As part of our 'Home Working' campaign, we spoke to Jacqui Beel, head of content marketing at conference call company, Powwownow. I asked her about some of the pros and cons of working from home.
How often do you work from home?
I work from home 1-2 days a week.
What do you find so appealing about working from home?
I don’t have to commute for 1.5 hours each way, so it means I can get up a bit later and fit in a gym session after work and still be at home at a reasonable hour afterwards. I find I am much more productive when working at home as it is far easier to establish that work/life balance and I am not entering work having endured an unpleasant commute, which puts me in a far better frame of mind.
How do you separate your home and work life?
I have a home office that is all set up with the right equipment. I set my desk up the night before so when I start work I can go into the office shut the door and start work like I would in the office. This is also extremely helpful the other way around – once I have finished my work I am able to vacate this room and go out or just relax in front of the TV.
What challenges do you face?
There’s always a nagging of washing up on the side, or you want to tidy up – but if I do have these things I either do them before or after work or during my lunch break – having a separate work area helps shut away the ‘home’ and make it more work. I also make sure that I look relatively smart for video calls and it also puts me in the right frame of mind than if I stayed in my pyjamas.
What would a typical day look like when you work from home?
I get up about 7.30 have some breakfast and start work at 8/8.30. I’ll work until lunchtime, pop to the gym for a fitness class at lunch, grab some food and then return to my desk and work till about 6. I usually then either meet friends or go for dinner or to the cinema –the days I work from home are the days I have a social life out of work as I have time for activities and am not just sitting on a train until 7.30/8 at night!
How often does your yeam work from home?
In most cases it is once a week.
How do you overcome the challenge of managing a team in various locations?
Technology – instant chat, video calls, and conference calls – saying hello in the morning and keeping in touch throughout the day – my team is very collaborative anyway so we need to be in touch with stuff that is going on, so it’s easy to know what they are up to. For those that don’t or are worried – set targets or goals of what you want from them by the end of the day.
How essential is technology and infrastructure in your ability to work from home as an individual and as a manager?
It’s the most fundamental thing. For a manager to be able to stay in touch is crucial and it also enables me not to feel isolated or excluded. Being able to speak to the team and agencies as if I were in the office; working from home should be no different to coming into the office – other than the luxury of a lie in and a social life.