The home business lifestyle sounds wonderful to so many of us. Flexibility to take a day off whenever we want, working from coffee shops or sitting in the glorious British sunshine and meeting with clients – it all sounds so perfect.
The reality is often quite different. Many small business owners find themselves working far longer hours, with the divide between work and home life blurred. You may have chosen to be your own boss for the flexibility, but it’s still important to set aside work when the family come home.
Many of us don’t have the space in the home to have a separate office. Even if you set aside a small space in the living room, or under the stairs, for your desk, your work often overflows into the family living areas. Boxes of stock, paperwork, filing cabinets, samples – whatever type of business you are in, there’s always some sort of clutter that gradually infiltrate throughout your home.
Working from home can affect your health.
Overlapping home and work life so much can seriously affect stress levels and affect your health and wellbeing. You are more likely to pick up calls and emails outside of your work hours. Even when you put your work down, it’s visible in the home, causing your mind to dwell on and worry about work issues.
Stress can lead to time off work, making mistakes, depression and anxiety. Not only do these affect your business, but impact on your personal life and family as well. The more you worry about your work, the harder it will become to focus and get it done.
Tips for improving your work life balance
Set work hours
You may have chosen to work from home so that you can juggle your family commitments better – particularly coping with childcare. It’s still a good idea to set work hours, and manage the family’s expectations by clearly outlining the time you will finish and be free to focus on them.
Your initial image of working from home might be sitting at your laptop in bed, or answering calls in your pyjamas. Getting washed and dressed, ready for the work day, will actually make you feel more focused and productive.
Create a work space
Set aside a desk or table where you can sit and work everyday – preferably out of sight, or with your back to piles of housework and mess that can distract you. Working from home provides plenty of opportunity for procrastination – leaving you frustrated that the work hasn’t been completed.
Paperwork, emails and telephone calls can be managed with limited space. But if you do find boxes of stock filling your corridors, then consider self storage. With a little organisation you can manage the office from home, with regular time set aside to visit your storage unit for packaging and posting trips. It’s also a good place to keep old records that must be kept but aren’t needed on a daily basis, leaving you more room in your home.
Get out and about
Becoming lonely and isolated is another effect of working from home that can cause low moods. Try attending local networking meetings. Not only will you meet other solo workers in the same position and perhaps boost your business with great contacts – it’s good for your mood as well.
Although we can’t organise your work life for you, our storage units are perfect for helping small businesses grow. If you would like to talk about cost effective space, call us on 0121 250 5055 or email