When you start a business, it’s sometimes tempting to rent premises of some kind, especially if you need to see clients face to face.
There is another option, one that isn’t a huge drain on your finances and often makes much more sense for small business owners: Working From Home!
With the infinite powers of the internet, the efficiency of phone and email – and adopting a willingness to visit your clients for appointments (rather than asking them to come to you), working from home is often the most sensible and most profitable option. You have no major expenses plus you can claim many deductions on your tax return. (Read our sister company, Etax Accountants’, blogs on this subject to find out more.)
The downside of working from home, for some, is a lack of productivity. When you go to work, the time you are there is your time to work and be productive. If you’re working from home, the lines between work and life can often become blurred and your productivity suffers.
We’ve collaborated with our many clients and Members who work from home to come up with some suggestions to help other home based businesses stay productive.
So how do you improve your productivity when working from home?
- Create a designated workspace or office: Simply having a laptop on the kitchen table or living room, close to your X-Box, fridge, kettle, washing machine or TV, will not help your productivity. Take this seriously and create a designated room, space or office at your home away from distractions.
- Structure your day: When you enter your workspace, you should be working! Even if you aren’t doing an eight hour day, try to set the same hours each day for working – For example 9am – 1pm. When your work pattern becomes your daily habit, it is easier to be productive.
- Set certain times to do certain tasks: For example, check and action your business related emails first thing in the morning. Follow this up by making the phone calls you have to make that day. Pay your invoices and update your records on designated days of the week and, although it’s not always possible, aim to schedule appointments with clients together. Structuring your time when you’re working from home is the best way to keep everything up to date and helps your business run more efficiently.
- Tell friends, family and neighbours your unavailable during work hours: This one seems simple, but what if you’re a parent? Firstly, remind school age children that when you are in your workspace, you are working and should only be interrupted when absolutely necessary. Obviously, younger children can’t be left alone when you’re working from home, so organising some kind of child care is advisable, even if it’s just for a couple of hours while you make client phone calls etc. There is nothing worse (from a client’s point of view) than trying to discuss business with someone who has screaming children in the background! This is also incredibly bad for your ‘professional’ image.
- BEWARE THE INTERNET: When you’re working at home, it’s easy to get sucked into many hours on the internet each day. Clearly you’ll still need to use the Internet to do research, seek out leads and of course you check your emails, but if you aren’t careful you can lose hours of your day surfing and social networking. That is simply a hindrance to your business. During your work hours, be careful to use the internet only for specific work related tasks – this will make your days MUCH more satisfying and productive.
Overcoming the main working at home productivity issues will help you get ahead and stay ahead with your small business.
It is after all THE most cost effective way to start and run a small business in the early stages – plus, as Etax outlines in their blogs – working at home can help you to considerably reduce your tax bills.
Do you have trouble staying motivated while working at home? Read this blog by Business Insider for a few tips! How to stay motivated while working at home
The team at Etax Local can also advise you on the tax implications of working at home versus renting out an office or business premises. To learn more, give us a call on 1300 174 689 or fill out the form over on our contact page.