Working from home
Some of us have to work at home; others see the idea as the perfect solution to a noisy office, endless interruptions, or a long and expensive commute. But if you are seriously thinking of leaving the office on a permanent basis, there are a number of questions you must first consider.
Is it justified?
The relaxed and comfortable atmosphere generated by your home environment may sound good for morale but it is also a key reason for you to question your motives. Make sure you're not looking for an easy option, because this is not it. And make sure that your physical absence is not going to leave your business in serious trouble.
Can you maintain the work/life distinction?
Working from home offers flexibility but it also requires true self-discipline and organisation. Making a mental and physical distinction between your home and your working life is essential, both to resist the distractions of the television or garden, and, at the other end of the scale, to prevent work from wholly consuming your life.
Creating a dedicated working area is essential, while separate telephone lines for home and business could help you to maintain the boundary between 'work' and 'home' time.
Do you have the right working environment?
Take the creation of your home office seriously. It should be comfortable, well-lit and properly equipped. Working at the kitchen table is rarely conducive to an efficient frame of mind. Bear in mind that you may need to revise your insurance policy to cover business equipment in the home.
Will others support you?
It is one thing to be disciplined yourself - you will also need the support of those around you: beware of constant family interruptions! As a practical tip, a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the office door can work wonders.
Home working Do's and Don'ts
- Do establish a daily routine and stick to it
- Do schedule the day's tasks and meet your own deadlines
- Do stay in regular contact with the main office
- Don't take work home that requires group decisions or input
- Don't sleep late on working days
- Don't run to the refrigerator too often!