Is it viable to work effectively from home?
Can an employee work from home as effectively and productively as a member of staff in an office? 10% of employees in the US now work from home, those are huge numbers but what are the benefits? Working from home cuts down on costs for both employers and employees. If your employees are working from home they are not using the office electricity and they don’t require you to buy expensive equipment for them. They will most likely be working on their own devices and saving money on their commute to and from work in the process. It’s a win-win situation. Here are some more tips for working from home effectively…
We have the Technology
The first thing I would suggest if you want to be able to work from anywhere is a laptop computer or Mac. If you are using a desktop you will never be truly mobile so investing in a device which gives you freedom to work from anywhere is a must. Even in the traditional workplace the trend towards ‘bring your own device’ is common, if you want to be more location independent in the modern online world, you need at least one mobile or portable gadget that will get you online and accessible to your messaging and social networks. If you do need to go into the office you can pack up your laptop and go.
Clear a Space
Although there isn’t much actual “paperwork” in the modern working world, you will still need a comfortable workspace to call your own. Sitting with your laptop on the arm of the sofa in front of the TV may be cosy and comfortable but it probably isn’t all that productive. Make a designated workspace where you do nothing else but work and set yourself work hours to spend there. You also need space from friends and family, treat your working hours as if you were in an office, take breaks by all means but let people know when you work so they don’t just pop round for a coffee whenever they feel like it!
Keep in Touch
Communication with colleagues is crucial for home-working effectiveness. It has never been easier with Skype, VoIP, Web Conferencing and the like. You can do a lot of it for free, the paid additions such as an inbound number and voicemail are very reasonably priced as well, and even premium options such as group videoconferencing are extremely competitive. Remember to invest in a decent USB headset, so that your customers don’t think you are calling them from a mobile which doesn’t look very professional. As well as verbal and visual communication there is also the matter of information and document sharing which brings us nicely into…
Filing Cabinets need not apply
The big change that is the move to cloud computing has enabled collaborations across continents, time-zones, a matter of ease. One of the easiest ways to share files and resources securely is storage facilities which are cloud-based and accessible to all from any device, anywhere in the world. You can install software on all your devices and if you are using your iPad or laptop whilst out at a meeting, or your phone on a train, you can pull up the files you need. It is an easy way to share documents with colleagues or customers.
Keep Track of Time
There are so many great apps and software for time-tracking, invoicing and accounting that the whole thing gets easier every day. You don’t need to be paying your staff for checking their Facebook or chatting with their mum on Skype, just because you aren’t there to supervise. Make them accountable for their every move and they will be as productive and effective as any office-based member of staff.