Home working: Is it right for you?

 

An opportunity to work from home can be a blessing or a slippery slope to loneliness and depression. It all comes down to personality.

By Laura Handley, Business Development Lead, RedWizard

I’m a heads-down, focus, get the job done kind of lady. According to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, I’m an introverted, sensitive, feeling and judging (ISFJ) type–quietly warm, factual, sympathetic, detailed, dependable, organised and thorough. A real mouthful but scarily accurate!

So, what does this have to do with home working?

I work 40-hours a week from home and LOVE IT! It provides me with the flexibility I need to live and enjoy my life. I can support my family and work in a profession I’m passionate about. I spend more time with my children, husband, family, friends, and our dog gets extra attention too!

With a 30 second commute to my desk, control over tea breaks, a choice of healthy snacks from the fridge (and no office small talk first thing in the morning), working from home is a real treat. It certainly works for my personality.

But… it’s not ‘pyjamas all-day’, endless tea and cuddles with the dog

There are times when working from home can be frustrating, difficult and lonely—it’s definitely not for everyone.

If you enjoy the office buzz, grabbing a sandwich on the run, catching up on your reading during a long commute, and feel energized when interacting with co-workers, then working from home might not be for you.

On the flip side, if like me you can’t decide what to wear at 6am, dread unreliable trains and the long journey, loathe the person reading over your shoulder whilst being sandwiched between a sweaty businessman and a small Brompton (folding bike), it might be time to look for a flexible home working role!

So, you might want to work from home but aren’t completely convinced it’s for you? You may find these ten tips helpful…

Ten top tips for would-be home workers

Complete a personality test

Find out if your personality is suited to home working. Personality tests are available free online. Here’s one I found based on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Try it out… 16Personalities website.

It’s also helpful if your employer knows what makes you tick. So, if your personality test is fairly accurate, share it with your boss. This way you’ll get the right kind of support when you need it—at home or in the office.

Give it a go

This may not be an easy solution for everyone. If you work for a forward-thinking company, they may let you trial working from home. Ask for as much time as possible—if you don’t ask, you don’t get, right? Or if you’ve a hobby, treat it like a full-time job next time you’ve a few days off work.

Have a dedicated workspace

It helps to have a separate fully equipped office area, with good lighting, the right amount of noise, comfortable seating (take care of that back!), and lots of desk space. Make it an environment that you love spending time in.

Draw a line between your personal and work space, separating where you eat, sleep and relax is good for a person’s mental wellbeing.

Structure your day

Plan well and make time for what’s important inside and outside of work. Check out ‘Five tools for maximum productivity in 2019’ on Forbes.

Arrange a weekly team call

At RedWizard, we make a point of having a team call every Monday morning. Skype for business works perfectly for us. Not only can we catch-up on work, it gives us a chance to see each other, and connect as friends.

Take breaks

It’s always important to take regular breaks. Get up, stretch, go for a walk. Fitness trackers are great… they remind you to move. Yes, some of us do need reminders! Here’s an interesting article ‘4 Essential mental health tips for freelance and remote workers’ on Forbes.

Know when you’re not being productive

Pay attention to how you feel. If you’re tired and ‘brain fog’ sets in, try going for a walk.  It’s amazing what a bit of fresh air can do. If the sun is out, you’ll even get your daily dose of vitamin D.  Or give a member of your virtual team a call… sometimes support from a team member can make all the difference.

Find a good café

Every so often, I work from my local café. It’s nice to feel the buzz of other people around whilst enjoying a cuppa and maybe even a tasty treat.

Dress for work

When you spend long hours working from home, it can be difficult to separate work from your personal life. So, try dressing the part. I’m not suggesting a three-piece suit but certainly changing out of your pyjamas is a step in the right direction.

Find time to be social

It’s easy to get so consumed by what you’re doing that you hardly leave your desk. Some people even forget to eat! So, make sure you connect with people—have a chat, a laugh, and make time for yourself (and eat!).

To thine own self be true

Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a perfect personality for someone who wants to work from home. The point is, to really benefit as a home worker, you need to know yourself.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will empower you and enable you to find workarounds–ultimately leading to a happy home working lifestyle, if that’s the path you choose to take.

 

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