You can build a better future by working from home! In recent years there has been a tremendous shift in how work is being done. Traditional ways of working – whether it’s people, hours, systems, or tools – are being confronted with fresh and innovative thinking when it comes to making a living or building a company. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, we see people and systems being replaced, improved or transformed to make way for new technologies. We’re getting access to better and better tools, and people are saying “NO” to the dead old idea of the 40-hour work week.
This also means a shift in working environments, with a vast amount of people taking their work home. But, in a much different way than in the past. There are countless employees, self-starters, freelancers, business owners, and entrepreneurs now primarily working from home.
The best part of this? Many are experiencing more productive work days!
Let’s take a look at why it’s an unbelievably attractive option to starting working from home.
The benefits of working from home
Beat the traffic delays
Traffic is a huge cause of stress. Not spending time in traffic means you have more time for productive work, and thus more free or family time. If you spend 30 minutes in traffic every day, you spend around 130 hours a year just sitting in your car, frustrated, and sometimes getting a cramp! This means you are losing out on 13 working days a year (or 13 more days of more rest if that’s your cup of tea).
Save your petrol, save some money and save the planet
This isn’t a hard one to figure out. Less time driving your car means that you’re saving the time, money and effort that went into it. And duh, you’re being a good green servant to the planet!
Control over your own schedule
If you need to run out to get some milk, pick up the kids at soccer, go for a run around 10am or whatever your whim might be – you can! You are in control of your own time. Although this can easily be a downfall, it also enables you to work in times when you are most productive whilst still living your life fully.
For some this might sound like a lonely road, but for many others it can be a sigh of relief. Colleagues are a good thing, but colleagues can also actually make us less productive. Popping in for a quick question, asking a not-so-quick favour, or sharing that latest great idea can be super distracting. If you work in an open space cubicle, trying to drown out a cough, sneeze or office banter can feel like the last straw in your attempt to get work done.
Power naps. What more do we need to say?
Well, only that power naps are awesome for increased productivity! There are dozens of studies that show how a quick power nap can help you get back to the point of focus for your day.
Late night productivity sprints
Although it is advisable to have a certain time to shut down and put the work away, if you are a night owl preferring your work in the moonlight, it’s your own choice to work late and sleep in. When you have a burst of creativity, nothing prevents you from quickly crunching a power hour between 9pm and 10pm.
More time and focus on family and parenting
Say hello to the possibility of homeschooling kids or spending more time with family. A great idea for some, but maybe a daunting idea for others! The shocking trust is that, on average, it’s been found that office workers spend more time with their colleagues than with their family.
Don’t know what to wear? No problem! If you want to stay in your pyjamas or have a Skype call with only a shirt, tie and underpants, no one will be shooting you any funny looks!
When you work from home, you can get a few extra tax deductions that are not available for employees working at an office. It will be important to have a dedicated office space though, as that forms part of the criteria!
If you can beat procrastination, working from home can actually cause you to be more productive since you don’t have random disruptions and can work during the time when your focus is most high.
Wellness can finally feel possible
Comfort and flexibility to move, taking quick breaks or a walk in the garden – these are all options when you work from home. Many employees don’t work in environments where they have these options. Sitting six-plus hours a day makes you 40 percent likelier to die than someone who sits less than three hours. True or not, that’s not a pleasant thought!
Getting sick less often
Yes, office spaces are a breeding ground for germs and illness that are contagious.
Saving money on food, saving time on planning
Having your fridge within easy reach means you don’t have to plan ahead for packed lunches or run out and buy food. This will save money in the long run and enable you to eat healthy, fresh meals every day.
As with all things in life, there’s always balance to some extent. Never perfect, but always in need of being managed. Take care of the following things to avoid the typical mistakes many experience when working from home.
Make the most of working from home by avoiding these pitfalls
Procrastination – it is real
Having a lazy morning, snoozing your alarm, sipping slowly on your cup of coffee and enjoying the sunshine outside. No one forces you to buckle down and work. Unfortunately, this can mean heaps more of stress than you would have experienced at work!
Distractions (yeah, they’re not just gone forever)
If you are working from home with kids, your kids might prove to be additional distractions. Or just about any other thing that’s more alluring than working “right now”. Self-discipline and self-motivation will be on high your ‘want’ list for Christmas when you start working from home.
If you are part of a larger team working remotely, the fact that the team is not spending time in each other’s presence can influence the unity of the team and the overall culture of the company. Fortunately there are some tools to help you with this.
If your office is in your home, especially if your office is next to your bed, you do not have the opportunity to escape work. Closing the office door and going to the safe haven of home becomes a little more difficult. Unless you’re okay with either working or sleeping outside!
If you have a tendency to be a workaholic, or you are straight out addicted to your work, your lack of balance will easily worsen when you are constantly at work. Some would say this is a better problem to have than battling procrastination, but it’s definitely debatable!
Let’s face the facts, even if you’re a lone ranger, working in isolation can become lonely! That’s why you’ll so many freelancers and remote workers at coffee shops.
Lack of accountability
Having accountability to meet work goals helps people to stay motivated. This is why team communication and culture should still be cultivated even though a team works remotely. If you are part of a larger team, working from home can have a negative impact on effective communication, and should receive intentional focus.
Tips & Tools – What you will need to work from home
Before deciding to make a permanent shift (as an employee or as an self-employed individual), we suggest you take some of these tips and test them out. If you respond well to them, working from home could become your next step!
- Improve on your time management skills
- Create self imposed deadlines
- Treat your work day as a serious day, how do you feel about getting dressed for going nowhere?
- Stop hitting the snooze button, get up and start your morning routine
- See how long you can stay focused on one task
Platforms to use when you start your own business from home
There heaps of ways to start working from home, make money from home, or to start a business from home. Here are some of the top platforms to help you out:
Flexy is building a platform that connects companies with an on-demand workforce. Apply to become part of their freelance network and get hired by top companies!
Upwork is an established platform for both freelancers and companies or people needing to buy freelance skills. This giant has been around the block and has built a quality interface that helps people complete just about any project.
Fiver is the place you want to go when you need it cheap and you need it now. It’s a great place to get your basic brand identity done when you start working from home, or to start selling your services before you have experience.
Freelance Cape Town
Freelance Cape Town is one of the first platforms to connect freelancers with local Cape Town business. It’s an easy and affordable platform for those starting out in the freelance space.
Another one of the big platforms (if not the biggest), Freelancer, has built its platform to help freelancers and business function within their local currencies and contexts. This Australian led platform has moved into 247 countries, regions and territories.
Working from home might seem like a foreign concept to many people, but it’s the start of a radical shift in how people are getting work done. Try it out and share this article with a friend along with your experience!