The advent of the internet has spawned a whole host of modern businesses, the demands of which are no longer restricted to the boundaries of the office. For tiny startups with only one or two employees, this makes perfect sense.
With the introduction of flexitime, the development of communication tools such as Skype, and the understanding that digital business can effectively be conducted from anywhere in the world, more entrepreneurs are working from home than ever before: a home office drastically cuts down on the overheads of a bricks-and-mortar workspace, and allows for much more flexibility with hours and working habits than a traditional office workspace.
Additionally, larger digital businesses may find it beneficial to allow their employees to work from home on occasion: for example, commuting might make it impossible for some employees to come in on time if they have a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment, so working from home allows them to work their scheduled number of hours without having to take holiday or sick leave.
However, while the work-from-home approach has many positives, it also has its own share of downsides, too: outside of the office environment your productivity may suffer, and working alone for a prolonged period of time may leave you feeling isolated. Additionally, the distinctions between breaks and work time may become blurred, leaving you feeling that you need to continue working for longer to compensate.
These issues can make working from away from your desk disheartening, so here are some suggestions for how to deal with some of the disadvantages of working from home.
While it’s true that you’re no longer distracted from your colleagues in the office, those based at home arguably have even more potential diversions to deal with. Working from home can lead many people’s personal and professional lives to interlock more than they would wish. Creating and sticking to a schedule is an important part of avoiding this. Try to treat your day like a regular office work-day and eliminate any potential distractions around you by setting up your own home office. This will give you a place to focus on your work and help you more effectively strike the right balance.
A company without an appropriate business address runs the risk of appearing unprofessional or amateurish. This doesn’t mean that you have to shell out on an expensive office suite that you can’t afford though. You can instead take advantage of virtual office providers. Not only is this an ideal way to make your business stand out with a prestigious address, but many virtual office providers also offer a host of other features, too, such as mail forwarding, a professional answering service, and the opportunity to rent high-quality facilities by the hour should you need a physical space.
Networking is a crucial part of our business lives. Creating contacts can not only help us learn more about our industry, but, when the going gets tough, a connection could offer an opportunity out of an otherwise precarious situation. Many people no longer working in the office can find it difficult to successfully network because there isn’t the opportunity to speak with visitors face to face. Online platforms like LinkedIn, though, provide a great way to advertise your resume and get in contact with others who’d you’d like to collaborate with.
Many people who’ve never worked from home get the impression it’s a free ride. All they see are the positives while neglecting to mention the other attributes. Fortunately, it’s possible to combat many of the drawbacks by planning ahead. Stay focused on your goal and you’ll be fine.