Can recruiters continue to work from home after the lockdown ends?

With the Covid-19 crisis giving recruiters across the UK the opportunity to work remotely, Phil Scott examines the advantages and disadvantages of working from home – permanently.

Working from home has become the new ‘normal’ over the last few weeks. Some love it; some hate it.

For recruiters who now work remotely, this new set-up could be a revelation and may encourage them to think about whether it’s possible to continue on a more permanent basis.

But not everyone can work remotely permanently – it can either be a blessing or a distraction. Here are seven considerations to help you decide whether working from home is right for you…

1. Improved work/life balance
Commuting to work every day can be a huge drain on your time, productivity and health. If you had more time, you could achieve more, on both a professional and personal level.

By working from home and removing your commute, you can more easily plan your workday around your personal life. If done correctly, you day can run like clockwork and offer huge additional benefits. You can manage your diary, your appointments and your days to suit you.

2. Financial gains
Obvious financial gains when working from home include removing rail costs or trips to the petrol station.

The average UK worker spends £6k per annum commuting, when you add on tax. You will need to earn an extra £10k a year to cover your travel alone to and from work. And this doesn’t even include parking costs or wear and tear on your car.

Because you manage your diary, your day and how you use your time, you can be selective about when and how often you go out for meetings. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in productivity, and has a direct impact on business and billings.

3. Extra time
Commuting every day and every week not only has an impact on you financially but it also takes up your valuable time. According to the TUC, the average UK commute is almost one hour per day, approximately five hours per week, 227 hours per year. That’s nearly the equivalent of 30 working days.

By working from home, this ‘dead’ time can be taken back, to use it however you want. Whether that means an extra week away with your family or doing something you have been putting off, that extra time can be invaluable. How much time are you wasting on a train or in a car?

4. Increased productivity
One of the biggest shocks to most people who decide to take a leap of faith and work from home or for themselves is the increased productivity.

The levels of work that you can get through without commuting, no interruptions and no one asking if you ‘fancy a coffee’ is an eye opener. Once you settle into your routine and learn how to order/break up your daily tasks, you really start to see the benefits of home working and how much more productive you can be.

5. Health
All of the above have a massive effect on your health, both physically and mentally. Do not underestimate how stressful a commute can be and how positive it can make you feel when it’s removed from your day.

Having more time back and more control can give you lots of new options – going to the gym, playing sports, going for a run. You could even spend more time with family, friends, loved ones by popping out for a catch-up after your meetings and not having to worry about getting back to the office. All of this can have a huge effect on your mental and physical well-being.

But there are other considerations to make before you take that leap and work from home on a permanent basis such as…

6. Feeling isolated
Often, a big challenge people face when they set up themselves or decide to permanently work from home is the feeling of isolation. In the beginning, you can feel a bit like a duck out of water. It’s important to have a routine, a day plan and a ‘to-do’ list.

Set daily, weekly goals and targets. Just because you’re not in an office doesn’t mean you’re not goal-oriented or target-driven anymore, and you still need to know what your objectives are.

If you are a visual person, put your targets and objectives on the wall. If you need reminders, set them up on Outlook, a CRM tool or even just a calendar. Prompts can help keep you focused and on track.

It can take time to settle in and find your groove, so don’t be too hard on yourself. You need to talk to other people who work remotely or from home.

At Exec Recruit Group, we are connected and talk to each other daily to share information, ideas or just for a chat. It becomes your ‘normal’ and once you realise how it can work for you – and it can be life changing.

7. Learning to switch off
At the end of a day in the office, you shut down and walk away. In the past, you may have gone for a beer or battled with that hideous commute home. When you work from home, you don’t do that, and this can become a problem if you don’t set yourself a cut-off point.

‘One more call’ or ‘I’ll just send this last email’ can spiral – and you can look up and it’s 10pm. This can have the opposite effect of the positives you gain with no commuting and having more control.

Learning to set yourself boundaries and cut-off times is important. There will always be more to do, so write it down, put it on your ‘to-do’ list for tomorrow, switch off your computer, and go and pour that beer or glass of wine!

Is working from home right for you?
If you do it right and you take the time to really consider what you want from your career, then working from home can be a real success.

At Exec Recruit Group, we have been home working for over five years and we now have a well-refined working environment with all the tools and collaboration that allow recruiters to be a success, while achieving that all important work/life balance. 

Phil Scott is managing director at Exec Recruit Group – a recruitment agency that has been working remotely since 2015.

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