Working from home: it’s not as easy as you think. Yes, you will have heard about the advantages – the better home/life balance, flexibility as a parent, and the rewards from setting up your own business – but there are downsides. Productivity can take a hit, especially if you are swamped with distractions, and it can be difficult to stay motivated when it’s just you, your computer and your workload. To survive in business, you need to adjust your lifestyle, learn to say ‘no’ to people or things that can pull you away from work, and find a strategy to stay sane when it’s just you and the four walls around you.
Let’s look at some of the struggles you will face when working from home more closely.
#1: Being productive
You know you have work to do, but when there is nobody around to watch over your shoulders, your productivity can slip. You may be tempted to browse the internet. You may go to the kitchen for a regular cup of coffee and a snack. And your mates or family members may be a constant distraction, pulling you away from what you should be doing.
Tip: Put an internet blocker on your computer, ensuring you are only visiting the sites you need for work. While it’s fine to take a break every now and again, perhaps install a mini-refrigerator in your home office, cutting down the time you spend walking to and from the kitchen. And tell your friends and family to leave you alone at set hours; make it clear to them that you need to work, and to only contact you in an emergency.
#2: Staying motivated
It’s easy to get bored when alone, and tiredness can affect you. Loneliness is a problem, as you don’t have the banter of other work colleagues. There will be times when you are tempted to pack it in for the day, especially when there are other, more’ fun’ things to do away from your desk. Your Netflix watchlist isn’t going to watch itself, and if your friends are out having fun, why shouldn’t you?
Tip: If this is your sole source of income, you can’t let a lack of motivation rule your day. To succeed in business, you need to work hard and get the job done. It’s as simple as that. Still, you can help yourself. Use Google Calendar to map out the tasks that need to get sorted. Give yourself a break occasionally, and use those times to talk to another person. And keep your energy bills within view – a motivating factor to ensure you have a constant reminder of why you need to get things done.
#3: Trying to be professional
Working from home is a good idea, but you are faced with one major problem: you are playing with the big boys in business. How can your humble business compete? Well, you probably can’t beat them, but you can make your business stand out so it doesn’t fall at the onslaught of the online goliaths.
Tip: You can look and act professional, no matter the size of your business; you just don’t need to let your clients and customers know that you may simply be operating out of your bedroom. In practice, this means setting yourself up with a business email, rather than using your personal address. This means setting up your online store with a professional eCommerce solution, rather than slapping something together with limited skills. And this means marketing your business, using all the methods of digital marketing at your disposal, ensuring your business, no matter how small, still gets the exposure it needs.
Do you work from home? What challenges have you faced? Please let us know, so we can all benefit from your wisdom and experience.