24 Nov Do you have the skills to work from home?
Working from home has been gaining a lot of popularity in the UK over the last few years. The freedom that this sort of an arrangement provides is unparalleled, making it the preferred option for more and more people these days.
In fact, thanks to modern technology and improved communication services, gone are the days of home workers being restricted to solely a landline or mobile phone. Today, people get the same features and functionality at home as if they were in an office. Features like instant messaging, video and online collaboration make a person’s location irrelevant. With cloud and internet delivered communications, cost, complexity and technology are no longer limiting factors in deploying home working services. This trend is clearly reflected in the UK, where the number of people working from home has risen to its highest level since records began, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics. The survey noted that there were 4.2 million people working from home in the UK in the first quarter of 2014, accounting for roughly 13.9% of the workforce.
Keeping this trend in mind, it is not surprising that people are opting out of the traditional work structures and moving towards work from home opportunities. While this offers a lot of advantages and the added benefit of being your own boss, there are certain skills you need to possess to ensure that you are able to fulfil your professional commitments effectively and successfully from your home.
Self-motivation and discipline
Working from home can be a challenging process if you’re not comfortable with working alone. The lack of a traditional office environment and the associated social interactions can prove difficult for some people. However, working from home makes you your own boss and the onus lies on you to ensure you’re constantly able to motivate yourself to finish the task at hand. A disciplined approach to your work goes a long way in ensuring you meet deadlines.
Working at home doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to get distracted by the other members of the household, nor does it mean constantly getting up to finish one chore or another. Create a work schedule that is suitable for you and your work and ensure you follow it as much as possible.
Excellent communication skills
Staying in touch with your team or clients whilst working from home is of tremendous importance. This could be via email, online chats, video conferences, and even phone and text messages. It is crucial for you to possess excellent communication skills and to be able to clearly articulate what you’re working on and conduct effective conversations around the same. Small details like responding to emails or messages promptly, particularly those from your team, engaging in regular discussions and updates with clients, keeping your communication clear, concise and correct can go a long way in helping you have an effective work from home plan.
Time management and flexibility
While a fixed schedule is necessary to give structure to your day when working from home, it is still possible for you to rearrange your day when necessary. One of the benefits of working from home is that you can be more available when needed to take care of non-work related issues more efficiently. It also provides you with the opportunity to be there for family members or friends when they have an emergency or genuinely need your help. The key here is to know what warrants as a genuine reason to rearrange your work schedule and what doesn’t. And, when there is a reason to rearrange your work schedule, know how to balance out the rest of your day or week to ensure you meet your work deadlines.
An important part of working from home is possessing basic computer skills. Even if your work isn’t technical in nature, you’ll still need to be comfortable with managing both hardware and software without the support of an IT team by your side. Knowing your way around computer functions, how to operate different applications and software, troubleshooting simple problems and operating the associated equipment will aid you in your work greatly. This knowledge also gives you the confidence that you will be able to manage on your own in the event of a technical issue and that your work will not suffer in the process.
Just like working in a traditional office, you could sit at home, fill your day with lots of activity and not really make any progress with your work. A common problem with working from home is the false sense of security that people get from having accomplished a lot of non-work tasks during the day and only realising their error when a deadline looms near. To navigate this successfully, you need to clearly outline your goals from the start, set targets for completion and handle your professional responsibilities with minimal external direction and guidance. This sort of goal-oriented approach ensures greater productivity whilst working.
Along with these skills, it is also important for those working from home to be comfortable with working alone, possess good organisational skills, as well as be proactive and professional. While these skills are by no means the only ones needed, they do hold a potential work from home business owner in good stead for the tasks ahead.
If you feel that you possess the skills required to work from home, then you might want to contact the Arise network. Arise is a leading provider of virtual business solutions. We provide a virtual platform that connects primarily work-at-home service professionals running small call centre businesses to Fortune 500 and other large companies. To know more about us, get in touch today.