For those working in the corporate sector, the idea of working from home can seem tempting. An ever-increasing number of entrepreneurs and start-up business owners in the UK are doing just that.
If you’re not already working from home, have you ever wondered what it’s really like? Are there downsides as well as upsides? And if there are challenges, what’s the best way to navigate them?
New research focuses on home-based small business owners
Almost 40% of UK SMEs are based at home. This number has shot up by 3% since 2014, and we’re expecting to see it continue to increase throughout 2019 and beyond.
Barclays has released research focusing on the emotions experienced by those who run their businesses from home. The data shows that 68% are happy and 62% excited about working in this way. Just under two-thirds report feeling more efficient when working from home, due to the lack of distractions. Almost a quarter say they choose to work in pyjamas at least some of the time!
However, on the less positive side, the research also shows more than 35% of people running a business from home often experience loneliness and isolation. Half of these respondents cite lack of support as a reason for these negative feelings.
Six tips to stay motivated when you work from home
While running a home-based business has many plus points, there’s no doubt that there can be downsides, particularly if you struggle with self-discipline and getting organised.
Autonomous working is a positive thing for lots of people, particularly those who don’t work well with the micromanagement experienced within many corporate environments. However, home workers also don’t have colleagues readily available to discuss issues with. Lots of people assume working from home means fewer distractions but being on your own all day can lead to a loss of motivation and high levels of procrastination.
- Timetable your day
It can be surprisingly challenging to organise your day when you’re left to your own devices. A good tip is to work out which part of the day helps you do your best work and plan around that. If you’re a morning person you may find that early in the morning sees you hammering through tasks. Or perhaps you need family time first thing, and the afternoon is your sweet spot for work. Either way, make a strict timetable and follow it. You’ll find a natural rhythm that works best for you.
- Dress as if you’re going to an office
This is more subjective, but some people find that working in their pyjamas has a negative effect on their output. Dressing as you would for an external office job can have surprisingly positive effects on what you achieve. It helps to get you in the ‘work’ frame of mind. It’s also helpful to alter your work environment every day. For example, work from a coffee shop for a portion of the day, as this change of scenery can really help you get through your tasks.
- Connect with people
The lack of distractions associated with an open plan office are extremely beneficial for productivity but can leave you feeling lonely. Luckily, we live and work in a connected age, and colleagues, clients and customers are easy to reach. There are many forums and websites devoted to home-based workers and entrepreneurs. Reach out and network virtually and you’ll find like-minded ‘colleagues’ to swap ideas and chat through any challenges.
- Boost your energy
Find healthy ways to give yourself a boost in energy. At home you have the freedom that is lacking in an office to arrange your day in a way that works best for you. If a mid-morning jog helps to blow the cobwebs away, then schedule it in. Take hourly breaks to stretch it out or have a cup of coffee for an energy-giving break. If your energy drops, you tend to lose focus and can end up wasting hours.
- Set up a proper ‘office’ area
Invest in a proper desk and chair. Set your computer and phone up as you would in an office and dedicate the space to your job. It can be tempting to work from the sofa, but not only does this fail to boost energy levels, it can also play havoc with your posture.
- Slow down to speed up
It’s extremely tempting for many entrepreneurs who work from home to double their normal hours. However, by always pushing yourself to do more, the likelihood is you’ll burn out, and achieve less. Research shows that people who can slow it right down are the ones who achieve more in the long run, as they are always working at their peak level.
James Turner, Managing Director of Turner Little Limited, says: “The research from Barclays shows that there are undoubted benefits to running your business from home. With the sector increasing in number year-on-year, it’s important that people consider all of the challenges working in this way presents.
“Many entrepreneurs who work from home are happy and motivated, but for those who struggle with motivation, it can be difficult. Building up a support network is important, and this is now easier than ever to do thanks to our connected digital world. Being in touch and working alongside other likeminded people, if only virtually, can help to boost motivation levels better than anything else.
“Working from home is more viable than it has been thanks to the Internet, and a changing view of the way we live and work. We can expect to see more people choosing this way, not only for the clear financial benefits, but also for a more balanced lifestyle on their own terms.”
About Turner Little
Founded in 1998 in Yorkshire, UK, Turner Little is a specialist UK and offshore company formation, banking and corporate services provider. Our services include company formation, UK and offshore banking, asset protection, credit correction, trademarking and trusts. Other services include Internet services, mail forwarding, wills and probate. Turner Little’s vision is to offer the best possible service, together with market leading products.