It's 2018 and flexible working arrangements are du jour. With side-hustles, home businesses, the gig economy and remote working gaining popularity, more people than ever are getting it done from the comfort of their own homes.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, reveals the number of employed people who work from home has dramatically risen from 20 per cent of the entire labour force to 30 per cent, in only 15 years.
But it's not all pyjamas and Netflix in the background.
Working from home means cultivating the discipline to be your own taskmaster, having processes in place to super charge your productivity and finding the balance between work and play.
If you’re thinking of moving towards a flexible work arrangement, we've got the tips to help you do it properly.
If you want to nail working remotely, you must have up-to-date tech. The ability to conference call, reliable, fast internet and good mobile broadband are essential for any virtual office.
Jo Palmer, founder of remote work job-matching platform, Pointer, recommends using technology to create a “positive remote-office environment”. She says that general office banter can be replaced with team communication software, so you can create a, “virtual water cooler” and keep the camaraderie and inside information that can get lost when you are working solo, offsite.
Using apps like Google Docs, WhatsApp, Zoom Video conferencing, Dropbox and Cloud collaboration software for access to shared networks, will also massively improve communication with your clients and colleagues.
With no boss checking your browsing history, it can be easy to lose time researching your next holiday. Enter the pomodoro technique, which was pioneered by Italian software developer Francesco Cirillo. The basic idea is to work solidly in 25-minute increments, punctuated by five-minute breaks.
Once you've completed four 25-minute blocks of work (Cirillo calls them 'pomodoros', the Italian word for tomato, a nod to the tomato-shaped timer he used with the technique in university), you can take 20-30 minutes to have a break.
The catch is, during the 25 minutes that you're working, you can allow yourself no distractions. That's no checking emails, clicking on a Facebook notification, answering a text message, or going to the toilet.
It’s simple, but it works.
When your office is at home, it's easy to blur the lines of 'house tasks' and 'office tasks'. A pile of laundry, or dirty dishes can quickly tempt you away from the job at hand, which is why ideally, you need to separate your work space.
If you're lucky enough to have a serene room you can claim as your office in the house then DO IT, or else make sure you tidy up your surrounds before starting work at the kitchen table.
Friends, family members and neighbours are not so good at taking the hint when you're trying to work. No one would come to a business during the day and hang out in your office, but it seems like as soon as your office is at home, all bets are off.
There's no real way around this except to be polite yet firm, and let people know you're working until a certain time and you'll be able to catch up with them after that. In the same way, make sure you have healthy boundaries about your working hours. If you’ve finished for the day, don’t be tempted to check emails after dinner.
Finally, UN research shows that working from home can be isolating, so remember to network, stay connected and have fun with it. If you need some social contact, work from a cafe for a few hours or head out to the gym.
Remote working works best when you can use it to have a more balanced lifestyle, so schedule in activities that make you feel good and your productivity will sky rocket.