02 Apr Working from Home: Flexibility or productivity?
To mark #WorkFromHomeDay next week, Senior Learning Designer and remote worker Helen Marshall looks at the benefits of working from home. What’s it better for: productivity or flexibility? Or, is it both?
The first word that often springs to mind whenever anyone says they work from home is: Flexibility. It’s true, working from home offers a certain freedom that working in an office environment doesn’t, especially when you gain a huge chunk of time back simply through losing the commute.
However, when I really think about what working from home means to me, it’s productivity not flexibility that springs to mind.
Now I’m the kind of person who can really dig my teeth into something, and once I’m focused I like to get the job done. My office set up at home is out of the way in a room I only ever use for work. It’s bright, clean and full of greenery, and it allows me to sit in my work bubble and really concentrate.
It’s an edge I never fully had when I worked in an open plan office, because the proverbial door was always open. Working from home means you are more likely to work around people’s schedules, and it means stopping to think about whether you really need to disturb someone, or if you can resolve something by yourself.
Sure, the perks of office chats whilst making a brew in the kitchen aren’t there, but if you’re willing to reach out to people (and they’re willing to do the same) via the odd Skype message, or the occasional phone call and email to check in, it can be just as good. There’s a certain level of commitment required from everyone to stay connected, and Brightwave are especially good at it.
A large part of my role as Senior Learning Designer is connecting with people, whether that’s with an immediate or wider team, or with our clients. One area of concern for me switching from an office-based role to working from home was that I would feel lonely, as I thrive off other people and their ideas. However, anyone who works in eLearning will know that during the development process the whole team communicates daily, so it’s never truly lonely, despite being physically alone.
Despite my productivity levels increasing, it’s also important to get out of the house. Let’s face it, the struggle to avoid cabin fever can be very real when you work in the same place that you live. I commit to exercising before work and to going for a walk on my lunch break as often as possible, as fresh air and endorphins give me a boost. Likewise, being able to shut the door on my office at the end of the day also means I’m not tempted to just do a bit more here and there.
Overall, working from home isn’t for everyone, but it’s great for people and companies who want to make it work. I couldn’t be happier working for an award-winning company based in Brighton, when I live in the Midlands, and this just wouldn’t have been possible with remote working.