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6 essentials to consider when homeworking



Apparently, it takes about three weeks to set up a new habit. Therefore, I wonder what our working habits are going to be in the coming months. The question I would really like to ask now is whether we will simply return to old ways or if this is the start of something completely new?


We need to consider if we have changed at all as people or as a society generally?


Has Covid just been like hitting pause? I don’t think so. We have been given a new vision and for many it’s going to be hard to return to old ways. Talking to colleagues they have said that working from home has proved that presenteeism in offices is pointless. Why travel 80 minutes each way to an office when I can do exactly the same work from home? Said one. That is a pertinent question indeed.


I work as an Executive recruiter in the Food and Drink industry and I find food trends very interesting for obvious reasons.


Therefore, I started to wonder just what impact home working will have on the way we buy and consume food. With bars, cafes and restaurants shut for the near future at least will we make alternative arrangements or simply wait for the coffee shops to re-open? I admit here to missing my working coffees to break up the day as I have been home working for years.



Surely people have started to look hard at their bank balances


Have you stopped to tot up all the money that is usually spent on peripherals? With so many hanging on to employment opportunities for dear life it might well be worth trying to save wherever possible. The old adage of ensuring we all have three months savings just in case has never looked so important. I know for many that has never been possible but it’s worth considering. The same principle should also apply to businesses both large and small.


After all, working from home saves money and time in 101 ways


Indeed, consider petrol, train tickets and eating out throughout the day as your starter for ten. I predict the return of the flask and some exciting packed lunches. Not only this, the lockdown has taught us to re-evaluate our work life balance. Do we really need to spend money to compensate for being out at work and not having enough time for anything? I have managed conference calls with colleagues from Chicago and Amsterdam in the same room as it were. So why do we need to return to legacy practices?


It is predicted that 50% of people will be working from home by 2023


Also bearing in mind that statistics, recently published by the Office for National Statistics demonstrated that almost 49.2% of workers currently employed were working from home. Last night the government’s figures were 44%, a 12% uptick from this time last year. With the track and trace measures faltering right now those who can stay home and work, will probably continue. Bearing in mind it’s a trend that has seen almost 250 000 switch to home working since 2010, this phenomenon is with us to stay. Predictions suggest 50% will make it their modus operandi by 2023.


Personally I welcome the shift in attitude, having home worked for years


Let’s face it you can enjoy reduced office costs, better staff retention, a wider pool of talent and also the environmental and mental health benefits (when home schooling is taken out of the equation!)



Here are my 6 essentials for successful home working in 2020 and beyond


1. Be ruthless about your workspace. Give it some thoughts and plan carefully. A small (or large) investment will pay dividends in the long term. I know many successful businesses have been birthed at the kitchen table but it’s not ideal for many scenarios.

2. Check your options. It might be a bespoke garden office, a loft conversion, a spare bedroom reappointed, an under the stairs desk space, a pull-out workstation from a cupboard or a small exam style desk in a corner. Whatever your needs, budget, space issues it’s worth thinking about what will work for you, the people around and the available dimensions.

3. Before planning anything check out the broadband speeds in your chosen location. Thick stone or brick walls can block transmission and create dead zones. If you find this is a problem, there are lots of solutions such as a Devolo cable set up or speed plugs. Just googling Ofcom’s Stay Connected site will offer up all kinds of practical suggestions.

4. Invest in the best office chair you can afford. Health and Safety issues do not vanish just because you are working from home. You need to undertake the same checks as people have done in offices. Desk height, posture and overall comfort will diminish RSI’s, bursitis, bad necks, shoulders, backs and poor circulation. Please do not skip this step.

5. Try to delineate work time from downtime. Closing a door on the day is good psychologically. Also, going for a walk before work in clockwise direction from your home and then doing the same anti clockwise at the end of the day gives time to think, exercise and a sense that work is over and home life can begin.

6. Consider how much time was wasted at work by: commuting, water cooler chats, pointless meetings, general distractions and disruptions. Add up the total and see how much additional time you have in a day. You may feel guilty that work is completed more quickly; don’t be. If conditions are right people tend to focus more effectively working from home, so don’t think presenteeism equated to real productivity.


I’d really love to hear your home working tips; do let me know what I have missed.