home working

Posted 15 July 2014 | 0 Comments

With the advancement of technology, remote / home working is now a realistic option for many of us.

Remote working is a truly viable option for more people than ever before. Email, mobile phones, call forwarding and web-meetings have made the necessity for an office-bound 9 to 5 a thing of the past in a wide range of sectors, and new tech developments increase this freedom year on year.

 

At the end of June 2014, the right for all workers with 26 weeks’ continuous service to request flexible working became law. Employees across the UK are now able to consider much more seriously the suitability of remote working and how it could improve their lives. But the idyllic home working scenario some might imagine (getting out of bed late, skipping the daily commute and long lunches with friends) may not be all it’s cracked up to be. If you’re personality is not matched to a more flexible environment, working remotely could actually be damaging to the home/life balance you’re hoping to improve.

Ending your day at the end of the day

It’s fair to argue that the structure imposed by specified hours in an ordinary work environment allows for a cut off at the end of each day and a clear divide between personal and professional life. Many home workers suffer from a lack of boundaries which cause their working hours to bleed into everyday life and significantly reduce ‘down time’.

After all, without the need to leave your work station and get home, that extra ten minutes you give to a project can easily become an hour, then two and before you know it you are heading to bed without having stopped working since the day began. Flexible hours can be a great help for parents, grandparents, carers and plenty of others, but it takes careful planning and a determined attitude to make sure you stick to what is reasonable.

You might just miss those ‘irritating’ colleagues

In any workplace, you’d be extremely lucky to find that you get on well with everyone all of the time. Maybe it’s someone who slurps their tea, a laugh that rubs you up the wrong way or something more serious but for most people there is something or someone you think you’d be happier without.

For many, the chance to lock themselves away and hide from their co-workers would be a welcome break but, unless you’re truly happy to be alone for large periods of time, remote working can be a very lonely experience. Think carefully about how you will feel once the novelty of time to yourself wears off. If a quick chat while the kettle boils helps to break up a stressful day you might just find yourself missing the companionship your workplace offers.

Considering other options

Perhaps you’re seeking a more flexible routine but you don’t want to work at home? Many professionals find that contract work or temporary roles offer diversity and flexibility without the loss of contact with others or the day to day structure a workplace provides.

This kind of working can be a great way to expand your skills and is worth considering if permanent roles are not suited to your industry or personality.

 What if you want to work remotely?

If you feel that your job would lend itself to remote working, be sure to spend time weighing up the good and the bad. Speak to friends who are already working from home or research blogs/articles online if you have nobody with enough experience to help.

Once you have made your choice, you will need to present a written request to your employer explaining why and how you intend to work remotely. Remember you’re only entitled to make one request in any 12 month period, and your employer is not obliged to agree so you have to make it count. A rushed explanation won’t help you in the long run, be sure to think it through.

For clear guidelines on your rights and how to make a request for flexible working, visit the ACAS website here.

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