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Are you working from home or setting up your own home business? Workingmums.co.uk has some tips for those seeking to set up remotely.
Make sure you have everything in place before you start. That includes the right equipment, including the right type of broadband, routers and any boosters you might need as well as office equipment like printers.
Ensure you talk through any technical support you might need with your manager if you have one. For instance, what will you do if your laptop or computer fails? Do you have back-up? Talk through any costs you might incur from working from home, such as telephone bills. After all you will be saving your employer overhead expenses.
Isolation is a big issue for homeworkers. Try to break out of this by using instant messaging or Skype to connect regularly with colleagues or others. If you are working on your own rather than as part of a team, reach out to others doing similar work and build a network. You could also consider local co-working spaces or hubs if the isolation gets too much – these combine the advantages of not having to commute too much with the sociability of office working. Try not to do everything via email. It’s a good idea to have voice contact with your team on a weekly basis and to arrange to meet up face to face on a regular basis.
Meet up with friends for lunch or just go for a walk to break up the day. If you’re not going out in the morning on the school or nursery run, it may be an idea to go for a walk round the block so you feel like you have travelled to work and to create a space between home and work life. On a similar theme, take regular screen breaks and do some exercise. You’ll feel better for it. Also, take your lunch break. It’s useful to have some time for you during the day as otherwise you may just go from working intensively to family organisation.
Delineate an office space. If you don’t have a separate room, make a protected space for your work so it does not get mixed up in your home life and so you can move away from it when you have finished work. It’s vital to set boundaries between work and family life.
Self-management is key to working from home. Learn what works best for you and how to manage your time effectively. Get into a routine, for instance, getting the harder tasks over in the first part of the day.
Set expectations with your partner, if you have one, with regard to being the one who always is there for sick kids, deliveries, etc and with regard to people calling during the working day. You may be at home, but you are working.
Let kids understand the pay-off for you working from home so they understand that when you are working they should keep the interruptions down. You could also use this as an opportunity to involve them in your work more so they get an insight into the working world by seeing it up close.
Get good childcare – working with a two year old around is a nightmare. Your employer will expect you to have it and it is a good idea for your own sanity. You will save, however, on commuting time.