access to work’s hallowed Drive? Do you have killer internet? Are you nearly as contactable as in the office? Available on Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook calls and MSN messenger? It’s a lot harder to feel connected from home so over-prepare like it’s you’re A-Levels on an Arctic expedition.

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“Try and keep a presence in the office. See if they will set up a desk specifically for Skype, open all the time, so you can just shout as if you are there” – Josh, Games Designer

Get a shed

Get a special working desk, well lit, away from distractions, in a different room from where you sleep. What do you mean, your flatshare in Clapham doesn’t have its own study? Alright, this is quite hard to do in practice, but improvise! The dream is the Roald Dahl shed- he wrote most of his books in it. A friend of Perkbox has one, and he got loads of work done:

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“Just out of reach of the WiFi box and the most exciting picture in sight was my housemate’s portrait of Dr Johnson”– Prakash, Lawyer

So get yourself a shed. THE SHED IS A METAPHOR FOR YOUR OWN SPACE. Other ‘sheds’ include: coffee shops, libraries, shared workspaces, the friend’s room whilst he’s in the shed, etc.

Errand day
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This isn’t errand day; this is work from home day. Do not try and fit your errands into this day. If you must run an errand, do it before work, or at lunch. Do not disappear to the post office at 11:30- you probably won’t beat the queue. You’ll probably be late. And then hungry at 12 anyway.

“Don’t plan all your errands, treat it like a normal day. I always try and fail to do the washing” – Rosie, Civil Servant

 

Get out of the house

At the end of your hours it is utterly imperative that you get out of the house and do something different. If it involves speaking to people, even better. Go to the pub. Go to yoga. Seriously. Your brain will feel weird. The slippery slope to hermit-dom needs to be avoided at all costs. If you don’t talk all morning you wonder how long you can go without talking- a dangerous road to pursue because you’ll soon find yourself unable to even order coffee.

“Try and keep a presence in the office. See if they will set up a desk specifically for Skype, open all the time, so you can just shout as if you are there” – Josh, Games Designer

You’ll miss the office

Yeah right. No, you’ll actually kinda miss office gossip, office food, office cake, office sweepstakes, office chat, office rumours, office chair. Oh, you’ll miss your office chair. Get some back support.

Beware mind games

Mind games sneak up on you: Do they think I’m not working? How do I prove I’m working? I know! I’ll work longer hours! I’ll write emails at 8am so they know I’m up.
People have worked for home before you. Your company know what a full day of work looks like. Just do your hours and don’t overthink it. Some people get more done at home. Some people get less done. A quick, non-scientific survey of acquaintances showed a rough 50-50 split. The LSE study suggested that, over the long term, working from home is no more productive than working in the office. It all comes out in the wash.

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“Hahahaha, as if I have the luxury of working from home!!” – Katherine, Investment Banker.

Unlucky Katherine. Or lucky?

- By Hannah Sims, editor at Perkbox.

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