The internet has made it possible for many of us to work from anywhere and a growing number of employees see remote and flexible working as an important tool to help them manage their work-life balance.
In fact, a survey in the US by Gallup found that 43 per cent of people there now do at least part of their job from home, Kare 11 reported.
This statistic prompted the news provider to look further into the question of productivity, and whether those who work from home do get more done than their permanently office-based counterparts.
Dr Phyllis Moen is something of an expert on the subject. She’s part of the University of Minnesota’s Flexible Work and Wellbeing Center, and spent over a year studying productivity at Fortune 500 companies.
She explained that many people who work flexibly spend more time out of the office, but go in for face-to-face meetings when necessary.
“This group felt more efficient, productive and happier than those working under usual conditions, precisely because they were ‘in charge’ of their lives and their work” Dr Moen stated.
One of the biggest benefits cited by those who work flexibly was avoiding the one to two hours spent commuting each day.
Kate Lister, of Global Workplace Analytics, backed up Dr Moen’s assertions, pointing out that many companies have measured the impact of home working and discovered that productivity increases by between 15 and 55 per cent for employees who are able to work remotely.
“Offices are becoming the places of collaboration and home is becoming the place of concentration,” she noted.
But if you’re going to work effectively from home there are a few steps you need to take, as noted by Forbes earlier this month, especially if you have children.
Top of the list of things to tackle before you start working from home is to create a dedicated and separate work-from-home space. That could mean converting a bedroom into a home office, or even opting for a garden home office.
As well as giving you privacy and quiet when you’re working, this will also allow you to more easily separate work from family time, as you can close up your office at the end of the working day and disconnect from your job.
Making sure that other people in your life know that when you’re in your home office, whether it’s at the end of your garden or in your house, that you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed is also important, the news provider noted.
Interruptions will have a serious impact on your productivity, so it pays to make sure that everyone knows what hours you’ll be working and why it’s important not to disturb you during those hours.
Setting working hours to prevent interruptions is important, but having defined working hours is also essential to stop you putting in too much unpaid overtime.
When you don’t have to commute it can be easy to start earlier and finish later, making it all the more important that you have a set finish time and resist the urge to pop back to your office to check your emails after hours.