As some of you know, I’ve been working from home for a while now.
When I think back to my days in the corporate environment, I’m amazed that I used to do it at all. Driving all over the UK, 14 hour days, week after week away from home…
Working from home means my life now is a lovely combination of spending time with my family and working.
However, for many people making the jump to working from home for the first time, there are a number of things to consider before taking the plunge. I thought I’d draft some of these down in the hope that sharing my own experiences may be useful for the new blog businessperson…
The positive side of working from home:
You get to manage your time
In the corporate world, you are forever going from one meeting to another, to make sure you keep abreast of your responsibilities and communications streams. Working from home means I can do what I want when I want.
There is no boardroom
Boardroom, or “bored-room”. The place where you are forced to sit and listen to lengthy discussions with people whom you may not necessarily share the same views or goals.
Working from home means you can schedule meetings with the right people (mainly clients), at the right times. If the meeting isn’t going well, you get to steer it to more productive areas and can come out of each one feeling as if you have achieved or provided something worthwhile.
You can work when you are at your peak
Some of us work best first thing in the morning, others last thing at night.
When you work for yourself, you soon find a routine which works around your peaks and troughs of energy. If you find yourself flagging in the afternoon, you can simply get up and go for a walk – or even take a nap!
This means that when you are working, you’re likely to be much more alert and productive because you set your own schedule.
The coffee is better
For me, this is a huge plus. Working from home means you get to choose what coffee you drink, and you do not have to consume the tap water-inspired muck that companies who are looking to cut costs offer up to their employees!
You’re more productive
When you’re not plodding your way to meetings in different buildings or picking up the telephone for wrong numbers or queries, you seem to somehow become incredibly productive.
At home, you get the space and peace to do your tasks quickly and efficiently, without stopping for conversations in the lift or getting called away to do performance reviews and staff meetings. It’s amazing how much more it’s possible to do from your armchair.
The negative side of working from home:
You get to manage your time
While this seems positive for most people, it can be one of the most challenging elements of working for yourself.
You have to be disciplined about what time you get up and how many hours you put in.
Doing too little will make your business fail. Doing too much will lead to burn-out, and make your business fail.
Although it’s easier to set your own routine, you have to have a good schedule and stick to it.
You can get bogged down with domesticity
It’s sometimes hard to walk straight past the dishwasher or washing machine on your way to the home office, without stopping off and finishing off your laundry or dishes.
When we work from home, there is no distinct space which is cut off from the rest of the household, which means you’re more likely to get caught up in domestic duties such as feeding the cat or cleaning the bathroom, because you can’t walk past them.
To counteract this, try having a space set aside, and close your eyes when you walk past things that need doing, until the end of your working day!
It can be a lonely world!
Working for yourself means you no longer get the peer interaction, social breaks and camaraderie of being part of a team who sit close together.
It can be a little quiet sometimes when you’re thinking through ideas and have no team to bounce them off.
The best way to combat this is to set up a great online network of colleagues who are in the same position as you, and will welcome the interaction.
If you fail, there’s no-one else to blame
This has to be the biggest challenge of working from home, for your own business.
In a corporate company, when things go wrong there is always someone else to blame!
When you are a sole trader, you have to admit that you’ve messed up. Although this also means that you get to take all the credit when things go well, always be prepared to admit when something isn’t working, and change it to make sure your business flourishes even in hard times.
What are your experiences of working from home? Please share them in the comments.
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