The coronavirus pandemic has, for the time being, changed the way that every business operates. While some employers are seeing a return of staff to the workplace, for many the induction day is likely long gone as are informal lunches with the team. That doesn’t mean that you get no benefits from starting or continuing a job with social distancing in place. That said, everyone will be different and your environment, distractions and processes will change the way you experience working from home. These are just some of the beneficial arguments to consider:
You are future proof
If nothing else, the pandemic has been a wake-up call for businesses. According to the Office for National Statistics, only 5% of the UK workforce mainly worked remotely, with a quarter occasionally working from home, in 2019. A report into coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain by the Office for National Statistics found that more than one in five people had worked exclusively from home in the second week of August 2020. This shift has required time and money investment, policy changes and business adjustments that are not going to be forgotten lightly. Adapt now, use technology as your ally, not your enemy, and you’ll be well placed for the future job market.
Ever met the CEO? How about Jim from marketing on the third floor? Or Julie from engineering on six? Induction days are the time that you meet everyone that works for the company – before promptly forgetting each of their names because you, like everyone else, can only remember a few things at a time. Now that companies have to use their IT systems, you have a transcript of most of your conversations, along with contact lists for all the relevant departments. You no longer need to trek up the stairwell to find the anonymous author of that important company missive. This can be used to your advantage – make those connections, foster conversations online and use the transcripts of the lessons that you learn from others to build your skills profile. Add colleagues on LinkedIn to have a professional connection for future jobs too.
Learn something new
You are no longer paying for petrol, the bus or the train. You’re saving money, and you’re probably also saving time. Keep the routine in place and get up as you normally would for work, but use the time differently. Why not invest your temporal commuting savings into an online course? Learn how to code, learn a new language or learn the ins and outs of marketing or mathematics. Try Coursera, Codeacademy, Freecodecamp or Duolingo and make that extra time work for your career with a new set of skills.
Learn from your mistakes without the stress
There is often a focus on the things that you’re missing out on when working remotely versus working in an office: you miss the one-to-one time, the resources, the company socials, the office environment etc. You also miss out on some of the bad things too: colleagues bearing witness to your first mistake, getting a name wrong in conversation, lateness due to transport changes or pressing the wrong button on office machinery. This could be your chance to have a safe space while you learn, document your mistakes via the electronic paper trail. It may also ensure that you are more comfortable when (and if) you return to the office in future. Your space working at home is what you make it. You can create an environment that is good for your concentration, use a system to track your work so you can look back and see where you went wrong and practise your public speaking in front of a computer rather than a crowded team meeting.
To make the most of working from home, you may benefit from tips for staying focused. Our graduate insights article provides advice from recent graduates who worked out methods for maintaining motivation during their studies, which are easily transferable to your 'home office'.