Personal lifestyle change with positive business benefits

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Six months ago I made a radical change in my personal lifestyle. I decided to leave my flat in the hustle and bustle of Windsor and move onto a 49ft Dutch replica barge on The River Thames. To add to this upheaval, for the first time in 30 years I did not have a car to get me to the office, meetings, to see friends or do my supermarket shopping.

This decision did not come lightly, and I was concerned at the impact this change would make to my career. In a flat, I am stationary; in a boat, I could be in Reading one day or Oxford the next day. With the added complexity of working out how I should get to the office by foot, bus, train or taxi. Sometimes I am not even able to step off the boat, for instance when I am moored on a remote island in the middle of the countryside.

With all these considerations, I had to embrace remote working, and I feel this has had a positive effect in my business (and personal) life. My employer Orange Business Services is a great supporter and provides me with all the necessary tools I need to work at home. My remit is across Europe so I need to be able to talk to colleagues on the phone or online. In addition to my laptop, I have fantastic Wi-Fi (yes on a boat), IP and mobile phones. I also have access to our great internal and external collaboration tools, including Skype, Webex and audioconferencing.

Gone are the days when I had to be in the office to attend all face-to-face meetings. Some days this can mean a four hour round trip by public transport. Now I can attend the meeting remotely, talking, presenting and sharing from anywhere on The Thames using my digital tools.

Some people struggle with working from home. They don’t feel they have an office environment to help them distinguish between business and personal life. A former colleague used to wear a business suit in his home office to make him feel he was at his workplace.

For me, living in the peace and quiet of the countryside, I am able to focus uninterrupted on the tasks of the day. Sometimes this can mean forgetting to take a lunch break, so it is important that I schedule regular breaks to give myself a breather. This is vital for my health and well-being despite knowing I have an intense deadline to hit.

A Cebr white paper commissioned for Lenovo in October 2018 found that more than three quarters (76%) of those who have no commute by working from home are overall satisfied with their job.

I have seen many benefits from working remotely. My work life balance is better. I get up in the morning and run before I start my work day. When I finish in the afternoon there is no commute in traffic; I am home and ready for my evening. A positive saving already on my carbon footprint. I’m less stressed knowing that I’m not stuck in traffic trying to get to a meeting on time. I simply dial in and I’m in the meeting instantly. I focus better on tasks, and I feel more productive.

Some people get lonely working from home without interaction with other colleagues. I do still feel it is important to go to the office, but I make sure that each visit is as productive as possible. I can have my head in my laptop all day at home, but a few hours of human interaction in the office is a very positive use of my time. In addition, I am fitter and my step count on my Fitbit is very high!

I think this change to remote working has made me a much happier person.

Tracy Wilks
Tracy Wilks

I am European PR and Social Media Manager and also UK&I Marketing Manager supporting my local account team. In my spare time I love to travel and live on a replica Dutch barge on The River Thames.