I was recently interviewed by a radio show about working from home, which has always been seen as a luxury for a few lucky and high profile people. But now more and people are looking at flexible working as an exciting prospect.
The question though is whether working from home equals higher productivity. Just what would it be like to say leave the buzz of going to the office and having the social life with colleagues and working from the comfort of your own home?
Here are some of the questions I was asked in my interview and my answers:-
Q Why do you think more and more people are considering the move away from the office?
I believe that more and more people are getting into the idea of working to get the life they love rather than just living to work.
There is this concept called Corporate Social Responsibility which is all about companies doing the right things for the right reasons. This includes things like being ethical in their business dealings, making sure they are environmentally friendly and also that they look after their staff.
At the same time, we must appreciate that not everyone is capable or even wants to work at home on their own. We are all social animals and we need the daily face to face interaction with other people. One can simply not survive by working at home in front of a screen for endless days.
So working partly at home might be the way forward for some people.
Also, most importantly it takes a lot of discipline and focus to work from home without being distracted! It is easy to start doing the housework or dealing with personal stuff. So even though it may seem attractive to work form home, you must balance the pros and cons – you may not have the discipline or fortitude to do it.
Q Should businesses encourage people towards flexible working …..and how can the business benefit from flexible working?
Every one nowadays is much more aware of work life balance and I am finding that more and more companies are becoming aware of this idea that a happier workforce is more effective.
And part of having a happier work force is to allow people to work from home too.
With the growth of the internet and general IT, a lot of clerical jobs can be done from home. Companies should encourage more flexitime and working from home.
Q Not all businesses have the luxury to be able to offer staff flexible working hours and the ability to work from home….does that put them at a disadvantage?
Some businesses just cannot be run from home and it is a nature of their business. It doesn’t put them at a disadvantage as I expect their competitors will be facing the same challenge.
But they can do more to make their staff happier – providing better health care for example, job sharing perhaps.
Q Do you think industries and business are ready to adopt the technology which can make the dream of working from home and reality?
Yes – now is as good as time as any. I don’t think they have a choice but to do so and adopt the technology which can make the dream of working from home a reality.
More and more industries will have to adopt or they will be left behind. Thanks to the internet employees are able to rapidly learn which companies are providing the best working facilities etc and the better companies will attract the more talented people.
Q Finally, how do you manage to work from home yourself?
Well, I also do other things as well as coaching so I do fulfill my social needs through my consultancy and other work.
But when I first started working from home, I learnt to be very disciplined and had to draw my boundaries around my work time and personal time.
I have a spare room at home which is my office and I only enter this room during office hours. Also one has to be disciplined enough not to look at work emails in the evening or weekends!
During my coaching days, I make sure I go out for a short walk a couple of times every day and also visit my local coffee shop / library for some human interaction.
I also have a number of business and personal friends with whom I connect with during the day and they provide me with my human interaction.