Setting up and managing a business from home can be ideal for many people, allowing them a great deal more job satisfaction, flexibility over their working patterns and choices over how they organize their professional life. Many of the benefits for choosing your home over an office or other workspace are monetrary – it doesn’t cost money to travel to work, the premises and all the other costs, such as insurance and utility bills. However, there are some negatives to running a business from home, a lot of which are to do with remaining productive and being motivated. Here, we look at how you can work from home and still be efficient.
Create a workspace
The tempatation of sitting in your pajamas and working on the sofa in front of the TV can be strong when you work from home. While this is one of the benefits, it is not necessarily the best way to work, certainly not if you want to be productive. Take the time to create a dedicated workspace, even if it jut a nook in your bedroom where you can work in comfort with few distractions. If you do not have the space inside your house, look at converting the attic or garage, or even erect a summer house.
You don’t need many things; a decent chair, a desk, some shelves and cupboards and good lighting. You can always add a few homely little touches such as prints and plants to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
If your business involves food preparation – perhaps you work in catering or bake cakes – make sure that wherever you are working meets any hygiene regulations.
Inform the relevant people
Making sure that you have registered and told all of the necessary people that you are working from your home as soon as possible can take away a lot of worry and stress. One of the most essential departments to tell is the tax office so that you do not accidentally commit any sort of tax fraud or evasion. For certain businesses, you may have to register with certain regulatory bodies. Your mortgage company or landlord may need informing as well, as they may need to take out extra insurance to cover you.
Stay on task
As we mentioned above, it is really easy to get caught up watching TV, or doing the hoovering, or making the beds or any other job other than the one that you are supposed to be doing. Before you realise, half of your working time has gone, and you have achieved next to nothing. Start off the day creating a list of tasks you need to complete by the end of the day, and make sure that you do them.
Take a break
When you are absorbed in thinking about how much money you can make working from home and how much easier it would be, it can be easy to get completely lost in your work and let it take over your own time or time with your family. This is not healthy for anyone and can be counterproductive. When you are tired you are not working at your very best. Try using the Pomodoro technique. This method involves you working for 25 minutes, having a five-minute break away from the computer or the task, and then working for another 25 minutes to help you take short, regular breaks. If possible, move away from your desk and stretch your legs or go outside for a few deep breaths of fresh air.
When you are sitting at a desk, bashing away at a computer, staying hydrated can be something that slips our mind. Drinking gallons of coffee may seem like it is helping, but it really isn’t. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and try to drink it all before the end of your working day. Add slices of lemon or lime to give it a bit of zing if you don’t like plain water.
Switch off at the end of the day
Don’t give in to the temptation to check your emails before you go to bed, or to make that phone call just before you chill out after your dinner. Before you know it, you have worked for several more hours, often unpaid, and have had no down time at all that day.
It is important to set yourself working hours – and make sure that you stick to them! Swicth on an automatic out of office reply for your emails and switch the messaging service on your phone when you finish for the day and deal with them in the morning when you are back at your desk.
Outsource and delegate tasks
To try and save some money do everything yourself. However, this usually end up costing you time – and therefore money – especially if it is a job that someone else can do more effectively. Many people can offer services such as marketing, accountancy, design, photography and virtual administration on a freelance basis. Delegate these tasks and spend your precious time on growing and developing your business.
Get out of the house.
Working from home can be ivery lonely, especially if you are used to working in a busy and bustling office. Ensure that you take time out to meet up with friends and get out of the house for a walk, even if it is just grabbing a coffee or sandwich in a cafe at lunchtime.
If you have worked in an office before, you might be used to someone managing a schedule or your diary for you and telling you when you need to be and when. When you are working from home, unless you have employed a virtual assistant, this is something that you have to do. Keep a big planner on the wall in front of you, so you can be sure not to miss anything. You may also want to add appointments, deadlines and meetings to a digital calendar, such as on Google, which you can access when you are out and about.
It may also a good idea to create some sort of organisational system, so that your office isn’t covered in bits of paper and receipts. By filing away important documents, you will know where everything is when you need it.
Of course, if these tips don’t help you to stay on task and be productive at home, you might want to look at Finding Startup Office Space | The Complete Guide for some office spaces that give you the benefits of working for yourself without any of the negatives.