Do you have small children and need more flexibility than an employer can offer you? Do you have a passion or a neat business idea you’ve always wanted to use to earn some extra income for the family? Working from home is a great way to start running a new business, with fewer overheads than renting an office space, and also more flexibility to work varying hours depending on the needs of the business, or commonly, the needs of the family!
There are however drawbacks of working from home, but as long as you are prepared in advance for some of these potential issues, you’ll be able to eradicate them from the off and ensure a great working environment and also an enhanced home life.
Being distracted by chores. There’s always more stuff to do at home, whether household chores or shopping or more creative pastimes such as scrapbooking from your children’s holidays. If you were in an office you wouldn’t have these distractions, so why would you allow yourself to listen to them when working from home? Set yourself regular hours for work and stick to them.
If you find it difficult to do so, every time you get distracted make a note of how long you have spent away from your desk – it will soon add up and you’ll realise you’re having to make the hours up late at night after the children have gone to bed, which is neither fun, nor will it be your best work.
Whilst working from home enables a level of flexibility unrivalled to that of working in an office environment, it would be idealistic to suggest that you can work from home whilst your young children are in attendance. Even on their best behaviour, children will want to talk to you and ask you questions at the very least, and often will require a lot more attention than that.
You will be frustrated at being torn between two priorities and give neither your children nor your work your best attention. The best way to manage working from home is to plan your week, using hours the children are at school, factoring in nap times for young children who nap well, and find a local childminder or flexible nursery to ‘man’ a couple of sessions a week too, which can be pure work hours for you.
Even having managed your childcare situation, there may be occasions when the business phone line rings just as your youngest is waking up from a nap and creating an ambience not in keeping with your desired brand image for the customer on the other end of the phone! For those sessions when your children are at home especially, or even in normal business hours to give the impression of professionalism, you could hire a telephone answering service to answer all incoming calls and feed them through to you or take messages when you’re not working.
Another tip is to make sure you are using a suitable email address, people are more likely to trust your business if your email address is @yourcompanyname.com. You can do this by purchasing a domain even if you haven’t yet got plans to create a website (although this should definitely be on your radar). Also make sure to use an email signature with your company’s branding and contact information on.
Don’t forget to network
Working from home will put you at somewhat of a disadvantage in business to likeminded individuals who work in large companies or network with a lot of different clients or suppliers. To keep ahead of the game, you will need to attend networking events and get face to face with people. You will be able to learn any current business issues which may be of relevance to you, and also learn from similar people who may have experiences which could help you to grow your business – or tips on what not to do from their own negative experiences!
By having the opportunity to grow your talents and be proud of your achievements, both you and your family will benefit from a more well rounded and happier you. Also if you’re in charge of your time, you can tweak the schedule or day care arrangements as and when you feel the balance has shifted too much in either direction – you are your own boss.
Image source: SmartPhotoStock
Photo provided by: smartphotostock.com
Image courtesy of Smart photo stock
Karen is the owner of two young businesses, and has learned a lot from setting these up whilst also prioritising spending time with her children, enjoying nothing more on her days off than spending time with her grandchildren and taking her dogs for a walk. She often uses the services of a telephone answering facility, which has at times been the key to managing all the different needs of running the businesses.