The world of work is changing dramatically. These days, more people than ever are working remotely, freelancing or running their own business from home which have completely transformed their traditional work days. Working from home means no travel time or costs, it can also be useful for those with either mental health issues or a physical disability that could make getting to a traditional job each day difficult. Possibly best of all, working from home means flexibility. This can allow you to work the times that suit you, around other commitments. It means that work fits around your life, not the other way around. But it’s not always plain sailing, working from home can come with challenges too. Here are a few things to bear in mind before taking the plunge.
Create a Decent Home Office
Working from home doesn’t mean it’s a free for all, lounging on the sofa in pjs and picking up an hour of work here and there as you please. While of course you could do that, not only is this going to stretch out your workday but you’ll probably not be all that productive. Work from home is still work, and so it makes sense to create an environment that you can get down to business in. This could be a spare room, converted attic, basement or even a conservatory that you’ve transformed into an office. If you run a home business where you’re storing lots of stock, you might need to consider where that will be kept- perhaps in a garage, large shed or outbuilding. Either way, before starting work from home it’s worth getting these spaces set up. Get yourself a large, sturdy desk and a comfortable chair– regardless of the type of work you do chances are you’ll be sat here a lot. Consider redecorating a light, neutral shade which will make the room look bright and spacious. Get rid of any clutter, instead add plants for colour and texture- these have been shown to boost motivation in the workplace too. If you’re going to be storing stock, add shelves and put storage systems in place to keep everything tidy and organised. When you have a space that’s designated for working, it prevents home and life from getting blurred, you can close your door at the end of each working day and go back into it the next with fresh eyes. Without this, your work day can end up being the entire day, quickly leading to burnout and leaving you like you need a break.
Set Your Working Hours
As well as having a designated space to work, it’s also worth setting the hours that you plan on working. The great thing with working from home is that you have flexibility so it doesn’t have to be nine to five, it can be whatever times suit you. But knowing what these are likely to be and sticking with them can be incredibly worthwhile. You know that during those hours you can go into your office, work hard and get things done. You’re not working while you’re supposed to be enjoying family time, or answering emails over eating dinner. It helps to keep your work/ life balance in check.
Working from home is still a relatively new concept, and customers and clients can sometimes be put off if they know the business is run from home in the worry that it won’t be as professional. This simply isn’t the case, however there are ways you can portray a professional image so as not to put some people off. The first would be to have a professionally designed website that’s custom to your business, this creates a good first impression since this is what most people will initially see of your company. Depending on what you do, having an app designed alongside this that people can download to their phone is another option. If you write a blog which is integrated onto your site, not only can this improve your rank in search engines (meaning more organic traffic) but it shows people you know what you’re talking about, that you’re knowledgeable in what you do. An archive that spans back over the months or years you’ve been trading also shows you’ve been around for a while and aren’t just a fleeting business, that you’ve put effort into building your blog which reflects the effort that’s gone into the rest of your venture. Other ways you can look professional are with your contact details. Your website will need an address as well as email contact and phone numbers. Instead of including your home address, how about signing up to a virtual headquarters? These give the impression that you’re working from a fancy office block in a city, any mail you get sent there will be forwarded to you. When you’re running an online business, you won’t be meeting with customers or clients at your premises anyway so this is a fantastic way to give a professional impression if people want to Google your HQ, Instead of using a mobile or landline number, purchase a business phone number, and don’t use a gmail or outlook address for your business. Have a professional business address. A combination of all of these things creates a fantastic impression, no one ever need know you’re running your company from home.
Manage Your Social Media Accounts Properly
Social media is a vital when you’re a freelancer or run your own business. It’s a way for you to promote yourself and also to connect with customers or clients. It gives them another way to get in contact with you, and the way your accounts are run can give an overall impression of your business. Share useful marketing materials, any blog posts you publish as well as things like deals and discounts. You could always outsource your social media marketing to a third party if you didn’t want to deal with this side of things yourself.
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