Working remotely seems to be more and more common these days, regardless of what industry you work in. Employers are coming to understand that people want more flexibility and autonomy, so the ability to work where you want is no longer a rare luxury offered only by a few select businesses. So many roles can be performed off-site, provided you have access to the essential tools such as a laptop, the internet and a mobile phone.
Within the mortgage broking and finance industry, it’s not uncommon for some people to work from home on a daily basis. There are now also agencies who outsource support staff to process mortgage home loan applications, and they’re able to work from the comfort of their own home too.
But how successful are we when working from home, and what are the downsides to a flexible work environment?
There are many benefits to the work from home lifestyle, including:
- Flexibility and autonomy – you can schedule your day as you like, and fit work around appointments or school pick-ups.
- Minimal distractions – you don’t need to answer the office phone (unless it’s diverted to your mobile!) and you can avoid unnecessary office chit-chat, which often leads to lost productivity.
- No commute – just walk from your bedroom to your designated home office (hopefully with a stopover at the shower in between) and voila! You’re fresh and ready to go, without any need for the mad rush to get the train or to beat the traffic.
- Wear what you want – there’s nothing like calling clients in your trackies. When working from home, you can get comfortable and wear what you like… just don’t get caught on a video call in your pajamas.
- Improved efficiency – working remotely can increase productivity for some people. While it’s not the case for everyone, some find that it’s a far better environment for getting more done.
While there are plenty of perks to working from home, it also has its potential downsides:
- No supervision – the lack of accountability can make it difficult for some people to get motivated or keep on track.
- Distractions at home – while you may be able to avoid office banter, there’s always plenty of things that can distract you at home. Does this sound familiar: “Oh, I might just put a load of washing on between emails”? Or this: “The dog’s barking, I better take her for a quick walk”? Or even: “I wonder what Ellen Degeneres is up to today?” (*reaches for remote*)
- The non-work context – if you’re on the couch in your trackies, your brain might not exactly feel positioned to dive into work. In fact, you may find yourself reaching for Netflix out of habit. Some people find that getting dressed into work clothes and having a proper home office helps get them in the right mindset.
How to make it work for you or your team
Our team occasionally works from home when we have no appointments scheduled in the office for that day. We’ve found that remote work can be highly successful, purely because we’ve learned how to keep each other, and ourselves, accountable and productive. There are a few things we do to ensure that working from home is beneficial.
We’ll generally start the day by sharing a list of our goals and plans. We’ll also send an end of day email summarising our overall results and what goals we’ve achieved. This method can help leaders encourage their team to stay accountable for their own productivity and results.
Set up the day well
Getting the most out of working from home is about following the same routine as if we were at the office (with the exception of wearing a full suit and tie!).
We set the day up by:
- writing a to-do list
- clarifying priorities
- allocating time to specific tasks to ensure they get done.
Ensure the environment is suitable
It’s important to ensure that you have a good office set-up, so you can do great work and stay productive. For example, Justin’s home office is expertly positioned up the quieter end of the house, away from the puppy and potential distractions! Having a designated office space like this puts you in the right mindset, ensuring you feel like you’re here to do work.
Recognise if it isn’t working
If our team members are enjoying working from home and are doing great work, we love to support them in doing this. However, if we notice work quality dropping or people struggling to keep up, it’s important to recognise that it isn’t working out, and have an open conversation about it. We can then explore other options.
Remember, everyone is different
A remote working environment doesn’t work well for everyone. Some people would love to do it five days per week (and could potentially work better this way), while others need people around them during the day to bounce thoughts and ideas off. It can get lonely working from home.
At Platinum People Group, we find that the best part of our job is meeting new people face to face, so we can better understand their current situation and help them moving forward. This kind of work is best done in the office, when we’re fully switched on and ready to change lives!
In saying that, a day working from the comfort of home every now and again is often beneficial for our team in order to catch up on sleep… and ditch the suit and tie for a day. There are many parts of our job that can be performed remotely, such as administration, phone calls and booking the diary up with meetings for upcoming weeks. This is the nature of recruitment work, and we’re very privileged to be able to work from home sometimes, as well as from our beautiful office space as needed.
Some mortgage brokers we speak to absolutely love working from home, while others become lonely and miss being in a team environment. It’s certainly not for everyone. Some people, however, can work from home every single day, while remaining consistently productive, and genuinely enjoy it.
If you’d like some guidance in securing a position that allows you to work in an environment best suited to you, please get in touch with us for a free career consultation. Or, if you’d like help refining your flexible work arrangements in order to attract the amazing team you need to help grow your business, please book in a business consultation.