In the last decade technology has been through a huge growth curve, especially when it comes to productivity and work. There are so many ways that tech has made our working lives easier. It has also given rise to a whole new phenomenon, that of working from home. You must have heard about this. Professionals are increasingly opting to work from home in order to concentrate better on their work, do away with commuting, spend more time with family and so on. There are pros and cons to working from home and this depends heavily on which kind of industry and job you happen to be into.
But working from home can be a transformative process for students, especially ones who have enrolled for a degree or have graduated and are looking for a job. Working from home is a very real thing and there are great opportunities cropping up for remote jobs all around the world. It is true that in India, the uptake has been a little slower but it is soon picking up. If you are a person who has a very specific skill which can be applied while sitting at home (writing or programming), then you should consider looking for jobs which allow you to do what you love from the comfort of your home.
Here are some aspects of working from home that you need to consider before making the jump.
1. Freedom from commuting
When you are a student, it may seem that going to an office daily is exciting but after doing that for a couple of years, you will realize that it is a major effort on your part and you expend a lot of time and energy just to sort out your commute in the day. Working from home does away with this and lets you get straight onto the job from the comfort of your home, thus saving you time and money.
2. Making good use of extra time
Working in an office is the traditional way of doing things. Like all tried and tested processes, it is necessary when it comes to certain businesses and job types but one has to remember that advances in technology have now made it possible for a great number of industries and offices to get their employees to work remotely. This is a great thing for both employers and employees. They save on the infrastructural costs such as office rent, utilities bills and so on, and you save on your commute and thus have extra time. Use this extra time to be even more productive or pursue your other interests. If you are an individual who has many hobbies and interests, remote working will be the best thing for you as you will get to spend more time on them.
3. Lack of physical team mates
Humans are a collaborative species and throughout our lives, we work with people to build something great together. Working from home makes significant changes to this nature of ours. When you are working from home, you will be alone. This does not mean that you will not be working with a team but they will only exist virtually in your inbox, your chats and so on. You need to be okay with this transition. If you are a person that craves physical contact and dialogue with colleagues then remote work is not your cup of tea. Even those who are okay with remote work will have to admit that it can get lonely sometimes. It is therefore a good idea to meetup with your teammates and collaborators, at least once a week.
4. Being motivated
The first thought that crosses many employers minds when they hear about working from home, is the risk of productivity loss due to distractions. Many think that working from home will give rise to a lot of distractions. Since no is around to supervise you, you may easily get distracted by the internet, TV, video games and so on, thus resulting in a massive hit to productivity.
This argument can go both ways. Offices can also give rise to massive distractions. Many offices are extremely noisy and do not provide the right kind of atmosphere for doing serious work. Employees can be distracted by other employees and pointless meetings, conferences etc.
The key here is motivation. If you are a motivated individual who is passionate about the work that you are doing, you will force yourself to be immune to distractions. When you are so into your work, you will get into the flow of things and your productivity will increase dramatically. This is not easy and comes with regular practise and discipline. Practice meditation, physical exercises, take regular short breaks, maintain a schedule and track your performance daily.
5. Tracking your performance
In order to understand how best you are doing your job, you will need to monitor your progress daily. Set daily goals and work towards finishing them by the end of your day. Note how much time you took to finish a particular task. Time everything, including your breaks and study how you are using your time. Once you see a pattern in the way you work, find out a way to improve it. Try various productivity tweaks (eg. Pomodoro technique) and see how it affects your work. If it impacts your work schedule and productivity positively than you should work towards incorporating it in your daily work schedule.
Working from home will thus inculcate accountability in you as an individual. You will learn to work because you are motivated and not because someone is telling you to do so. You will also learn the value of time and end up saving quite a bit of it. The saved time can be used in many other enriching pursuits like exercising, meeting new people, going to various cultural events and so on. Working from home may not need to be lifetime thing for everyone but I recommend that you should at least do it for 6 months to year so that you can learn more about yourself and what you can achieve based on self-motivation.
We would be happy to hear your thoughts and experiences on working from home. Please share them with us in the comments.