Working from home can have cost-savings advantages and certainly makes sense for a lot of start-up businesses. Here are some guidelines to ensure working from home will increase the odds of running a successful business:
Start working at the same time each day. Studies show that people who are consistent with the time when they wake up and start work are more productive. It may seem comforting that you can go to work in your pajamas but there is something to be said about changing into work clothes. Someone I knew who worked from home would begin his day by changing into his business clothes, grabbing a coffee from the nearest coffee shop, and returning home to begin working. The morning is a productive time of the day. When I was in sales, for every two clients I reached in the morning, I would reach only one in the afternoon.
Set clear boundaries. When people call to chat, because they know you’re at home, tell them you’re working and you need to get back to a project, but that you would be happy to talk to them in the evening or weekend etc. When you set boundaries and let others know they will begin to take you seriously.
Multitasking is a fool’s game. Don’t get tempted to do household chores while doing business. It may seem like it is more efficient but in his book, Brain Rules, molecular biologist John Medina notes that multitaskers experience a 40 percent drop in productivity across the board. In addition, they also take 50 percent longer to accomplish a single task and make up to 50 percent more errors.
Get out and meet people regularly. Many entrepreneurs don’t realize how isolating it can be to start their own business. Set up regular appointments to meet people for lunch, network in the evenings, join an association or go out and meet someone for coffee. If you‘re an extrovert this will be particularly important to you and if you’re an introvert this will help you break your comfort zone in a way that can help your business grow.
Create a proper workspace. Have a separate office area. During the day you can have a messy desk and a stack full of paper but once the day is finished put everything away. Not only will you be better organized but psychologically your mind and body will know you are no longer in work mode.
Working from home can be particularly rewarding when you put the proper measures in place. Disciplined flexibility may seem like a contradiction but it just means you value your time and so does your business.
By Dominik Loncar, CYBF Entrepreneur-in-Residence, email@example.com