This post is the second of the 4-part of the “Beyond The Boardroom” series, which examines how innovations in mobile are revolutionizing the virtual workforce. “Beyond The Boardroom” is sponsored by Blackberry. See more posts in the series ».
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously banned working from homein February of this year.
That’s because she believes the best ideas happen when workers are face to face and have the ability to collaborate with each other.
But it turns out that remote workers are actually more engaged, Edinger Consulting Group founder Scott Edinger wrote on the Harvard Business Review.
Business Insider caught up with Edinger to learn a bit more about the pros and cons of working from home.
“One doesn’t have to be in an office environment in order to be highly engaged,” Edinger tells Business Insider. “It’s been proven that people outside the office are even more engaged.”
The number one rule for all of this is not to argue with success, Edinger says.
“There is no royal road,” he says. “Which is why I think at Yahoo, they have made a mistake by focusing on the ‘no remote work arrangements rule,’ instead of focusing on results and outcomes like engagement and productivity.”
Evaluate your work ethic and determine if working from home is right for you
Working from home isn’t necessarily for everyone. Some people are really great at self-motivation, while others may need to be in more of a traditional work environment in order to get in the work mood.
“If you’re working from home, the real danger is the distraction of everyday life,” Edinger says. “All the things that you could be doing are right there. Whereas in the office, maybe you’ll make some personal calls, but for the most part, you’re disciplined by work because you’re surrounded by them.”
That’s not to say that working in the office is free of distraction, Edinger says. But ultimately, you need to be a self-starter and someone who can effectively communicate with your teammates even if you don’t see them face to face.
Convey to your boss that working remotely would produce better results
Now that you’re sure working from home would be a more productive solution for you, it’s time to convey that to your boss. The focal point of any conversation with your boss needs to be around output over input, and results over actions.
A common misconception is that you’re hired to take action, Edinger says. But in reality, you’re hired to get results.
“Actions and methods are just a means to an end to get those results,” Edinger says. “Whether it takes me 10 or 12 hours isn’t of concern. It’s the results produced that are needed for my job.”
That means as an employee, you need to show your boss how you will actually complete more tasks or projects, achieve better results, and make more progress on significant projects.
“If people are more productive working in that environment on their own, and are better able to produce results, then that’s what’s in it for the organisation,” Edinger says.
But again, working from home isn’t for everyone. You need some level of self-motivation to be able to productively work from home, Edinger says.
Staying productive while working from home
Now that you’ve convinced your boss to let you work from home, here’s how to make sure your privileges don’t get quickly revoked.
It’s important to set aside an area for only work, Edinger says. If you’re working in your living room, the chances for distraction are plentiful.
You have the TV and refrigerator beckoning, and you see all your personal errands right in front of you. There’s no escaping them and it can be tempting to take care of that business when you should be working.
“I know a lot of very successful individuals who work in a one bedroom apartment but have an area set aside for work,” Edinger says. “That’s the number one factor.”
Other important factors are to be mindful of your calendar, and block off time to accomplish certain tasks. You also want to tackle the toughest things earlier in the day. The same goes for an office, Edinger says, but it’s even more important to keep that in mind when working from home.
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