OK, I’m sure you can picture it………You’re standing around a BBQ with friends when you mention that you’ve been thinking about starting a business, or relocating an existing one and working from home. Shades of green come over their faces as envy takes over, and you’re bombarded with sarcastic comments about never getting out of your pyjamas, (a crime I have committed on one or two occasions!) and pulling a six-figure income whilst only working 6 hours a week (I wish!). The tone of the conversation can start to get a bit ‘catty’.
Data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics show more and more people are running their businesses from home due to a lower cost base (no rent) and convenience. Many stay at home parents are tempted by the lure of looking after the kids whilst earning some income. Corporate Australia is also changing its attitude to work/life balance and flexible working conditions, with more companies and government departments allowing staff to work from home on a temporary, part time, or permanent basis.
So far it all sounds wonderful, but there are a few pitfalls to working or running a business from home that you need to consider. Inserting your professional life into your home space means the lines separating the two can often become blurred. Work life interrupts family life and vice versa. The distractions of daily family life (read as kids, partners, friends, and the in-laws aggh!) can easily interrupt your routine, as the challenge of pumping out a solid 8 hours of work becomes harder and harder.
For the workaholics amongst us, the challenge revolves around staying out of the office once you’ve completed a day’s work. It’s too easy to slip back into the office and send that one email you forgot about, which ends up being another 3-hour work session.
So how do we make that working from home project a workable success?
The key is time management and structure. If the business or role you are working in is a full-time job, then you need to allocate ‘full time’ hours. If your business is a 15 hour a week operation, then you need to devote that full 15 hours to the role. Whether you use a calendar on a phone, PC, or shock…a paper calendar stuck to the fridge, planning your work week is a must. Allocate your days and times to work AND STICK TO IT! Every successful task we undertake in life, be it business, paid work, sport, recreation, and hobbies is due to structure.
Let your friends and family know the times when you aren’t available, and put in place arrangements to ensure you are ‘kid free’ if/when the tasks for a particular day demand it. (Yes, I know, it’s easier said than done.) I know people who get dressed in business attire when working from home so that it helps them get their head in the right space, and they are ‘switched on’ for business. Granted that not everyone needs to do that when neat casual attire is suitable for a particular business.
Being disciplined about managing the calendar and setting a structure for your business to operate in will become easier over time. It will be challenging and probably stressful in the early days, but once you get to the point that it becomes the norm, then the challenges start to dissipate.
This blog is not an all-encompassing expose on what makes working from home a success. However, if you start with a bit of discipline, time management and structure you will be well on the way!
Present Professionally works with existing or start-up businesses to get their systems, processes, and marketing in place to drive growth and success.
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Present Professionally serves business customers in Toowoomba, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast Regions with cost effective and quality business consultancy and marketing services. Resume and career services are available across Australia. You can follow Anthony at https://au.linkedin.com/in/anthonyferro1 and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/PresentProfessionallyAustralia/
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