Written by Chris Griffiths with Caragh Medlicott
You might not consciously think about it very much, but your life is divided into different types of spaces. What you do in each of these places affects how you feel about them.
For example, have you ever noticed how you get that much hungrier while waiting for food in a restaurant? It’s probably because that’s what you associate that place with: delicious food. Similarly, over the last century or so, we’ve begun to associate offices with work. They’re where we focus on our daily tasks and collaborate with our colleagues. Yet as technology has made connection easier than ever before, more and more people have been able to do the same work from, well, wherever they fancy.
After the tragic outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year, we saw a huge increase in the number of people working from home – but it’s important that we don’t let these strange circumstances taint the whole idea of remote working. In fact, there are a whole host of benefits to be reaped – read on to find out more!
No more commute
Whether you’re used to spending your commute sitting in traffic or cramped in on public transport, few would say it’s an enjoyable part of your day. Not to mention the fact that all that time spent travelling to and from the office adds up. In fact, the average UK worker will spend 400 days of their life commuting. That’s a lot of extra time to play with now that you’re working from home. To really feel the benefits of this extra time, you must put it to good use – and what’s best for you will depend on your lifestyle and work. For example, if you’re perpetually overtired, grabbing an extra half an hour in bed might just help you pay back some of your sleep debt and make you more productive as a consequence. Perhaps you usually skip breakfast, so why not use the extra time to fix up something healthy and fulfilling? Some people may want to use that extra time to start work earlier and finish their day earlier, too. Whatever the option, the lack of commute means you’ve got more hours added onto the day and week. Use them to do something enriching to your wellbeing and state of mind.
Work at your best
No one can deny that there are enjoyable social benefits which come with an office environment, but working with numerous people in one space inevitably leads to some disagreements. Is the radio stimulating, or is it distracting? Do you work better when you’re cold, or does your typing go all weird from your numb fingers? How many coffee runs should you do? Should the office snacks be fruit or biscuits? While these may sound like trivialities, over time, compromises on your personal preferences can eat into your productivity. When working at home, you decide the setting – whether that means taking more breaks to match your natural energy spikes or powering through and working in blocks. When working from home, you can rest assured knowing that everything from the temperature of the room to the frequency of your snacks, is down to you and your choices. With great power, comes great responsibility – it is the task of every home worker to establish a routine which is the most healthy and beneficial to their personal lifestyle.
Yes, it may sound odd, but communication and collaboration between teams can actually be streamlined and improved while working from home. In the office, it’s all too easy to wander over to a colleague’s desk with a quick question or to put in a meeting for something which could realistically be explained via a message. The problem with this fragmented approach to communication in offices is that it doubles up as a distraction. Every quick question takes someone’s attention away from the task at hand – not to mention that it takes people 23 minutes on average to refocus after being distracted. When working from home, there is a greater onus of purpose placed on communication – you don’t want to set up a video call only to be umm’ing and arr’ing through some points which could have been laid out in an email. There is also the added benefit that notifications can be turned off so important tasks can be focussed on distraction-free. All in all, working from home can steer communication towards efficiency in a way that is hard to replicate in office.
Some of the most unconscious money you’ll ever spend leaves your wallet during the working week. Whether it’s money for fuel to commute in your car or a seasonal train pass, those necessary expenditures add up on a weekly basis. Not to mention the recurring lunches out and after work drinks. Then, of course, there’s the takeaway coffees and snacks – the profit margins on takeout drinks are truly phenomenal (especially when you compare it with the cost of an average cup of coffee made at home). Of course, there’s nothing wrong with paying out for these things, and when we work in an office, they often feel like a necessity. However, making the switch to working from home you’ll likely notice that your wallet is a little heavier in your pocket. Not to mention with a whole kitchen and fridge full of ingredients at your disposal, you can likely rustle up a healthy, delicious lunch at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for a meal deal or lunch out. This little perk is a very nice added benefit to working from home. By saving up those pennies, you’re soon to have enough money to treat yourself to something you really want (as opposed to something that’s convenient). It may not be the most talked about working from home benefit, but it’s certainly a nice little plus.
The universal truth about working from home is that it works for you if you make it. Establishing healthy routines and marking out good intentions are the foundation of a remote work lifestyle which trumps the obligation of the everyday 9-5. In these strange global circumstances, appreciating changes in work set-ups and seeing them as opportunities will be key to ensuring we continue to thrive, no matter where we work.
About the author
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.
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