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Owning your own small business brings with it just as many negative points as it does positives, as whilst you might be able to set up a successful business that gives you more flexibility and better finances than you’ve ever had, the negatives can be everything from extremely long hours to being the judge, jury and executioner of every single decision that needs to be made and every process that needs to be carried out.
Of the positive aspects of running your own small business, however, one of the most prominent is that for a lot of people, it’s possible to work from home.
Whether it’s something that’s a possibility seven days a week or it’s just something that you can look to do once or twice a week if the need was there, working from home does have its drawbacks.
With a sufficient amount of proper planning and preparation, however, working from home can be something that gives you more freedom than you’d ever thought possible when working and these points should give you an idea of various aspects to keep in mind when you’re considering running your small business from home.
Have a dedicated work area
Something that’s particularly important if you have children, whether you have an office or a section of a dining room which isn’t often used, having a dedicated work area not only means that you can have all of your associated work documents stored and to hand when working, but it also means that people will know not to disturb you when you’re working in that area.
Treat working from home like working from business premises
One of the issues that a lot of people have when working from home is that they don’t treat the whole process seriously enough, allowing themselves to get distracted.
Whilst there’s no doubt the flexibility of working from home does mean that you could, for example, hang the washing out to dry, what you shouldn’t be doing is running errands that you’d normally be doing at home – keep these to when you’re no longer working and you’re at home in the traditional sense.
If you’re working from home occasionally and you have staff or colleagues who will be working where you normally would, it’s extremely important that they – and any customers – can get in touch with you if need be.
Whether it’s by mobile phone, a dedicated office phone or e-mail, you need to ensure that people can get in touch with you if they need to – something that means if you’re giving your e-mail address as your primary contact method when you’re working from home, you have constant, immediate access to your e-mails.
When you’re working from home, to all intents and purposes you could work in your pyjamas and slippers, assuming all of your work was to be carried out on the computer or phone.
As this is the case, a lot of people working from home get a little too comfortable in their environment and to a certain extent forget that they are working and not simply using the computer or phone from home and it’s because of this why you need to ensure that you always remain professional.
From answering the phone to signing off an e-mail, just because you’re working in the comfort of your own home and aren’t wearing your normal work wear, it doesn’t mean that you can be more relaxed than you normally would be in regards to your work.
Working from home is something that a lot of people aspire to be able to do and something that as a small business owner, might very well be a possibility for you.
To ensure that your business doesn’t suffer from this and actually benefits, it’s important that your working environment and attitude when working from home is exactly as it would be if you were working from dedicated business premises.
This article was originally published on April 12, 2011.