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Quality of life - home working

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Could you work from home?

It is estimated that there are over 6 million people in the UK who spend all or some of their week working from home. If you’ve got lots of determination, self-discipline and a flexible employer, then working from home can have tremendous benefits for both you and the organisation you work for. You can greatly reduce your stress levels, save time and money (not to mention the environment) by not travelling into an office.

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There are two ways you can go about working from home. You can either persuade your current boss that you can work more efficiently from home, or you can actually start looking for work that is home based. With broadband being available in most working homes now and lots of employers having remote login facilities for their staff, it may be just a case of outlining what the benefits would be for both you and your organisation to your boss.

Remember that home working isn’t an occupation in itself but another way of working, so you’ll still need to make sure you’re selling yourself to the best of your ability with all the other career advice here on sector1.net.

Why not take our fun test to see whether working from home could suit you?

You’re working from home on a busy Monday morning when the following situations arise…

1) You have promised your boss that you will finish preparing an important presentation by lunchtime. Do you:

  • a) Have it finished on time because you’ve carefully managed your time and had most of it already done last week (2 points)
  • b) Have it finished on time because you stayed up until midnight last night and crammed it all in (4 points)
  • c) Not get it finished but just calmly accept you’ll get a telling off from the boss (6 points)
  • d) Have a big smile on your face because you finished it last Monday (0 points)

2) A good friend turns up unannounced on the doorstep for a cuppa. Do you:

  • a) Invite them in, pop the kettle on and put your work on hold (6 points)
  • b) Invite them in but get stressed about it and start worrying in case they stay too long (4 points)
  • c) Hide behind the sofa pretending that you’re not actually at home that day (0 points)
  • d) Answer the door but explain that you’re busy working and arrange for them to come round when it’s more convenient (2 points)

3) You try to ring an important customer but their PA won’t put you through and seems rather dismissive. Do you:

  • a) Just assume that your customer is busy and tell yourself that you will try them again later (2 points)
  • b) Get annoyed about your treatment and tell yourself you won’t put as much effort in for that customer in the future (4 points)
  • c) Panic all day in case you have done something to offend the customer (6 points)
  • d) Don’t give it a second thought and simply ring the next customer as soon as you’ve put the phone down? (0 points)

4) Your child is off school because they don’t feel very well. Do you:

  • a) Look after your child in your home office at the same time as you finish off some work (2 points)
  • b) Contact your boss and tell them you’ll have to take some leave today (4 points)
  • c) Leave your child in their bedroom and pop up to see them if you get the chance (0 points)
  • d) Take your work up to your child’s bedroom, sit on the bed and try to do some work on your knee (6 points)

Scores

0 – 4 You’ve certainly got the self-discipline and drive to be a home worker, but be careful because your work could end up taking over your life.

6 – 10 You’ve got self-discipline but also take a sensible approach to the needs of working from home so you could be well suited to being a home worker.

12 – 16 You could well make a good home worker, but is it really the way you want to work?

18 – 24 You’d probably be well advised to stay clear of working from home and stick with the journey to the office!


Top Tips for working from home

  • Try and have a separate room or area set aside for work so you can separate the two at the end of the working day.
  • Make sure you designate the amount of hours you are going to spend working and try not to work over this on a regular basis
  • If you’re going to be sitting at your desk all day, then make sure you invest in a chair and desk that is health and safety compliant and good for your posture.
  • Check with your home insurer that your insurance covers working from home
  • Ask an accountant whether a proportion of your household bills could be offset against your tax bill
  • Make sure you don’t isolate yourself.
  • Try to get into your organisation’s offices at regular intervals if appropriate or contact other home workers via the internet.
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