Creating a Successful Home Office -Part 1
8 Million People Work At Home
Over the past 10-15 years the number of home-based workers has increased exponentially.
There are 2 types of home workers; (1) those employed for corporations and working at home often called “tele-commuters”, and (2) business owners and the self employed.
According to recently released data from the US Census (2018), 5.2% of workers in the US worked at home in 2017. That’s 8 million people!
The rise has been aided by improved internet connectivity and the demand for more flexible work environments. In fact, the number of employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40% in the past 5 years. The number of regular telecommuting employees (excluding the self-employed population) has grown by 115% since 2005.
The same study showed that two-thirds of managers report that employees who work from home have increased overall productivity.
What’s more-, 86% of employees say they’re most productive when they work alone at home as it is devoid of distractions like the noise, the water cooler gossip, loud colleagues or meetings that are a waste of time.
Sixty-eight percent of millennials say that the option to work at home significantly increases the value of a position and would greatly influence their desire to work for a particular company.
I do a lot of work in the franchise industry and home-based concepts are enjoying a growth spurt of enormous proportions. There is a home business for every skill you can think of from financial services to home cleaning, to décor, coaching and consulting, and literally hundreds more. A large proportion of home-based workers are women.
I have had a home-based office for nearly 20 years, and I must admit I love it. Many people who work in conventional offices comment on how lucky I am and that they too wish they could work from home. But, having a successful home office is a challenge and must be worked at.
Self Discipline Is Key
A home-based office is a wonderful place to work and can extremely lucrative provided you have the self discipline to manage one. Discipline is the key to success. You must still have a “work routine” even though you are not in an external office.
This means getting up every morning at the same time and getting dressed “for work”. It is not a license to get up late and work in pajamas. Your clothes have a large emotional and psychological impact on your productivity. When you are dressed for work you feel more professional. You do not need to be dressed to the nines, casual Friday attire is acceptable. You should be appropriately dressed so that if someone wants to meet you at the last minute, that you would be able to go out with some small changes or as dressed.
It also means that you do not do any chores such as laundry or cooking during working hours. You would not have this luxury in an external office so why would you at home?
Working hours are for business only- otherwise the day is a blend of personal and business tasks and nothing really gets done well. When work gets mixed with chores, the days blend into one another and people wonder why they are not productive or generating enough revenue.
This takes a high degree of discipline and commitment. It is essential to treat your home office in the same way you would treat an external office.
A home office is a professional space dedicated solely to work. It is not a corner of your dining room table but a distinct space that is equipped and organized like an external office. Ideally it’s a separate room, or a secluded space where screens can be used to delineate the office boundaries.
The next essential task is to develop habits that signify the beginning and end of the work day. I come to work in the morning and my day begins when I open the lights in my office. I am now at work.
At the end of the day, I close the lights and “leave” my office. It is only at this time will I do errands or chores.
You must develop some meaningful action, such as closing your computer or turning off the ringer on the phone, to signify that the work day is over. This is essential so that your working hours are more productive and when you leave the office your time is your own and you can enjoy it without guilt.
Days of the week will become meaningful and you will enjoy a balanced quality of life. While it may sound silly- I only wear jewelry on work days. For me, putting on and taking off my jewelry signifies the beginning and the end of the work day and differentiates work from play time.
No Better Place to Work
The reason people fail to be successful in a home office is because:
(1) they do not treat their home office with the same respect as an external one and/or
(2) they lack the self discipline required to create and maintain routines and structure.
It is critical to maintain a normal workday morning routine as discussed above.
Respect and discipline are the keys to home office success. There is a misconception that home businesses make less money and are small business. That could not be further than the truth. However, like any business it depends on the efforts of the owner.
Working from home actually adds challenges. But if you have the skills to meet them, there is no better place in the world to work.
In Part 2 we will discuss how to set up your home office for success.
Your Home Office
How do you make your home office a success? Share your ideas and comments below.
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