Working from home, the growing powerhouse of the economy

You don't have to be self employed to work from home, many employers will let you work from home for at least part of the week. This can offer much needed flexibility if you need to incorporate childcare into your working life.

Being self employed and working from home has many benefits and a number of drawbacks whether you are divorced or not. If you have young children it can be great way to be at home for them but you need to set strict rules for yourself and for other household members if you are to get the most out of working from home.

self_emp_1.jpgDiscipline
Create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Pin it up where everyone can see it. Don’t work in your PJs!  It's very easy to fall into bad habits like not starting work on time, thinking that you can always work a bit later at the end of the day.

Your own space
Ensure that you have a dedicated work space.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate but it does need to be self contained.  Make it a pleasant place to be with pictures and photographs, plants or fresh flowers and tea and coffee making facilities.

Be more than organised
To work successfully from home if you are running your own business you must be very well organised.  Set aside a regular time each week to get accounts and expenses up to date or get a bookeeper to do all that stuff for you. In any event you will need an accountant.

Networking
Make the most of any resources for businesses and for people working from home such as websites and networking organisations.  Social media is king for networking there are so much to choose from, however, for business LinkedIn is the one to join.  But don't foget the desperate duo - Facebook and Twitter, quickly followed by Instagram, Pinterest and the rest.  It can be lonely working from home so try to do some real live networking as well.  Joining the Federation of Small Businesses is a good way of finding out what local networking opportunities are available

Don’t…
If you work from home friends and neighbours often assume that it is OK just to call in for a chat and a coffee whenever they feel like it. Be firm and remind them politely that you have a living to earn. They will get the message and hopefully will not be offended.

Take a break
Give yourself a proper lunch break and a couple of other short breaks during the day. Take a short walk or go to the gym or for a swim a couple of times a week. Be flexible and work some ‘me’ time into your schedule. Taking time out to relax will make you more productive not less.  In the end it's not how many hours you put in but the productivity of those hours.

Children
If one of the attractions of working from home is to be there when children come home from school don’t attempt to do anything between coming home time and bed. It will be counter productive as they try to get your attention and you will just end up getting cross and frazzled with them.

End of the day
Make sure that at the end of the working day that you put your office phone onto voicemail only and switch off. Do not make yourself available 24/7 for clients or employers.

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