Who could have imagined we’d be living in a world where millions of people are able to commute to work in their bathrobe and slippers for at least part of the week? Even in a post-pandemic future, it looks like working from home – or a hybrid of on-site and remote work – may be here to say. With that in mind, we’ve put together some top tips for home working for you, as a business owner, and your team.
The rise of home working
At the height of the first COVID-19 lockdown in April 2020, 46.6% of the UK workforce did some work at home, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). And it appears that working from home is not just a short-term trend. A July 2021 YouGov poll found that one in four businesses intend to allow their staff to work from home at least some of the time after the pandemic. Increasingly, it seems that many business owners are not just thinking about whether to work from home, but how to work from home.
The benefits of working from home
While working from home may not be possible for every business, if you’re able to implement a ‘WFH’ strategy, there are some potential advantages:
- Attracting new hires. Growing your business often means hiring new staff. Could the offer of home working – and flexible working – tempt potential employees to work for you? According to ONS data, 85% of home workers want to have a ‘hybrid’ approach to work in the future.
- Cost benefits. If you decide to reduce or eliminate your need for a premises, you could potentially save on related spending, like business rates, and perhaps look to sell products online. You may also be able to claim tax relief on working from home, such as gas, electricity and business phone call expenditure.
- Boosting morale. By offering home working, your staff may appreciate the extra work-life balance, whether it’s having a bit more time for the morning school run, or less time spent in traffic or on delayed trains.
Working from home tips
While there are upsides to working from home, it may not be all sunshine, all of the time. A survey by Finder found that 30.9% of remote workers in the UK struggle with loneliness when working away from their usual premises. With this in mind, how can you and your employees stay motivated when working from home?
- Stick to a routine
The blurring of home and work life can present a challenge to anyone. So it could be a good idea to stick to a regular schedule, from your morning alarm clock to the time you start and end the working day.
- Create a workspace
If you have the space, having a dedicated work desk and office chair at home could help you concentrate on each task at hand. If you don’t have an ideal room to work in, you could still work effectively by making your space as clutter-free as possible. Personal mementos, electronics and other possessions can be stored away, as they could prove to be a distraction when you’re trying to focus on work.
- Dress for success
It’s unlikely you’re going to work from home in a tuxedo, but getting out of your pyjamas could help you get into the right frame of mind and stay motivated. This Stylist piece suggests that smart clothes could help you stay focused and productive, while M&S has compiled a list of ‘work from home’ clothes and there are many other retailers out there to choose from.
- Take regular breaks
When you’re not working on-site with a familiar routine, it’s often easy to lose track of time. Getting some fresh air and taking a breather – while turning off your phone notifications – could enhance your wellbeing, and provide ample opportunities for those unexpected ‘light bulb’ moments where you come up with a bright idea.
- Stay sociable
Working from home means less opportunities to see our colleagues face-to-face, which could leave anybody feeling a little glum. You might want to think about whether video calls, or collaboration tools like Slack (although there are a number of other providers out there and you should always do your research), could help you and your team stay connected. And reaching out to colleagues to find out how they’re doing – especially new starters or those who might feel isolated – could help demonstrate to your team that your business values everyone.
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This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.
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