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21.10.2020 Back to Blog articles

The 5 Stages Of Working From Home and Remote Working

Whether you have been dreaming of working from home for years or dreading the thought of having a home office; many have not been given the choice during the 2020 covid 19 pandemic. However, regardless of whether you love or hate the idea of working from home most people will recognise some of, if not all of, these 5 stages of working from home or simply out of the office.

Stage 1: Optimism

The first stage of optimism commonly relates to those who have aspired to work from home or outside the traditional office set up. This can be for a wide range of reasons however the most common are:

  • More time to spend with family
  • No Commute
  • Comfy work attire
  • Save money

Ultimately, all these reasons can be attributed to a person’s work-life balance.

More time to spend with those you love

This is an ideal that most employees may have when they think about working remotely or from home. With no need to commute, many believe that working from home will free up more personal time which can be spent with friends and family. However, sometimes we simply do not have space in our home to work and so a common compromise is remote working. This allows employees to significantly reduce their daily commute, facilitating a better work-life balance without the sacrifice of the spare bedroom.

No (or reduced) commute

Let’s be honest, most of us who have been able to work from home have enjoyed the ability to roll out of bed and be ‘in the office’ in under minutes. With the average commute to work taking 59 minutes, it is estimated that British workers spend 221 hours a year commuting to work. This adds up to roughly 492 days in a lifetime. However, if you are commuting and working in London employees see their average daily commute time rise to a whopping 84 minutes.
With this in mind, it is no surprise that reducing your daily commute can have a significantly positive impact on our social lives. By freeing up more time workers can spend time with friends and family or doing things they want and like to such as going to the gym or meeting your friends for a weekly game of 5 aside.

Comfy attire

Regardless of what industry you work in, if you work in an office, you will know the pain of the office apparel. From shirts and ties to high heels and skirts, there are always days when you just wish you could go to work in something a bit comfier. This flexibility has been cited as a key attraction for many when they consider working from home.

Show me the money

The average annual cost of £795.72 sees commuters faced with a dizzying outlay totalling £37,399 over a working lifetime. However, commuters who live in the east of England such as Cambridge and Norwick are faced with the largest commuting costs in the UK, coming to an average of £947.16 a year, a £150 over the national average. Regardless of how you choose to commute to work (whether it be by car, train or other public transport) the cost of your daily commute is set to continue to increase. As a result of these ever-increasing costs, it is no wonder that many employees jump at the chance to reduce the cost of their commute. There are also additional costs which many overlook such as;

  • Cost of parking
  • That Starbucks run
  • Those sweet treats
  • That breakfast on the go
  • That sneaky lunch out

These ‘little extras’ we commonly associate with commuting and working in a traditional office add up to an average of £1715.52 a year. The idea of eliminating all costs associated with commuting and added office extras is a very attractive one for those considering working from home. However, this approach can also lead to social isolation and as a result lower productivity and quality of work. Consequently, many employers and employees are turning to alternative solutions as a compromise between working in an office and working from home. The most common solution people turn to is remote working, coworking and office sharing. This enables users to access the support of a traditional office atmosphere while being able to cut commuting time and costs.

Stage 2: The Set-Up

How an individual sets up their desk is very personal to them and their working preferences. As a result, whether you are working from home, in a coworking space or a shared office; we have all been guilty of procrastinating and ‘fussing about’ with our workplace layout and set up. When working from home one of the first hurdles many will have to deal with is defining a dedicated workspace within the home before then trying to furnish the space with the facilities you need (and often those you don’t as well) However, not everyone has space to spare in their household, or the furniture to create a suitable workspace. This is where shared office and coworking spaces come into their own providing the basic furnishings and facilities anyone may need to get them up and running without the hassle. Key facilities that employees look for include:

  • Internet/WiFi
  • Computer/Laptop
  • Phone and phone line
  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Tea, coffee and refreshment facilities
  • Quiet areas/meeting spaces
  • Bathroom
  • Basic cleaning services
  • Mailing address
  • Secure access/security system

However many look for these additional services and facilities as standard:

  • Kitchen space including fridge, freezer, microwave, toaster
  • Secure storage space
  • Breakout spaces
  • 24-hour access
  • Reception
  • Lots of natural light

Stage 3: Getting Distracted

One of the most difficult challenges people face when working from home is dealing with getting distracted. Distractions can take a wide range of forms, especially when working from home. The most common scenarios include:

  • Cooking a healthy snack/lunch
  • Watching the news/tv
  • Wife/children/partner/flatmates
  • General noise
  • Household duties

We have all been there, trying to work from home and decide to ‘just put on a load of laundry’, take a longer lunch break to ‘spend with family’ or work with a fluid timetable. It is well known a key attraction of working from home is the ability to juggle your personal life and errands with your work life. However, many who do work from home, find themselves working more hours to meet the same goals and objectives they would achieve in an office.
One of the biggest distractions when working from home is family. Whether it is your partner popping their head around the door to see if you want a coffee, your kids running in to show you their latest picture or the dog hassling you to be taken out for a walk; sometimes separating business and personal is the biggest challenge to remote workers. Put simply, the key factor of getting distracted while working from home is down to a struggle to stay focused.

Stage 4: Total Frustration

For many this is an unavoidable stage of working from home; even for those who have avoided the other stages and struggles of working from home. However, unlike stage 3 and getting distracted, the origin of frustrations can take a variety of forms from family and pets to software and other colleges.
Typically the causes of frustration are outside a person's control. The most common frustrations include:

Internet

Let's face it, back in the days of dial-up we just had to be patient but now in the world of wifi and broadband if the internet takes more than a few seconds to load we act like the world is going to end. This can also be affected by other factors such as the level of demand on your household internet and the impact of VPN’s. Personal networks can also be easier to overload than a business network which results in other frustrations such as network instability.

Mobile Factors

Not all remote workers work on a traditional computer set up with many opting for a more flexible option such as a tablet or laptop. However, not all software is supported or optimised for these mobile platforms which can naturally lead to frustrations and reduced productivity.

Technology and Software

From limited battery life to a temperamental laptop or piece of software; technology is one of the most common causes of frustrations for workers regardless of whether they are working from home, remotely or in the office.

People

Whether it is family or your coworkers, people are a key source of frustration for many workers. From desperately gesturing at a college to let them know they are muted on Zoom, the irritation of not being able to get a hold of a coworker or client to your children simply not understanding the term “leave me alone” or “do not disturb” everyone can relate to these frustrations.

Stage 5: Finding An Alternative

For many, working from home may just not be for them. As a result, there are a lot of people looking for alternatives to working from home. This commonly takes shape in 2 ways:

Working from home with a twist

This can take a variety of forms including:

  • Setting up a workspace in your garden shed
  • Working at night or ‘off-peak hours’
  • Splitting time between home and an office/remote workplace

Office Sharing and coworking spaces

In summary, remote working is not a one size fits all. The key advantage of remote working is the flexibility that it offers. Many work from home and love it. However, if working from home is not for you but you still desire the flexibility of remote working there are other options available such as sharing office space and accessing coworking solutions and offices.

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