With many people now taking early retirement or being made redundant and starting up their own businesses, now might be good time to look at the challenges of running a business from home.
You may think this is an easy one, not having to put a suit on in the morning, with the bonus of increased productivity with less travelling time. Unfortunately, the fine line between work life and home life soon start to merge and you will need to be highly disciplined in order to succeed.
It is all too easy to play with the children or watch a football match on television and leave a task until tomorrow but this is exactly the time when you need to be self-motivated.
There are many rewards from working from home if you can get it right! So here are some tips to help you along your way.
1. Space demarcation
Keep your office space separate from your home environment. Keep your office ‘off limits’ to your children while you are working so that they understand that a closed door means ‘No Entry!’
2. Time management
Your time must be structured. Have your to-do list right next to you and ensure that you make those calls and keep those appointments. The advantage of working from home is that you can take off a couple of hours in the middle of the day to go to the gym, go to your children’s sports day and then you can catch up at the end of the day.
You will still need a support team to keep you working efficiently. When you are in an office, this support is often taken for granted: particularly technical and administrative, but when you work from home, it can be much more difficult.
You will need to use technology more and whereas before you could see someone face to face. It may now be better to use video conferencing. And, a remote, personal answering service is far more professional that having an answering machine taking your calls.
As soon as you start to work from home, family, friends and neighbours may think you are always available and they need to know that working time must be respected.
Be careful with people who just pop in for a chat. Don’t forget, you need to set the ground rules for those around you, and in time, they will learn to respect your needs.
6. Frame of mind
Know when you are the most productive. If you are a morning person, then choose to do the tasks that need your full concentration early in the day. The important thing is to know when you are at your best and take full advantage of that fact.
Because you will be working by yourself, it is vital that you maintain your own peer group to keep you aware of what is happening outside your own home environment. Join networking groups, either during the day or in the evening.
It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming unmotivated at home and sometimes the ideas and the energy from someone else will help raise your energy levels.
8. Take a break
It is also important to make sure you have a daily exercise programme and at least one social break during the week. It maybe a breakfast, lunch or dinner or maybe even a quick coffee.
Keep those brain cells stimulated otherwise your brain can slow down and you will lose your energy and creativity.
Working from home is not for everyone. Some will love the flexibility and others will hate the lack of organisation. If you go down this route, make sure you have the right team in place and have the necessary support. But it is not right for everyone, so do your homework before you go that route.
1. Working from home is good for some – not for everyone
2. It needs self-discipline and self motivation
3. You will need to utilise technology to the full
[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]
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