Flexible working and entirely remote jobs are on the rise. Although they are not yet the norm, according to a survey, the majority of people feel they would be more productive working from home. Equally, a majority has either left a job or considers leaving their job due to a lack of flexibility. I can relate to this last point personally. I left a job, in part, due to a lack of flexibility. To be fair, it wasn’t even a company policy as a whole, it came down to the individual teams and my manager just wasn’t a fan of the working from home idea.
Remote jobs are not just on the rise, but it’s not just simple data entry jobs or admin roles that are among them. There are numerous great jobs that allow for a (partially) remote working environment.
Remote working sounds great, and is what the digital nomad dream is built on. However, there are a few things to start considering as you set up your home office.
1. What do you really need?
Do you need complete silence to work and be productive, or do you need easy access to the coffee maker? I’ve recently set up a small work station in a nook of my kitchen, because not only am I close to the java, I can also close the door for complete isolation. If anyone comes home, or the TV is on, I don’t get interrupted and there are no worries around scheduling meetings or being on the phone. I also don’t need a lot of space to get work done, but maybe for your job you need access to a printer and three screens, if that’s the case you need to bear that in mind when you design your workspace.
2. Will you be able to focus on work?
Are you one of those people who just can’t work from home because you are not going to be able to focus? If you go to make that cup of coffee, is it going to bother you the kitchen needs a clean and are you then going to just do that instead of work? Focus can be a challenge, and there are a variety of sources that challenge it. For example, your partner may think that since you’re home, you are not going to have any issues with letting the plumbers in to look around for a quote, accept some deliveries, and also run the laundry (and hang it afterwards). Add up a number of tasks throughout the day or week, and you are spending hours away from your job. If you don’t live alone, the people in your household need to have a clear understanding of your boundaries and what you can, and cannot, do. The occasional delivery, or a quick load of laundry are not a big deal but when they start adding up, because “you are home anyways”, then it can be a real issue.
3. Is your insurance adequate?
Depending on your job, you may need to get some additional insurance. I am no expert in this area, but check with your home insurance provider on the rules they have around working from home. If you are running a business out of your home, chances are you are going to need a serious upgrade in insurance. This may or may not include if you receive clients at your home office. Better safe than sorry, so always check your coverage.
4. Maybe you can get a tax credit
In some countries you can deduct certain expenses on your taxes. These include obvious things like internet and phone costs, but can even include part of your heat, mortgage, etc. Check with an accountant or your local tax agency for the rules, and make sure you max out on the benefits available to you.
5. Will you feel lonely?
Life is all about balance, and a mix of working from home and seeing your colleagues in the office can be ideal for some. It is lonely if you are always and forever just stuck within four walls. Working remotely though doesn’t need to mean you are just working from home, you might actually choose to get a co-working space for some (or all) of the week. This is particularly handy if you have a remote job and you can’t easily work from home (too little space, too many housemates, too many family members,… you name it). Co-working spaces alleviate the loneliness issue as much as a regular office does, without the benefits (or in fact disadvantages) of working directly with the people you share the space with. If you are going to make home your office, then considering spending a few hours a week down the road at a cafe can help, or periodically meeting up with friends who also work remotely.
*Photo at the top of the page by BRUNO CERVERA