But is it?
It can be by utilising and following these steps.
1) Although this may sound like a very simple tip – make sure that you get ready for work as if you were leaving your home and heading out into the corporate world. It is easy to say well, I don’t need to get dressed into a suit any longer, but it will make it a lot more difficult to settle into a workflow if you walk around as if you are on holidays! Remember, you work from home so you need to prepare yourself to do so.
2) Walk into a separate space. Also sounds simple! Guaranteed if you do not have your office in a separate area of the home, you will procrastinate, make another coffee in the kitchen and take your time getting to work. Set up your office as if you were in an employer’s space. Make sure you have only items which relate to your business and work. What does that mean? It means, don’t bring into your workspace Personal To do’s. Your business is important to you and you need to spend an allocated amount of time in your business without seeing other items which need to be done and removing yourself from your work.
3) You should set up a weekly schedule which you can either have on your computer or up on a whiteboard/pinboard which incorporates planned breaks away from your office, as if you were taking a lunch break from work. Work to these schedules and you will be begin to feel like you are taking your work and business seriously, without working around the clock. Ensure that one of the breaks you take is to go for a walk, take a break and possibly exercise for even just 10 minutes – it will definitely clear your mind.
4) Set up an outside networking or online Skype meeting with associates or your support team once a week so that you do not feel completely isolated from the outside world. Yes, you will communicate with clients possibly daily, but sometimes you need to be able to share and bounce ideas off your network and supporters. This will ensure that you not only feel like you are part of a team but you can keep up with any updates in technology, business news and other necessary information.
5) Do you have adequate insurance to cover your business whilst working from home. It is a good idea to ensure that you check with your insurance company whether or not your equipment, public liability etc is covered under your normal home & contents insurance.
6) Keep an allocation of how many hours you spend utilising the internet, the electricity, the phone line (if it is shared personally with your home). This is important as you will be able to claim a certain amount back through your tax. This is an item to ensure you speak with your Accountant about to find out how much you are entitled to claim.
7) Plan your day from the night before. Know exactly what is required by you for your clients and how you plan to achieve a successful outcome for everything on your To Do List. By ensuring that you set up a routine of undertaking this before you switch off every afternoon / evening, you will be able to enter your home office the next morning knowing that everything is ready and prepared for your day.
8) Everyone is different so what may distract one business owner may not distract another – work out what assists you and motivates you to work. For example, perhaps you can work a lot better without any noise around you – so make sure all music and any other distractions are turned off. However, other people may work better with some background noise, such as classical music or something. Whatever works best for you – ensure you have the ability to be motivated to work.
9) Your children need you or want to spend time with you during your set business hours? If it not urgent, tell your child that you will take time out with them but only for 5 minutes. Read them a story, find out about their day and then set them an activity to do which will keep them occupied for at least another ½ hour which will provide you the time to get another one of your tasks completed. Your child will still feel like they are special and your client will have their work completed. A Win-Win.
10) Group any administrative tasks together and set a certain schedule to completing these. This includes: invoicing, debt collection, upload of client information to database, entering of expenses, payment of invoices etc. These can be scheduled at a certain point weekly or fortnightly but must be included in the schedule you set for your business. Working from home, these tasks can sometimes get neglected so they must be set up as part of your schedule.
Create a system which works for you because every business owner is different and every home office is different. The one constant thing however is that you work from home.
Hazel Theocharous, an Expert VA and someone who has worked from a home office for over 5 years provides these tips from experience. www.expertva.com.au