Working from Home – Survival guide for self-employed!

Although employed, I work from home, so I relate to any self-employed business person who does the same. When you first set up business, the prospect of working from home, if you have always worked as an employee, can be very exciting. The flexibility to manage your life and family around your business has enormous appeal; there are plenty of benefits that immediately spring to mind.

However, here are some things that you may miss:

– Not leaving the office at 5 o’clock
– Having colleagues to have a chat and a laugh with
– Other like-minded people to motivate and encourage you
– Team building/social nights (the office party is not so enjoyable when there is just you!)
– Time management imposed on you by the boss (sounds strange but bear with me on this)
– Having one specific role instead of many
– Paid sick leave and holidays

So my top tips for surviving working from home are:

– Set yourself targets and a system to review them
– Ensure you have deadlines (your boss used to do this, but you’re the boss now)
– Be self-disciplined with work time; it is easy to lose your work life balance when you work from home
– Take lunch breaks occasionally with former colleagues to remind yourself what you’re not missing!
– Map out your day or week to divide your time between essential tasks, rather than working ‘free range’ on whatever comes up
– Set up a holiday and contingency fund (or insurance policy)

If you work from home consistently, I would recommend you consider hot-desking. This allows you to work some of your time away from your home and gives you the chance to mix with other business people, whilst not breaking the bank by renting high cost office space. I recently started hot-desking at the Portsmouth University Innovation Space. It has put a different complexion on my week as it’s a really stimulating environment to work in; not just visually but mentally as there are numerous entrepreneurs working in open plan offices. Chatting to other businesses has resulted in new ideas and collaborations. Andy Mew and his team co-ordinate a range of business support activities to help fill knowledge gaps for young start-ups and aid their survival. There is business networking and access to experts who can provide free advice on specialist topics like marketing, accounting, record keeping and intellectual property. Plus now there is me!

My role at Enterprise First is to help support pre-start businesses by providing free one to one sessions on business planning, financial forecasting and raising start-up funding. Many towns offer similar services, so I would encourage you to look them up according to your location but, if you are in Portsmouth, then I’d suggest you come and see for yourself what a great place the Innovation Space is.

We don’t just cover Portsmouth, we work across the South East, so if you want free business advice or you need a start-up loan then please get in touch, email [email protected] or call 0800 652 6254.

JulieEasterbrook

Julie Easterbrook – Business Adviser

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