Top Ten Tips for Working From Home for Work at Home Mums and Mumpreneurs
1. Get out often! This is my number one tip any mum who works from home and there are 3 reasons for you to get out:
a. Keep your sanity. You can go loony tunes working from home, especially if you drop the kids off at nursery/school, come home, don’t see a soul all day and then pick the children up and deal with arsenic hour (or tea time as it’s sometimes referred to).
b. You will give yourself a renewed burst of energy and it will help your business if you are a mumpreneur. Networking in any shape or form will help your profile, your job prospects and your revenue.
c. You will feel like a real member of society. One of the downsides of being a work from home mumpreneurs is that there that you get very little acknowledgement. It is very easy to become isolated when you are at home all day, and as precious as our kids are, having their company at the end of a day doesn’t count towards our regular need for acknowledgement!
2. Define your own special area as office space and educate your family as to the inviolability of this as your work space, not the general area for hanging out on the PC. You are much more likely to spend time working if you take pleasure in your environment and I think this is particularly important for women, as we tend to be far more aware of our surroundings.
3. Communicate with your partner (and your kids, if they are old enough). Agree with your partner times when you will work if these overlap with times when your family is around. If you set expectations and explain what you are trying to achieve you will gain their support and help much more easily. Explain to your kids about the benefits of you working from home and help them understand what’s in it for them. Think of your family as your own special board of directors!
4. Be firm with your friends and family and if they call for a chat during your work time, tell them you’ll call them back, if you must pick up the phone at all. Much better to have a second line and to ignore any calls that come through on the home phone, or alternatively, add a calling feature that allows you to “split” the line and distinguish between work and personal calls. One of the truisms of being a work at home mum or mumpreneurs is that people think you are in fact sitting with your feet up watching daytime TV and eating chocolates all day! You face an ongoing education process to help them believe that working from home does actually mean working!
5. Getting excellent childcare in place is paramount. You won’t be able to work effectively unless you trust that your child is happy and safe. You also need to have back-up arrangements to your normal day to day childcare. Create a contingency plan - jot down a list of alternative childcare options (for those inevitable times when they get sent home for suspicious looking spots, nits or other exclusion reasons), particularly if you have clients or customers who you would have to let down. If you can’t create a viable back up plan for childcare, consider in advance of the actual event as to how you can still get your work done and meet your client/customer commitments. It might be that you have an agreement to work evenings if you have a sick child, for example, or it might be that you set expectations with your boss in the event of unforeseen circumstances!