I’m Andy Britnell’s partner, Judy Heminsley, and I work from home with Andy, running his training and coaching practice. In fact I’ve worked from home for almost 20 years, in both a self-employed capacity and as an employee. I set up, ran and sold on a highly profitable cleaning business from my back bedroom and then used my experience to work as a business adviser with micro businesses.
I believe strongly that working from home provides a happier, healthier way to live, and I enjoy helping people to tailor working from home to suit their personality, occupation and family life.
My bookWork from Home, a practical, down-to-earth guide to getting the best from living and working in one place, was published in April 2009 by How To Books.
Working from home is sometimes seen as a panacea for all kinds of ills and can become a bit of a pipe dream, much like moving to the country or to a warmer climate. The truth of course is much more complicated than that and homeworking has its own challenges, just as ‘going out’ to work has its disadvantages. Here are some key points about homeworking to bear in mind if you are thinking of embarking on it full or part-time:
1. Self–understanding is the key to happy homeworking. If you are aware of your natural strengths, abilities and personality traits you are much better able to tailor working from home to be a productive and enjoyable experience. Those who are open to learning about themselves and adapting their behaviour accordingly will get much more from working from home.
2. There is no ‘right’ way. I have met hundreds of homeworkers while working as a business adviser and I interviewed about 50 while researching my book. It became evident that different people react to similar situations in very different ways. What works for your friend may be a nightmare for you, so you need to have the confidence to find your own solutions.
3. Working from home can be hard. All the homeworkers I have spoken to mentioned challenges such as working alone or finding a balance between working and family life. But the great thing about working at home is that you are in control and you can organise your life to suit your personal circumstances, without deference to a boss or colleagues. You can weave your working and personal lives together throughout the day, in the way that best suits you.
4. It’s entirely your responsibility to organise regular human contact. Isolation is the biggest bugbear of working from home, and being on your own day after day is disastrous for motivation and productivity. The good news is that you are free to get out and see people whenever you choose, so you can meet a friend for coffee without feeling guilty and then catch up with work later.
5. Working from home requires adaptability. Consistency is a quality highly valued in our society but in fact we all change all the time, as do our circumstances. Working from home allows you to accommodate personal change and to actively initiate it, without seeking permission from others.
6. You’ll get back what you put in. Starting to work from home is a major life change and that means it might take some time to fine-tune. Stick with it, be patient with yourself and your family, make adjustments as you go and your whole life will benefit.
I’m a firm believer in the advantages of working from home and I also know that it requires a realistic approach. Don’t be swept up by the dream of sitting on a white sofa, tapping idly on the laptop, which tends to be the media image of homeworking, and equally, don’t be put off by people who talk disparagingly about watching daytime TV in your pyjamas – take a good look at the facts and you will give yourself a headstart. Happy homeworking!
Visit the Work from Home Wisdom website and have a look at: