What No One Really Tells You About Working From Home
This article is contributed by Li Hui. Writer and creator at heart, she firmly believes that every Monday should be a Happy Monday.
Do you wish for more time to pursue your hobbies, work out or to spend with your family? I certainly do! I struggle to fit work, exercise, self-care and family time into my schedule.
As a millennial (or millennial at heart), I was drawn to the charms of flexible working, in particular - working from home. This would be the solution to my challenge of finding more time! Me visualising working from home:
✓ Not having to put on make-up to leave the house - Yay!
✓ Not having to squeeze with the crowd to take the public transport - Yay!
✓ Use commuting time to have a longer breakfast with Mom - Yay!
✓ Work without interruptions - Yay!
✓ Work in comfortable clothing, NO SHOES! - Yay!
✓ Not having to fight with the lunch crowd for food and table - Yay!
✓ Heading out for a jog to catch the sun set - Yay!
Sounds about perfect to me! I was happy to jump onboard a project to work from home and as amazing as it is, here are what no one tells you about working from home…
Free air-conditioning at work is a blessing
On days when Singapore is too sunny/hot/humid/combination-of-all 3, I really miss the air-conditioning in the office. Although it is always too cold when I was in office, suddenly too cold seems like a better option than sweating it out.
Explaining to others at home that yes, you are really working
Convincing my Mom that I was home and actually working took more explaining than I thought. Even though I had explained to her the concept of flexible working, when I set up my home working space, she was incredulous and asked if I was REALLY going to be working and not ”just keep the laptop on?” Initially during the times when we would both be home, she attempted to make conversations with me only to be faced with an exasperated “Mom, I am working!”
Discipline, discipline, discipline
Working from home can get distracting with the TV, fridge, bed and sofa a short distance away. It takes discipline to resist the temptations, especially after working on a particularly challenging task and you decide to reward yourself with just 15 minutes of Netflix. We all know how just 15 minutes of Netflix ends. Being a stress eater, the fridge is my greatest nemesis. There were days I contemplated locking my fridge and throwing away the keys.
I have a love-hate relationship with social interactions in the office. Most of the time, I look forward to hanging out with my colleagues but there are times when it gets too distracting. As much as I enjoy the peace and quiet of working from home, I miss the usual office banter and being able to de-stress and exchange jokes in person.
Ugly truth aside, working from home has been beneficial for me. I greatly appreciated the time saved from not traveling and the flexibility to decide what to do with that. Research also shows that there is a high demand for flexible working:
80% of women want flexibility in their next role and 92% of millennials identify flexibility as a top priority when looking for jobs.
I was glad to have the opportunity to try out working from home and some of the takeaways for me are:
Digitalisation of processes: Without easy access to physical documents, I was forced to be more rigorous in my efforts to digitalise processes. This included printing less and parking documents in the company’s secured cloud storage so that it can be retrieved and shared from anywhere.
Establishing trust: Discuss accountability and work targets not just with the boss but with everyone on the team. This helped to keep everyone on track and not second guessed each other.
Have a quiet and functional space to work from: This includes proper ergonomics! Sitting long hours in uncomfortable kitchen chairs or squinting at a spreadsheet on a small laptop screen is extremely unpleasant. Alternatively, there are various co-working places available.
Communicate: Tools like groups chats, team sites, project management tools - these help the team stay in touch without sending 1000 emails. Also it creates an informal and friendly environment for the team to hang out and bond! Nothing like cat videos to bring a smile to everyone’s faces.
The work we do and the way we do our work are constantly changing. These changes may bring about uncertainty, but at the same time there are opportunities for us to jump in and create a fulfilling work experience.
We would really love to hear what you think about flexible working. Share your thoughts, tips or experience on flexible working in the comment box!
You may be interested to read "5 Unusual Tips to Make the Most of Your Holidays", "Meet the Career Optimizers" and "Purpose and Career Happiness: Why It Matters and How You Can Get There".
Are you searching for what makes work fulfilling for you? Reach out to The Happy Mondays Company to find out more about how to achieve your Happy Mondays!