By Rhonda Campbell
Self-Employed Workers Aren’t the Only Professionals Working from Home
Nearly 14.5 million people were self-employed as of August 2011. Although the numbers represent a decrease from the 16.6 million people who were self-employed at the close of 2006, it’s clear that Americans continue to have an appetite for managing their own home-based enterprises, whether those enterprises are one-woman shops or employ a dozen or more employees.
However, self-employed workers aren’t the only professionals completing job assignments from home. Employees who work part-time or full-time at public and privately owned companies are also powering up their computers, logging into secure platforms and working from home. The ability to control one’s own schedule, opportunities to run errands during the daytime as needed and reduction in commuter costs are some of the rewards gained by employees and independent contractors when they work from home.
Yet, working from home has its unique set of challenges (and rewards). For example, it’s easy to spend the workday running errands (e.g. going to the bank, grocery shopping, dropping clothes off at the cleaners) to the point where you, as a creative business leader, may feel like you’re spending evening hours working. Before long, you may start to feel like all you’re doing is running errands and working. Another challenge you may experience as a creative business leader working from home comes in the form of interruptions.
Succeed Working from Home as a Creative Business Leader
Family members, friends and colleagues from previous companies where you worked may call during the day, thinking you have nothing except free time on your hands. It’s up to you to let them know you’re actually working. After all, the only difference between a home office and an office space you rent away from home is just that – the location. You still have to market, promote, connect with customers and complete innovative projects.
Steps you can take to succeed working from home as a creative business leader include:
- Ask family and friends to limit their telephone calls during your work hours to emergency situations (which you’ll hopefully have none of)
- Start work at the same time every day (yeah, that might mean you no longer sleep pass 9 o’clock)
- Wrap up the work day about 10 minutes before you turn off your computer, giving yourself to answer last minutes business emails, etc.
- Schedule specific days to be active on social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Posterous)
- Consider listening to a favorite online radio station as you work to keep from feeling disengaged and isolated
- Purchase sufficient office equipment (e.g. copier, telephone, computer or laptop, lighting, file cabinets) to conduct your work
- Purchase enough office supplies (e.g. copy paper, stapler and staples, file folders) to avoid having to stop working and drive to the nearest office supply store to get what you need
- Decorate your office with family pictures, plants and trinkets the same as you would if you were working outside your home
- Consider joining professional associations that support creative business leaders and self-employed workers (e.g. National Association for the Self-Employed, National Business Association)
- Enroll in free or low-cost courses so you can continue to grow and learn
- Practice strong project and time management skills, do what you say you will, when you say you will (remember this is your career)
- Stay open to working a few days a month away from home at a location that has WiFi access
- Keep detailed records of all expenses and payments received (e.g. post office receipts, credit card business purchases, health insurance payments, business mileage)
- If you work for an employer as a telecommuter, connect with your manager/supervisor and colleagues several times a week
- As a telecommuter working for an employer, you may find it beneficial to drive into the office twice a month to strengthen relationships with colleagues, supervisors and managers (remember this is your career)
To succeed while working from home it’s important that you have time and project management skills. You can also increase your work output if you identify a room at your home where you’ll complete assignments and projects. You’re encouraged to choose a location that’s good for your back and overall physical structure. The living room sofa might feel soft and cozy, but over time, it could wear at your back. It also helps to set and stick to a schedule as to when you’ll start and finish work. Keep in mind that sticking to a work schedule can help send the message to your family members that you “really” are at work even if you’re still at home.
Get into Spiral online at: https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000000841/Spiral.html
Check out Long Walk Up online at: https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000000531/Long-Walk-Up.html