Want to know more about working from home? I interviewed Ryan Gibson from Generation Y about breaking away from the 9 to 5 and the perfect home office space…
Definition: ‘The generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, typically regarded as increasingly familiar with digital and electronic technology’
Apparently all Generation Y’s are Tech savvy, attention craving, family centric, achievement orientated and team focused. It’s the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce and is constantly referred to by large corporations.
For me Generation Y is an age group who don’t see value in the conventional ways of working and instead want to live their lives very differently from the way previous generations did it. In essence we value more than just work and want to balance these appropriately to get the best from our lives.
You worked in a corporate office for 3 years, what did you like/dislike about it?
I had a love hate relationship with the office environment. I met some really good friends and everyday you knew there was someone to talk to, share a coffee with or bounce ideas off. The people were a real asset to my work within the corporate world. Furthermore my previous role had an onsite gym which was a real plus point for me and was fantastic social tool at lunch time.
What I disliked was the politics. There are people who have worked within the same office for years and politically it’s hard to have an opinion different to theirs. Secondly trying to concentrate within the office was near on impossible some days. You’d have people talking about Football, guys on conference calls shouting about a specific strategy just to name a few. The corporate world can be absolute madness when you are trying to concentrate. It’s the best and worst place depending on the day.
What made you decide you wanted to live a different lifestyle and work from home?
I think working from home is a dream for many and at 27 years old I felt it was the perfect time to embrace such an opportunity. I was invited to apply for the role however the head office was based in Singapore with the UK office 90 minutes away in Manchester. I just wasn’t prepared to commute that distance and I believed it was counterproductive for both myself and the organisation to make me do so.
I found the opportunity to ‘craft’ the way I work exciting and the job role was within the travel industry working with bloggers. Who in their right mind would turn down such an opportunity!? I weighed up the pros and cons of working from home and for me the ability to tailor my work around my life far outweighed any negatives. Sure I miss my friends, I miss the office banter and I miss the free gym but at the same time there is nothing more appealing than finishing work and walking 10 seconds from the office into the living room. Life is good.
Describe your typical working day for us now…
Despite the bullshit stereotypes we don’t crawl out of bed at 10am and work the full day in our PJ’s. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I actually work far more hours now I work from home than I ever did. In the office environment I would rock into work at 8:30am and immediately grab a coffee whereas when working from home I’m extremely self conscious of the notion that people will think I am slacking which makes me the exact opposite. I constantly count minutes. If I grab a coffee I think to myself ‘I’ll make that time back’, it’s insane.
My day usually starts at 6:30am when I clock onto work. Given my team are Singapore based I feel If I start work at 6:30am then I get 3 ½ hours with the team. If I started at the conventional 9am then I would get just an hour with the team. The morning usually consists of talking to my team members via Skype and clearing my inbox. Once the team clock off I work for an hour before heading to the gym at 11. The gym is hugely important to me as a home worker as it gets me out of the house and keeps me focused. I spend around an hour in the gym then head home and make some quick lunch. I then spend the afternoon working until around 4:30pm-5pm on my day job and then move to working on my blog until around 6pm-6:30pm. The rest of the night I spend chilling out, spending time with friends and so forth. With my day job and the blog my days are typically 12 hour days.
How do you stay motivated when working from home?
I am actually far more motivated from home than I ever was in the office. I can control my distractions. If I want to chat to someone i will have a look on twitter or text a friend whereas if I need to concentrate its total silence. If you’re passionate about what you do for a living then It’s hard not to be motivated as I couldn’t imagine failing at what I do.
I also find focus and motivation in looking around me. I live in a really nice house and have a good lifestyle which is down to my dedication in what I do. If I ever let that slip then I’d lose everything.
Lastly working remotely makes you far more motivated as you have to go that extra mile to get noticed. Within the office environment you can drive the right perception by been a nice guy. Working remotely however your work does the talking. If the work isn’t up to scratch then the first thing they will blame is the remote working conditions. I can categorically say I’ve never worked as hard as I since I began working from home.
Do you have any tips for time management and staying productive when working from home?
I manage my time strangely. I set myself mini goals until my next ‘break’ and I endeavour to complete these goals. For example: One of my goals may be ‘clearing my inbox before I grab a cup of coffee’. I try to stick to this and give myself mini rewards. I also have a whiteboard in my office and before I log off for the day I try and write the next day’s main tasks on the whiteboard so that when I stumble into the office in the morning I am focused and ready to roll.
Those would be the best tips in my opinion. Set yourself mini goals and achievements and reward these and buy a whiteboard and use it religiously. There’s nothing more motivating than having a huge to do list sat on your office wall.
What made you set up your blog Generation Y Working? Can you explain the idea behind it?
When I was offered the role I felt like I had a unique opportunity and it was something I wanted to document. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Furthermore all lifestyle blogs are about ‘quitting the job they hate’ and living a life on the internet. Don’t get me wrong I applaud this lifestyle and it’s fantastic for those who can achieve it but what about the everyday office worker? It’s not possible for us all.
Furthermore there are some of us who don’t actually hate their job we actually like it. The site focuses on work and how it can be designed around the employee by the company.
Work used to be a place where you used to go to earn money and come home; I think it needs to be more than that now. I want people to get the most they can out of work and vice versa. Hopefully my posts can help drive this change.
The weekly interviews are there solely to inspire change. I love to find out about successful people around the world and the lifestyle they are living. The interviews also show that lifestyle design can work in many different ways depending on the person. We don’t all want to run off to a beach in Thailand and work we just want to create a life which maximises all channels; work, play, health and family.
You feature photos of home offices on your blog, what’s your office space like?
What factors make for the ideal home office?
Many will disagree with me but I believe a nice sized, impressive office space is essential for full time home workers. Not only does it send the right message that you are really serious about this arrangement but it also super sizes your productivity.
Home office spaces should be better than any office space you’ve ever worked in. For me that wasn’t hard as the office spaces I’ve worked in all consisted of cramped desks and horrendous office chairs. My advice would be to focus on the following factors:
: Dedicated space
: Natural Light
: Distraction free
: Fully equipped
If you are employed by a company this is more so important as you NEED to drive the right perception that you’re taking this home working serious. The ideal home office I guess is subjective dependent on the individual and their needs.
What would you to say to any corporations or businesses about the future of work?
‘Do you want to attract the best candidate possible for the position you have on offer?’
The answer to the above question would always be yes so I ask them ‘why be rigid?’. Why would you turn down the chance to recruit a truly exceptional candidate just because he could only make it to the office once a week? Why would you force an outstanding employee to work ‘set hours’ disappointing them in the process and losing that respect and trust?
As business leaders you have the ability to get the best out of your staff by allowing members of staff to work when they are most productive.
The future of work is not just about home workers it’s about understanding your members of staff on a case by case level and giving them flexibility. True business leaders will get this and make these changes. I think the future of work is flexibility.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get away from the 9 to 5?
My best advice would be to explore all options available at your current organisation/place of work. You may well be closer to home working than you think. I genuinely believe companies are becoming more open to flexible hours, home working and balancing life. Many never achieve such a working condition because they simply don’t ask for it.
If you want to escape the 9-5 and lead a more ‘designed’ working condition then it needs to make business sense. First and foremost the priority is the company and the company only. You come second in this. Highlight the reasons as to why flexible hours or a home working arrangement would benefit the company. Focus on productivity, delivering your goals and improving the organisation. Propose a trial and work yourself to the bone. Business is results driven and if you show what you can achieve by adapting your working conditions then your manager would be mad to reject such a request.
I actually wrote a post on convincing your boss to let you work from home. People are solely focused on escaping the cubicle and ‘making money online’ which is the dream for many but simply not possible for all. You can actually get away from the 9-5 by showing your management what can be achieved when you do.