Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Many small business owners are former employees for a company, where they went to work and had a large team around them. Working alone from home can pose some serious challenges that need to be addressed.
Create a workspace
A few people have a stand-alone workspace (like a shed, office, garage or granny flat) but most of us need to find space within the walls of our house. Ideally have a separate room, so you can treat going through the door as ‘going to work’. Apart from allowing you to keep your work spread out if required, it can help signify to family and housemates you’re at work and can’t be disturbed, can be set up to optimise productivity and maximise energy. If you can’t separate, then consider what you can do to create a workspace that delivers on as much of these factors as possible. Some find they work best elsewhere (a library, café or co-working space), away from the distractions of home.
Get ‘in state’
Some people can and do love working in their PJ’s, while others find it beneficial to get up and dress ‘for work’, even when not leaving the house. Everyone has different triggers to tell them they are now ‘at work’. It may be that entering the room is sufficient, getting dressed is, or even opening the laptop or turning off the TV! Try different working styles, and see what makes you most productive.
Ways to avoid being lonely
Working from home can be lonely, and we can feel isolated, and lacking a sounding board. There are many ways to address this. Joining some networking groups is a great start, and you may also look into mastermind groups that are more about accountability. As a sounding board, a random friend or family member can be counter-productive. Consider using a Business Connect Advisor instead.
Distractions around the home are plentiful. We may have family or pets that just won’t leave us alone. Chores can be visible to you, especially not helped when your partner comes home and notes you haven’t done the washing or dishes. Be clear that you are WORKING from home. Notifications from Facebook and email we tend to silence for client meetings, we can do the same for our time.
Plan your day
Failure to plan, is a plan to fail. So true for small businesses! Treat your tasks like admin, invoicing, marketing, content creation, and manufacturing as appointments and block out your calendar. If you need one of those slots for a customer DO NOT delete the item, but rather reschedule it. This is critical. Work towards goals, and establish action plans to complete.
Need help with how to work from home or do you need a sounding board in your business? Please make an appointment to see one of our business advisors for up to four hours of business advice at no cost with no catches! Book now!