The number of people working from home has risen to its highest level since records began, which now amounts to nearly 14% of the total UK workforce according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS also said that this was the highest proportion since measurements started in 1998 and according to the figures we home workers are in some of the highest skilled roles in the economy.
We are also older, over 30% of home workers are 45- 54 yrs old with the assumption that as people get older they require less supervision!
The trend for home working started in the 1990s, big companies – such as BT – began encouraging staff to work from home if they could.
But the TUC said too many UK bosses still did not trust staff to work from home and forced them into the office. The TUC also believes many companies have failed to embrace home working on a large enough scale.
“Too many bosses still don’t trust staff to work from home and instead force them to trudge into the office so they can keep an eye on them,” said Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary.
“Employers’ attitudes to new working practices must change to make a much better use of modern technology in all workplaces,” she said.
So are home workers working hard or hardly working – what are the problems with working from home?
There is a video (link at the bottom of the page) that will resonate with those of us who work (very hard) from home, enjoy.
In all seriousness if you cannot discipline yourself at work, how are you going to cope with working from home?
- You are flexible to schedule your work, start a 5am if it suits or work till midnight.There are more cars & less space nowadays so “no commuting” has to be my favorite.If you are more productive working in your pj’s then go for it, but a shirt is a must for Skype.No one looks over your shoulder or interrupts you, there’s no office gossip or politics to get involved with.Depending where you live, you may be able to claim home office expenses on your taxes or incidental expenses.When you remove the stress & time of the commute to work there’s a potential for higher productivity.Being at home for the family has to be high on most people’s list (unless you have teenagers then suddenly the office looks tempting)Save money, not just with the commute but the daily coffee and lunch bill all adds up.
- You need self-discipline, to start work when there’s no pressure to be there by 8am.It’s a lonely place sometimes especially if you are not used to working on your own all day. No co-workers to bounce ideas off.Motivation, you need heaps of it. Once it’s gone for the day it’s a hell of a thing to get back.You miss out on the camaraderie that stems from working with others day after day.No IT dept. If your computer goes down who’s going to mend it?You can’t escape the work clutter and it can take up a large part of your space.You can miss out on the co-worker collaboration and even promotions if you don’t get to hear about a vacancy, keep in regular contact with the office.If the boss cannot see you then how is your work being judged? There has to be a certain amount of trust involved.Keep track of the hours you spend working, there is a tendency to put in more hours than you normally would in the office.Distractions are a nightmare especially if family/friends know you are at home. Then there’s Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Periscope you get the gist.
My tips for Working at Home
Working from the comfort of your own home can be a great solution for many people. I worked in an office for 23yrs and then all of a sudden I’m work from home. It was a huge culture shock, I can tell you it took a while to get used to it.
Ask yourself, “Does this work style fit in with what I want, do I have space, environment, how can I work and be most effective?”
It is important to remember
- If you are employed you need to maintain a presence at the main office. Communicate regularly with your boss and co-workers to let them know you’re still alive and working.If you are self-employed it’s still a business so treat it like one. Plan the work set the hours then close up for the night. Act like you would in the office – get dressed.Be accountable, be motivated and stay focused.