These days, for anyone starting a business, the idea of working from an office barely enters their head. If you can run your business from a computer/phone/kitchen table, you can run it from anywhere. There are now 2.5 million home business owners in the UK, (according to new Office for National Statistics analysis from Direct Line for Business). That means a whopping 52% of the UK’s small businesses are home based; eight per cent of the UK’s total workforce. There is a school of thought that every home business should have a separate office, a desk, a decent chair, storage space. But does every home have a spare room? Does it need to? After all, if you love what you do, which is the reason a number of us start our businesses in the first place, then what’s the harm in it merging into your home just as it does with your life in general?
Five tips on working from home
The joy of working from home can also be the distraction. If you’re the sort of person that can’t concentrate if there is a pile of washing up to be done, just do it! Forward planning means that you will wake up in the morning with the washing up done/stacked. However, if you’d rather spend those precious few hours in the evening with your loved ones/TV/wine, then use those little household jobs to give your eyes a strict break from the laptop for a disciplined 5-10 minutes every two or three hours during the day.
Talking of which, are other people at home when you are trying to earn your living? Do you remember when you worked with other people: the banter, the jokes, the coffee rounds? All very lovely but none of these activities earn you a living. Try negotiating. Use different rooms or develop a time-share plan on who has the home and who has client meetings/dog walking/coffee shop working.
Desk or sofa?
Health practioners will tell you to buy a proper desk chair and have it at the correct height for your desk. All good advice but if popping over to the sofa stretches your legs and means your creativity is flowing, then so be it. Just get up and move every hour so you are not in the same position, put a timer on if you must but keep your body healthy and your mind productive by working from where it’s most creative for you.
Office and storage
If you have the room for a separate office, then great, for storage if nothing else. Or just have a cupboard where all your ‘office’ goes into. Just pull out your laptop or whatever you’re working on but leave all your stationery, files and equipment out of site in the cupboard named ‘office.’
There is always the option of utilising a storage facility to keep your dwelling homely and tidy.
Take breakfast when you’re hungry which may not necessarily be first thing for you. Perhaps aim to catch up on emails/orders/social media/goal setting first thing before you reward yourself with a hearty breakfast.
At the other end of the working day, pop your laptop lid down to finish whenever is right for you. If that means you work through the night and sleep in the day, so be it. Unless you have clients needing to speak to you during the day of course! One of the benefits of working from home is the flexibility so walk the dog, do the laundry and socialise whenever you want to. Thankfully, you plan your own time. Just remember to take those breaks, go out and meet people and keep loving what you do!
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Rickie has been in business since 2004 and splits her time between writing, running workshops and organising events to promote small business. Contact on firstname.lastname@example.org or via @CraftySkills1