We tend to think of going into the office as a relatively modern mode of working. Telephones, computers, coffee machines and printers – these are all the classic staples of a dedicated workspace.
However, offices actually go back to ancient times. The infamous Roman forum was a square which consisted of offices, shops and government buildings. That is, until the collapse of the Roman Empire – then “office work” was moved to a new location. You guessed it: the home.
While we can only imagine what working from home was like in the days which followed the end of the Roman Empire, in our modern times we have a whole host of tools to make working from home more connected and collaborative than ever before. Even remote work sceptics can be converted when they learn how to build proper work-from-home routines. Read on to find out why remote work is so beneficial.
Your day, your rules
Are you singing with the morning larks as your alarm goes off or hitting snooze and begging for five more minutes in bed? We all work best at different times due to our internal circadian rhythms (yep; thanks, evolution). It’s no secret that the working world is a little kinder for the morning-loving folk. Fortunately, working remotely gives you the power to choose when you start and end your working day – not to mention all that time you’re getting back which you previously spent commuting.
It’s important not to underestimate the benefits of a little extra sleep. A good night’s sleep improves concentration and productivity, not to mention all the other health benefits it provides. So not only are you catching a few extra z’s, you’re also getting more out of the hours you are working. Plus, the power to work flexibly isn’t just a benefit to night owls; early risers can make the most of their early get-up-and-go energy by starting the day earlier than usual, with the benefit of having an earlier finish to boot.
Whether it’s the price of fuel or public transport, getting to work costs money. That’s not to mention the take-out coffee you pick up on your way – and lunch too! Why is it that you always forget your lunch? While you’d think spending 8 hours a day in the office would limit the damage you’re able to do to your bank account, the moment you leave the house you’re faced with a whole host of convenient, yet costly options.
When working from home, it’s much easier to save those pennies. Whether it’s a healthier, cheaper lunch at home or switching your take-out latte for a cafetiere brew, there are tons of ways you can cut costs when you’re not in the office. We’re often prone to making impromptu, expensive decisions when unexpectedly faced with them, but when you’ve moved away from the temptations around you, it’s much easier to be sensible. Plus, when you do fancy treating yourself, you do it on your terms (which is better than saying “yes” to your second caramel macchiato just because you’re bored and it’s convenient).
We all enjoy a little socialising in the office, but when a room is filled with colleagues, these social benefits tend to be balanced with inevitable interruptions. It’s all too easy to wander over to desks and ask quick questions; the problem is, it takes people 23 minutes on average to refocus on a task after being distracted. One big benefit of remote working is that communication must become strategic; with video calls scheduled in, you can handle your communication and task delegation at specific times. This means the time between calls is all yours, interruption-free.
To maintain the best of both worlds, it’s worth booking in daily team calls which mimic the well-known “stand up” style meetings where everyone says what they have on for the day and voices any concerns. Doing this maintains a sense of team spirit and provides the perfect space for employees to talk about their thoughts and feelings for improved wellbeing.
It’s something of a debate as to whether we’re more productive working from home or in the office. While it’s probably the case that it depends on the person, there’s good evidence to suggest many people are more productive at home. This is because they can work in their ideal, personal way. That means deciding their work environment (everything from layout to temperature), the frequency with which they take breaks (and a greater number of breaks has been linked to boosted productivity in remote workers) and the perks of more easily managing their work-life balance.
Plus, working from home has long been seen as a job perk or benefit. Because of this, it often inspires a positive mindset and enthusiasm in those who begin to work from home. It’s probably unsurprising that happier people do better work. For employers this is a double benefit; lifted productivity and improved employee wellbeing – and ultimately, improved employee retention, too.
Driven by purpose
It’s no secret that when working from home, you have to be your own motivator. If you’re used to working in an office, this might be intimidating at first, but learning to work because you want to and not because you have to is a very valuable life skill. The truth is, the secret to working productively is all down to routine. Building a remote work schedule is essential, and it may just help you in other aspects of life. Being able to dodge procrastination and focus on work is good in almost every area you can imagine, from fitness to chores.
When you’re self-motivated, you begin to see the purpose in what you’re doing in a way that is easy to forget when lost in the grind of the daily 9-5. You are an important part of your team and company – and by working remotely, you’ll see just how important your contribution is to the daily running of things. Having purpose will be both motivating and fulfilling.
In the current global landscape, more of us are working from home than ever before. While we may be seeing unprecedented global affairs unfold on the news, at least remote working can provide us with some benefits which keep us happy and motivated while we weather this storm.
Written by Chris Griffiths with Caragh Medlicott. Chris is the developer of ayoa.com – an intelligent digital workspace which allows teams to manage meetings, build plans, and action tasks – all in one app.