Stereotypes are rife when it comes to home workers. Colleagues, family and friends. You name it they’ll have an opinion. The best way anyone can beat the misguided, opinionated individuals is to play the perception game. Have you played this game before? It’s a game which exists in most organisations throughout the globe. Some play the ‘The longer you stay in work the harder you are working’ perception game whereas I personally play the home office perception game.
It’s pretty simple really and is in no way meant as a perception to pull the wool over your manager’s eyes. Quite the opposite actually. This perception is more about winning over those traditional business heads that working from home might just be a good idea after all. It doesn’t matter how many articles you send them online, how many ways you describe how hard you will work, what you will achieve and how it will help the business. They want to know you have the set up in place to make your home into a genuine productive office environment.
I have to admit I’m with the managers on this once. Granted for self employed business owners there’s less of a requirement but for those working within organisations there needs to be a set up which at least emulates the office environment.
My strategy was to go for a set up which blows any office set up out of the water. Why? I wanted to sell my vision of home working and my passion for this career. You’ve got to think about it for a minute. These guys aren’t used to remote workers. It’s pretty alien and different to the traditional way of working so I wanted to sell it as best as possible. Furthermore I’m based in a different continent so I felt as though that little bit of effort wouldn’t go a miss.
The key to a successful office space is productivity and comfort. Irrespective of whether this is a work office or a home office. A manager is more likely to agree to home working if he see’s evidence of a rocking home office space. Managers want results, plain and simple and a computer on your kitchen table sends a different message to a dedicated office space. You want to really nail this by saying
Ok maybe not the actual sentence above but you get the jist. I’ve worked in a number of open plan office spaces and they all look the same. I hope you agree that most look a little like the following:
There’s some real takeaways from these office spaces. They all have a reoccurring pattern of the following:
You spend 40+ hours a week in this environment, all you ask for is a comfortable chair and an above average desk right? It’s an amazing how many offices fail on this front. But this is not about the frailties of the corporate world. In this instance its works in your favour. Invest some money in your home office. Dedicate a place in your house which is your lair. The place you will work and spend 8 hours a day, five days a week. Not only is this a great investment for you but it will pitch the home working idea far more positively in the eyes of the business owners.
When I’m working I like to spread my things out. Coffee on one side, papers on the other side. Those small desks in your office don’t cut the mustard when it comes to productivity. Coffee is spilt, papers get misplaced and generally the whole situation is a nightmare. The first thing I did was go out and buy a huge desk. It wasn’t expensive but it’s big, neat looking and does the job. Invest in a big desk and spread your shit out.
One of my lasting memories of any jobs I have previously had are the awful chairs you are provided. I still have a haunting every two weeks when I venture to our UK head office. The best way you can enhance your office space is through purchasing an incredible chair. Offices always cut back on the chairs yet a comfortable chair can be the difference between a productive day and a jacking the box guy who cannot sit down because his chair is causing all kinds of issues.
A comfortable, business like chair is also an amazing perception piece. Your boss will think you are corporate to the core if you are rolling with a leather ‘Alan Sugar’ style chair. They are pretty expensive but you are investing in a lifestyle change so surely it’s worth the investment?
Ok actually three but more than the norm Is my suggestion. It’s pretty simple. 2=3 monitors will hike your productivity. People will disagree and say it’s down to the individual but having more monitors improves efficiency. How mind numbing is it to continue to minimise files, folders and so forth when running off one monitor? Very I will tell you. Most offices I have worked in have ran with a laptop screen and a monitor so two screens in total. To play the productivity and perception game I’ve gone with three monitors in my home office. Genuinely my productivity is on super charge since the investment in a further monitor. It’s also superb cannon fodder for the manager when you approach the working from home option.
Three monitors WILL enhance your productivity and it looks superb. Investing your own money into productivity will look great on you and will improve your chances of a home working arrangement.
Most business leaders LOVE whiteboards. They scribble on them, write the word Strategy on them and generally use them in all kind of situations. Due to cramped, open plan office arrangements there are very few whiteboards. This is a real game changer for home workers and further driving that perception piece. Invest in a whiteboard and USE it and of course drop it into conversations whenever you can.
Apart from the obvious perception piece it also boosts your organisation. Since investing in the whiteboard I have consciously tried to not leave the office on Friday without writing the ‘to do’ list for the following week. It’s usually quite broad of around 5-6 points but it’s a great reminder and kick start for Monday morning.
Business is all about driving the right perception. This doesn’t matter whether it’s for home workers or office workers. I’ve worked with some of the best perception drivers and the way they did this was to get their house in check. When I say house I mean metaphorically. But if you are serious about working from home then you need to prove how much so. It was a real ambition of mine to secure a job with working from home capabilities so I made sure my home office rocked.
Companies want to secure their investment. Having you office based gives a sense of security, especially to management that their investment is working well. Sure they don’t know what you are doing every single one of the 8 hours you are in the office but they can damn sure check on you from time to time. By setting yourself up with the right working conditions from home, those of which BETTER your office conditions you are on the right path to securing a home working agreement.
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