We have Worked From Home since we set up M2 Associates in 1995, which is not to say we have always Worked At Home, as projects and contracts have involved extended periods working in a more traditional office environment, but physically and mentally we have used our home as the base from which we have worked.
Working At Home: the lady that alters our clothes works at home. I take my clothes to her house, she measures me, she tells me the price, I leave the clothes and when they are ready I go to collect them. I try them on and if OK I pay. She does not leave her home for any aspect of her work. Her clients go to her, she uses her own equipment, and her own home.An example of Working At Home
Working From Home: you are based at home but can move seamlessly between a client or employers office without any reduction in efficiency. You are equally productive, comfortable and socially engaged in either environment.A definition for Working From Home
Our Set Up
Let me detail and explain our current set up at home.
This is our dining room, with a table that seats 8-10 people in comfort. The TV on the wall is connected to the Internet, Sky Q, an Amazon Fire Stick and an Apple TV. As such we can project content directly onto the TV. We use Samsung TV’s and Samsung Mobile Phones and Tablets so can use their inbuilt mirroring option, while the Apple TV allows us to use our Apple MacBook Air or an Apple iPhone if necessary.
We can hold a board meeting, an off site strategy planning session, a ‘hands on’ work session, or a group video call.
It also works well for a working lunch!
This is our lounge. The configuration allows for a relaxed meeting, while the Samsung TV (with an AppleTV) allows for content being discussed to be shared, or a video meeting to broadcast on a bigger screen.
This is the Office, where we do most of our work. The computers are set up exactly the same and as we only use the Cloud for saving data we can sit at either one. We tend to have our own ‘work space’, but the flexibility does mean that if one of us requires peace and quiet the other can take the MacBook Air and use it in either the Dining Room or Lounge using the TV as a monitor if required, or if we have a client working with us they can log in and access their data.
The TV on the wall can act as a third screen for either ‘desk’ via an Apple TV so we can work at a desk but share content.
We have two internet services so have inbuilt resilience, a colour printer, copier and scanner, a shredder, video cameras, cameras, tripods, numerous bluetooth headphones and some old fashioned stuff called stationary, and we even have two filing cabinets!
Everything we do is backed up to multiple cloud services and we have a number of devices we can take with us to client locations or meetings which ensure we are never without the information we need.
Without question we are fortunate to have this set up, and it is not something that I would suggest or expect everyone Working From Home to have, but as I said we have been operating like this since 1995 and have clients ranging from private individuals through to Main Board Directors.
The reason for showing our set up is to demonstrate the importance of having the right infrastructure, facilities and services to ensure that you can Work At Home as efficiently and effectively as in an Office, hopefully more so.
With no children our main disruption comes from the pets, but we have two secure garden areas so if they do become too intrusive they have an area we can put them in aka ‘send to their rooms’!
Is Working From Home Right For You?
If you are self employed this is very much a question that you need to answer, but for more and more employed people it is a question for both the individual and the organisation.
As highlighted above, for both ensuring that the environment is suitable is crucial, but there are many other questions to be answered:
- Is my home life conducive to Working From Home?
- Will I get enough Social Interaction?
- Am I self motivated and disciplined enough?
- Will I get enough support and interaction with my employer and colleagues?
- Can I afford to provide the equipment and infrastructure?
- Will we have enough control and be able to support the employee?
- Will the work be secure?
- What will we do with the excess office space we now have?
- Do we loan or rent the IT equipment to ensure compatibility?
- How will staff that can’t Work From Home feel and react?
- Will ‘older style’ managers adapt to having remote staff?
The list is not exhaustive and while many of the questions are generic the answers will be unique and the combined answers will provide a good basis from which you can make your decision(s).
We will do a feasibility audit of both the employee(s) and the organisation to identify any issues and concerns with adopting a Working From Home policy.
We will work with you on developing a detailed implementation plan for both employee and employer.
We will help you implement the plan, including training, infrastructure audits and interim support.
We will monitor and support on an ongoing basis.
Can – Should – Would
Can: the job be done from home?
Should: the job be done from home?
Would: their be benefit from the job being done from home?