You can pick your hours, there’s tea on tap, the commute’s a doddle –and you’re the boss! It sounds idyllic, but working from home is about more than loafing around in your PJs all day. Here are a few things to consider…
1. You might get more than you bargained for
As well as working you will be responsible for: the school run, the cleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking, bills, homework, after-school clubs, packed lunches and other assorted duties. Because after all, you’re at home all day, right? Make sure friends and family know you’re actually working, and delegate chores wherever possible.
2. You’ll need childcare
Working from home can seem like the answer to your childcare prayers if you can work around school hours. But just as you’re congratulating yourself along come the holidays – just in time for that important deadline. So unless you can work until midnight, you’ll need a contingency plan that doesn’t involve CBeebies. Find out how to cut the cost of childcare.
3. You’ll take your work home with you
Checking your email every five minutes? It’s all too easy to let work creep into your home life, so it’s important to draw a line between the two. First, create a dedicated workspace that you can shut down when the day is done. Close the door to your ‘office’ or switch off your computer or phone – whatever says “it’s home time now”.
4. You’ll need willpower…
It’s amazing how much you can find to do around the house when there’s a deadline looming – and that’s without the lure of Loose Women. You’ll need to stay focused if you want to get things done, so start work on time and set regular hours that you stick to. And yes, you could stay in your pyjamas all day, but you’ll be more motivated if you dress for work.
5. But you’ll also need a break
Once you do get going, don’t be too hard on yourself. Take regular breaks, and go for a walk around the block to get some fresh air. Resist the urge to work long into the night – if you’re tired it will just take twice as long.
6. You’ll spend as much time chasing work as doing it
Chasing work is part and parcel of being your own boss. Getting the job done is one thing. Finding it is another, and when you’re done you’ll need to spend more time chasing payment, so be ready for it and set aside some time for general admin tasks.
7. There’s no back-up
You’re just about to hit send when your computer gives a little sigh and the lights go out. Remember you are the IT helpdesk, so it’s worth investing in decent equipment and some good anti-virus software.
8. The buck stops with you
You’re finally free to work however you choose, with no one breathing down your neck. The downside is there’s no one to blame but you if it all goes wrong, so make sure you seek proper advice for the big decisions.
9. It’s boring
Office politics are one thing you won’t miss, but you might find yourself yearning for a bit of banter. If you’re sick of the sound of your own voice, head to a café with WiFi, or rent an office space you can share with like-minded people to bounce ideas off.
10. You’ll gain 5lb
If you work anywhere near the kitchen (and even if you don’t ) the lure of a well-stocked fridge can be deadly. Take regular exercise (your workout doesn't have to be long or expensive!), eat a proper lunch, and if you must snack, keep a stash of dried or fresh fruit to nibble on.