Winston Churchill predicted technology would “enable us to give the working man what he’s never had – four days’ work and three days’ fun,” but anyone who has been on their Blackberry at 11.30 at night will tell you technology has mostly served to extend our working hours.
But it can make our working lives better. Developments in communications allow us to work remotely, thus spending more time with our family (and cut down on emissions too). Here’s how to set up a perfect home office.
Convince Your Boss
While, unfortunately, talking about being happier probably won’t wash, there are ways to convince your employers that home working makes sense. First and foremost, allowing home workers will enable them to eventually cut down on expensive office space. While your boss might be cynical at first, your productivity will go up as you avoid the stress of the commute and are in a position to work the hours that you are most productive. Offering flexibility to employees will increase their retention rate, while preventing them all from coming together in one place will reduce office politics.
Where to Put It
So you have got the green light, now you need to work out where you can set up your office. In order to back up the productivity argument you need somewhere you won’t get distracted. A spare bedroom would be ideal, but might not be available. Can you use the dining room on weekdays? Space might be at a premium but don’t shoehorn yourself in anywhere; not having the right space means your work will suffer and your employer will yank you back to the office.
Plan Your Home Office
Once you know what room your office is going to go in, what do you need to put in it? You might be able to convince your employers that they should buy them, but a desk, a filing cabinet, a printer and a designated business phone line are standard investments for remote workers. Whoever ends up paying for it, there is no sense in investing in furniture that doesn’t fit or paying someone to install a phone line away from where your phone and computer will go. It is really important to measure up and plan everything out on paper beforehand. When doing so, think where the windows are placed – you want natural light but not glare on your screen.
How to Stay in Touch
How much you need to stay in touch with the office depends on the work you do, but as well as a phone, you will certainly need business broadband to allow you to stay on top of emails or log on to any portals your company uses. With remote workers on the rise, teleconferencing is an increasingly common way of communicating with work. If that is likely you should make sure your internet connection is fast enough and you don’t have restrictions on your data downloads.