Few topics are discussed as often in the course of NewWork as the term home office. According to my research partners, at least 1-2 days a week should become the absolute rule in companies. I am also lucky and can make a regular and official home office.
I would like to give my tips on working in the home office in this text. In addition to these, I present the results of a study of 40 employees, which the student Paul Niebler conducted for me as part of his master’s thesis. We selected random people and just under half, i.e. 18 respondents, gave up this privilege to have in the company. Another 6 respondents were not sure.
Choice of day and frequency
If you want to make home office, then the first step is obvious: So talk to your boss and your team about how and how home office is possible. Approval or release is an elementary step.
Set yourself to one day. This can be regular or irregular. For example, I always do HomeOffice on Mondays or Thursdays depending on the schedule. On these days I rarely have direct meetings and don’t plan any on that day if possible.
I take a maximum of 2 days per week home office, otherwise you will lose contact with the company. I also have many management tasks that require communication. This is also reflected in the results of our study: it was found that the majority usually only use 1 day of home office per week. On the other hand, more than half do not use the home office offer and many respondents often want far more home office.
Choosing tasks in the home office
Every week I put on tasks that I want to do in the home office. Especially when I do home office on Thursday, I try to collect various tasks from Monday to Wednesday. Here are some examples that are perfect for the home office:
- Sort Jira Board and view and create Jira Tasks
- Revise Wiki Pages and Write Documentation
- Make extensive calls with remote employees
- Create a PowerPoint
On the one hand, you usually have peace of mind in the home office and on the other hand you are a little more cut off from communication than in the company. Therefore, there are always certain types of tasks that are suitable for the home office. So these are in the most part work that requires little communication.
Reading Tip: Opportunities of Digital Work
Looking at the study, most of the participants also do a lot of individual work. However, there is also a clear trend towards teamwork. We’ve noticed that this depends heavily on the technical equipment, as chats, video telephony and VPN as well as tools like Jira are important for this.
You also need to make sure that you can connect securely to your workplace and thus use all the functions. Not all respondents can use the entire range of tools in the company. However, I am lucky and can connect to our network via VPN.
So we get to the actual point: the technical equipment in the home office. I myself have a quiet niche, which has a plant, ergonomic mouse/keyboard, cozy chair and an iMac. There I have enough rest to work. Since I work because of my doctorate and often also on weekends, the equipment of my workplace home has always been very important.
Reading tip: Equipment in the home office
The majority of the participants also have quite good technical equipment at home, which is even better in some cases than in the office. Laptops, smartphones and tablets in particular are widely used in the home office. I find it funny that there is even a fax machine in the home office, but far fewer people with 2 screens.
Summary: Pros and Cons of the Home Office
Homeoffice is a privilege in German companies and has not yet reached everywhere. I really enjoy it a lot and I’m much more productive. However, my company has both the technical equipment and a home office culture. I have also built up a suitable workplace at home.
See the figure below for a summary of the study. Homeoffice is therefore largely used for non-disruptive work and TelCos. Advantages are the reconciliation of leisure and work as well as the time saving (you save yourself the commute). Disadvantages are, of course, the loss of communication in the company and the intrusion of work content into the private environment.
I believe that home office is a perfect complement to everyday work for 1-2 days a week, making employees more productive and satisfied. Of course, not everyone is a so-called “home office” type, as working at home can also distract. It will therefore always be an optional offer in every company. I hope that the study as well as my tips could give you some impulses to the home office and look forward to your comments. The following is the summary of the study. Many thanks to Paul Niebler, who has done a very good job.
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