|Flexible working is a growing trend|
- increased well-being
- improved staff retention
- reduced absenteeism
- improved levels of motivation and enthusiasm
- eliminated or reduced need for travel
- reduced operating costs
Further challenges include difficulty in maintaining work-life balance due to the inevitable work-life blur that occurs when you work from home. Although the freedom of being able to multi-task by achieving some home chores alongside work is attractive, it's common for work tasks to spill over into personal and family time. This is especially risky when there is a lack of designated work space such as a home office. Working from a dining table or a corner of the living room is fraught with potential distractions. Ergonomics too are of particular concern as the workspace is less likely to conform with health and safety guidelines as those in a traditional workplace.
Performance management has always been a major concern when staff members are away from a traditional work environment where their work can be more easily monitored. Employers need to develop effective strategies for benchmarking performance and monitoring in a way that works for them and their employees.
Technology that is fit-for-purpose is vitally important in order for remote and home workers to perform effectively. A poor internet connection, outdated equipment or poorly functioning software can greatly impact on performance.
To overcome the challenge of avoiding distractions while working from home, it's important to establish a functional workspace preferably away from the main living space within the home. If a home office is not possible, a dedicated space which is properly organised and takes into account health and safety, data protection and productivity is essential.
If the predictions are correct, up to 60% of us will be working remotely in the next decade. To succeed, we will need to adapt to this new way of working. Although employers will have a large part to play, employees, small business owners and freelancers will need to equip themselves with the necessary technological, time management and communication skills to ensure their success.
Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns), DipCareerGuid, RCDP, MAC is a Career Coach and Career Development Consultant at CareerWorx with more than 18 years' experience helping people plan and manage their careers.