Working from home

Work at home
Were you aware that if you are a parent with children under school age or a child under 18 with a disability, you now have the right (under the National Employment Standards) to request a flexible work arrangement? Employers are obliged to consider your request and can only refuse it on reasonable business grounds.

Working from home is a popular option for people seeking a flexible work arrangement. Of course, not all jobs are suited to ‘working from home’ but many will at least have a component that can be carried out from home. Analyse your job tasks and decide which ones, if any can be done from home and suggest to your employer that you both embark on a trial ‘working from home’ period. Your employer will probably already have a ‘working from home’ policy which would be worth researching before you present your proposal.

The other increasingly popular option, not only for working parents but for anyone seeking a better balance between work and personal life is starting your own business and basing it from home.

If you’re considering either of these work from home options, here a few tips for you to help make the arrangement work:

  1. Set up an office space that is separate from the living area of the house, and if you can manage it, separate from the house altogether. This will make it easier to switch off at the end of the day and you reduce the risk of work and home life becoming too entangled.
  2. Ensure your office space is organised and set up in a way that encourages productive and efficient work time, with all the necessary communication lines and regular office and technological requirements in place (a good computer; ample storage; internet access; email, separate land line, mobile, fax – whatever you need in your line of work to ensure you are contactable).
  3. Allocate yourself ‘working hours’ and during those hours, apply yourself to your to-do list, project plan or business plan. Be disciplined with your time and communicate this working arrangement to your family so they respect your working hours. If you need to arrange child care for those hours, do.
  4. Join or establish a network of other people who work from home. Regular contact with others in similar situations will not only help keep you sane, it will also be of great support and encouragement.
  5. Don’t over-work just because your office is in your house or at your doorstep. Remember why you wanted to work from home in the first place!

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