Many business owners choose to work from home to fit with their circumstances, but homeworking is not without its problems. Judy Heminsley, editor of Work From Home Wisdom, gives her tips on how to make homeworking work.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that more than four million people now work from home in the UK. According to the Live/Work Network consultancy, the number of people running their own business from home has risen by a third over the last 11 years.
It’s not surprising that more people are discovering that working from home gives you the opportunity to create a lifestyle that perfectly fits your personality and circumstances, but it’s not quite as simple as just giving up the morning commute.
How do you make working from home work for you? Thinking about four basic points will get you on the right path:
Don’t be put off home working because you don’t have a spare room. It’s far more important to feel happy and productive in the space you choose.
I’ve known home workers spend a lot of money setting up a home office, only to realise they feel cut off there, and go back to the kitchen table. Try out a few different places before choosing. Think about the attic, landing, bedroom, hallway, under the stairs, living room, conservatory, garage or shed. I know home workers who work successfully in all these spots.
Hurray, no need any more to try and conform to the expectation that you will be productive between 9 and 5! Now you can work around your own best times. Not sure what they are? Think about the times you have been in the flow and work has been easy.
Some people like to get up with the lark and crack on before the rest of the world is up. Some swear by the midnight oil. And don’t worry if you have family commitments to work around, they can provide a useful framework that helps you focus.
Be prepared for family and neighbours assuming you are available because you are in the house. Start as you mean to go on, and clearly explain that you are working and should not be disturbed. It’s likely the message will need repeating, but it will eventually get through.
Pulled away from the desk by housework? Decide what essentials you can do quickly to have peace of mind while working, and leave the rest till the end of the day. Or try a simple household task when you need a break – as long as it doesn’t turn into procrastination!
Even if you enjoy your own company it’s easy when you work alone to slide from deep concentration to feeling demotivated and lacking in confidence. But working from home doesn’t mean you have to work at home all the time.
The ideal balance is focused working time, interspersed with going out to meet clients and associates. Networking and other business events fire up inspiration as well as providing valuable contacts. Also check out your local library and cafes for free wifi, or rent a desk for a few hours at a co-working space.
Judy Heminsley has run several businesses from her spare bedroom. She now writes about homeworking and runs the website Working From Home Wisdom, dispensing cheer and advice to homeworkers.
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