Here are a few things to consider if you’d like to work from home, in the sense of using it as your normal place of work.
Are you really sure it’s for you?
The news tends to regularly cover inspirational stories of people who’ve successfully started running a business from home. What’s less commonly highlighted are all those who’ve tried it and given it up for a number of reasons – and business failures aren’t one of them!
The attractions of working at home are clear but are you certain:
- you can manage the sense of isolation (no office gossip, banter, rumour mills, jokes etc.);
- you’ll be able to segment your business and social life, making sure you don’t blur the two, if they’re both taking place under the same roof;
- you won’t suffer from losing out on the information exchange with colleagues?
You need to be honest with yourself – these aren’t trivial issues.
Do you have a “me” space?
Trying to work on the kitchen worktop with dogs barking, neighbours dropping by and perhaps children demanding your attention, won’t be easy.
You’ll need an office space and a firm “do not disturb” culture. If not, the results might be amusing but equally, a major problem.
Are you insured?
The moment you start using your home as a commercial or professional environment, you revisit your home insurance cover.
That’s because you’ve changed the status of your home from exclusively residential to that of business-residential. That means you’ll typically require work from home insurance.
Contact us as GSI Insurance to find out more about this important area.
Is your home wired-up for modern business comms?
Using email and perhaps internet phone and video services is one thing when you’re doing so for social purposes but your clients might expect something very different.
Saying “sorry, my line can’t cope with the volumes” will be unacceptable. So, check with your telecoms and Internet Service Providers (ISP) in order to ensure that your technology and contracts are up to professional comms standards.
Do you have your partner’s / children’s / family’s support?
It’s usually quite unintentional but our loved ones can make things troublesome when working at home by finding it difficult to stop thinking “at home = on holiday”. So, demands for help with chores or DIY (etc.) can be hugely problematic.
You can’t fix that with a lock on your office door. You need to be sure all the issues and principles have been fully discussed and agreed in advance.
Are your finances in good order?
Working at home doesn’t necessarily mean running your own business but if it does, remember to plan for a lean couple of years to begin with. True, you’ll be saving on commuting costs but a lot of other things taken for granted in somebody else’s office, like telecoms costs, stationery expenses, heating and lighting, will all be your responsibility.
Keep some money back to deal with those.
Are you strong-willed enough?
Almost everyone who has worked from home will admit to finding things like the TV, the post, the garden, the newspapers and particularly the kettle, stroking the dog / cat to all be big and constant temptations.
Will you be able to resist and keep focussed?
The mechanics of working at home, in the shape of telecoms, equipment and work from home insurance are usually easily dealt with.
It’s often the social and psychological issues that can catch us out. Provided you’re determined and have taken planning steps where required, you should be ready for anything and have solutions to hand.