Remote working has become increasingly popular in the United Kingdom in recent years. The ten-year spell between 2008 and 2018 saw a 74% increase of UK residents working from home, with figures from last year revealing that over 1.5 million people had opted for remote working as part of their main job. While this won’t be an option in some vocations, these stats demonstrate that people are increasingly keen to explore the possibility of working remotely.
This is because remote working brings a distinctive set of benefits, all geared around giving an individual more control over their working life. From planning your schedule to saving money, here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider if remote working is viable for your profession.
Plan your day
While you still may have to join video calls or online conference meetings at specified times, the rest of your day doesn’t have to necessarily fit within the confines of 9-5. You can tailor your schedule to your strengths; morning people can rise with the sun and get straight to work without the need for any commuting, or those who enjoy their lie-ins can structure their day so that they work later into the afternoon.
Choose your breaks
While a lunch break in an office can often be a time for conversation with colleagues, it can also devolve into everyone staring at their phones and counting down the minutes until work resumes. There’s no such danger when working remotely, as you can turn your breaks from work into something more productive.
Here are three examples of how you can creatively use your break from work.
Play a musical instrument
This is definitely something that would be frowned on in the office! Bringing out a guitar, a flute, or (god forbid) a drumkit would likely raise a few eyebrows among your colleagues, but there is no such issue at home. Musical expression is a great way to completely take your mind off the rigours of work. A twenty-minute session not only hones your skills as a musician, but it will also leave you feeling reinvigorated as you restart work.
Just like musical instruments, the foreign exchange markets are an effective way to completely take your mind away from work for a short spell – if that’s not your day job! Trading live on forex markets is difficult in the workplace, as you may be unable to take a break from work at the exact moment you need to make a trade. Working remotely solves that problem, as you can arrange your breaks so that you can respond to market updates and react immediately to the latest news developments. The art of placing a trade keeps the mind stimulated, so your brain will stay in top gear as you switch back to work.
You may not feel like it is appropriate to start doing push-ups in the office, but working remotely allows you to recharge your body as well as your mind during your breaks. Whether you’ve got an exercise bike in your home or simply a space in which to squat, interrupting your work session for a short period of physical activity can help you to feel refreshed as you settle back down at your desk.
These are just three ways to spend a break when working remotely, but there are many more options. The important thing is that a break can be a welcome distraction from work as well as something that is productive in its own way.
Design your workspace
Remote workers have the freedom to create their ideal workplace, as opposed to simply sitting at the desk that they were delegated. It is important to create a designated space for work; while it may be tempting to relax on your sofa with your laptop, it is advised to maintain a separation between your “office” and your home. You may be worried that spending time at home will become overbearing when working remotely, but you have the option of changing your scenery by heading out to a nearby café or library.
Manage your distractions
Unless you’re particularly straight-talking, you may not feel comfortable telling colleagues to stop distracting you in the workplace. Whether they’re talking loudly to someone else or to you, it can be awkward to admonish someone for being a disruption. At home, almost all distractions should be under your control. It’s much easier to let the cat out than it is to ask your colleague to be quiet!
Remote working doesn’t just have benefits for your state of mind and your productivity, as it can also have the ideal tangible effect of saving you money. Commuting costs are eradicated, while you won’t be restricted to pricy lunch and coffee options. It could also save your company money; one less person in the office reduces overhead costs, while a more productive you is a more profitable you.
While some may miss the camaraderie of the office environment, video calls mean that you’d never be too far away from your colleagues. If you think that remote working is well-suited to your profession and to your personality, then it is definitely worth raising the question with your line manager. Being able to design your schedule and manage your workspace means that you may end up feeling more like your own boss – and who doesn’t want that?