How to make working from home work for your small business

pixabay - free imageBy Zoe Clark

Lots of people now decide to start their own businesses and run away from corporate 9 to 5 jobs. Many successful startups and most of the entrepreneurs who stand behind them started working on their projects from their own homes. This is probably the least expensive way to start your business, and although some people don’t consider home to be the perfect working environment, with some good adjustments it can be a very productive place to work.

Always stick to your schedule

When you start working from home, always make a schedule. People who switch from 9 to 5 jobs usually decide to spend the same amount of time per day on working from home as they did while being in the office. Soon enough, most home-workers start dodging their duties, and replacing them with much more fun and relaxing activities. Making coffee or a half an hour pause is perfectly acceptable, but dodging your work so you can play PS or to watch TV is definitely not going to make your business prosper.

Give your home working space an office appeal

If you want your business to be more successful, the part of your home that serves as an office should give off that kind of feeling. This way you’ll clearly separate your working space from all the pleasures your home is offering, including TV, fridge, and everything else that looks much more appealing. If you’re going to welcome clients in this home-office, you should make it even more professional by installing a reception desk and reception chairs for your clients to sit on while waiting. If feasible, it’s also desirable to make a separate entrance to your office from the outside to be used by your clients only.

Keep in touch with your co-workers

Today there are plenty inexpensive tools that can connect you with your co-workers. Some of these tools can also be used for exchanging documents, project management, group chats etc. One of the biggest advantages of an office work is that all team members are in one or several rooms and they are easily accessible to their bosses or office mates. When working from home this is usually not the case, but with all the new tech apps like: Basecamp, Sqwiggle, Asana and hundreds of others you can always ask you colleague for some advice or clarification and run a highly effective team.

Stay out from the kitchen during work hours

For most people one of the biggest advantages of running a small business from home is that they can cook or eat food while working. First thing you should know when trying to attack the fridge between the conference call and several hours long work in Excel is that office snacks are the worst enemy of your health, your looks, and your work productivity. Occasional snacks are going to divert your attention away from work and this can’t be good for your business. You’re also going to lose the discipline, which is very important when there’s no boss around and the decision on how long you’re going to work each day is on you. Without discipline you’ll start down that slippery slope; one day you’re just going to take a few bites from last night’s lasagna leftovers and tomorrow you’re going to prepare new lasagna, and eat it in front of TV, during your work hours.

Pretend you’re in the office

Your business partners don’t need to know you are working from home. For them this may sound a little bit unprofessional and that’s why you shouldn’t brag about this when visiting various conferences and seminars. If you have a conference call at home, it would be advisable to buy a noise-cancelling headset with a mute button, so your conversation doesn’t get interrupted by the doorbell, or police sirens. People like success and since some parts of the business world are a little bit conservative, success is still measured by the size of your office and a number of secretaries you have. That’s why it is important to give your workspace an office appeal and to call it like that when meeting your business partners.

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Zoe Clark - photoZoe Clark is a work-at-home mom and a house decorator from a land down under. Her family fuels her passion and inspires her daily. You can find her blogging at Smooth decorator.

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