Countless companies are trying to reshape the very structure of their business to attract top talent among Millennial job seekers, but the newest tactic for hiring qualified young workers has nothing to do with office culture, cubicle design, or on-site perks like an employee gym. It has very little to do with a physical office at all.
Work from home (WFH) opportunities are becoming a popular strategy for businesses who want to draw Millennials, particularly creative professionals, to their companies. If you are a Millennial job seeker, you might see more full-time employment opportunities offering WFH days. Many companies are even willing to bring on full-time employees who work remotely and rarely or never set foot inside their actual office.
This seems to fly in the face of creating a strong office culture and collaborative work environment, both of which are said to be ultimately important to Millennial workers. Yet working from home can include being part of a cohesive team while allowing you to create a better work/life balance and experience higher levels of productivity doing the work you love.
The Perks of WFH Employment
Working from home does not necessarily mean experiencing the joys of working in your pajamas on the couch or hitting the coffee shop from 9 to 5 each day. In fact, many employers expect you to set up a home office of sorts, and pajama plaid doesn’t make the best impression during a video chat with the boss. Still, there are a few huge perks associated with WFH opportunities you should consider as you come across job postings including a flexible work location.
This is the most obvious benefit of staying at home rather than trucking to the office five days a week. Say you work for a design firm in Palo Alto but you don’t live in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino or any of the other nearby communities. Instead, you drive in from the “outer reaches” each day. Just by curtailing your commute to Palo Alto two days a week you can reclaim at least four hours of your life– and work time– by Friday.
You save on gas, put less wear on your vehicle, and avoid the potential pitfalls of a carpool when you reduce your commute or eliminate altogether. It also adds more freedom to your workday, which is the next WFH bonus.
Reclaiming Your Work Schedule
Think of your morning routine from waking up to arriving at your desk. Getting ready, packing lunch, driving, settling in for the morning. Most of that can be time you are working instead if you WFH. Early risers can take advantage by starting long before the office opens if that is when they are feeling most productive; night owls can work through the evening hours more easily if they have a full work station set up in a home office.
Each company has their own WFH policies and may expect you to log hours similar to those worked by on-site employees. A business that respects how creative professionals operate, however, typically doesn’t mind if their copywriter starts creating content at dawn or if their graphic designer extends a project past 5pm as long as they are available for chatting and virtual meetings during regular business hours.
Better Work/Life Balance
Bringing work home is bad, or so we’ve been told for the last few decades. And it is true a healthy work/life balance is better for each employee’s happiness and the overall productivity of a business. WFH is different than putting in your time and then some at the office only to have work life trickle into your personal time.
The above schedule flexibility naturally allows you more opportunity to balance your work with your personal life. Think about the potential boost in productivity, too. Say you are a web designer who is often tempted to readjust that site layout just a little more even though it’s after dinner and time to be with family. You start working from home a couple days a week and your productivity goes through the roof because you’re more in control of your time. With each day’s work tied up neatly when you punch out, you’re no longer dwelling on the details of your project during personal time.
This is one of the biggest worries among employers and employees who enter into a WFH agreement. If your employer is intentional about keeping everyone in touch on their days home, you may experience a greater sense of connectedness than coworkers who sit in neighboring cubicles. Video calls, chatting, screen sharing, and social events (in-person or virtual) can help collaboration and create a solid if non-traditional relationship between coworkers in different places. Scott Kindred is Director of website design and online marketing company SafeHouse Web in Hollister, California, and he credits quality project management and instant messaging programs with facilitating this connectedness: “If you’re working from home and you have a question about your project, or need a team member to send you data, there’s no talking over the top of the cubicle to get what you need. Instant messaging (IM) gives us that feeling of being connected to one another and able to get things done quickly.”
One of the necessities of a solid WFH setup is a good IM [chat] client that will allow you stay in touch with coworkers and supervisors during the day. Kindred from SafeHouse Web says, “Chat clients are critical tools for employers and employees, both. Communication throughout the day about project work, especially in WFH situations, is a must-have. Phone calls, tangled email threads — all of that mess has to go away in order to stay productive. I’ve worked with project management software that includes IM for the whole group or for specific teams working on specific tasks. Working remotely absolutely requires it.” This way you can stay on task, collaborate with your team members, and won’t feel like you’re falling behind the rest of your team.
Ways to Improve My Career Working From Home?
WFH is the furthest thing from taking it easy as a creative professional. If you feel working from home might be the best move for you, as a Millennial or otherwise, know that enjoying the above benefits will absolutely improve your career. Finding a good fit for your lifestyle and needs as a creative professional will increase your productivity and help you maintain a better work/life balance. Connecting with a staffing agency for creatives in your area is a great way to see if there are WFH opportunities in your particular industry.
Kinetic Search includes work from home (WFH) options in its screening process for hiring and placing top talent in the San Francisco Bay Area. Be sure to ask us about it!