Setting your own schedule, turning up to work in your PJs – it’s the ultimate dream job, with working from home becoming an increasingly popular and possible reality for many Australian small businesses. But if you’re looking to turn the dining table into your own personal office front, here are five things you need to know about working from home.
Set a schedule
If your workplace is your own home it’s easy to let the work-life balance fall out of kilter in one way or another. The washing will be calling you while you’re working, the BAS statements while you’re playing with the kids, which is why it’s vital to set a schedule and stick to it.
The benefit of working from home and being your own boss is that this schedule can be devised around your lifestyle. But regardless of whether you rise at 4am to do some work in the morning or work from 9am to 4pm while the kids are at school, ensure you set aside hours just for work, and knock off when you’re done.
Make a space
The best way to ensure you work efficiently is to devise a specific space. We joked about the dining table, but in reality it’s much better to have a quiet area designated as your workspace where you routinely go just to work.
This is an area where you can lay out any necessary paperwork and access a computer or phone in a space that won’t be littered by Johnny’s readers, Jill’s science homework, and your husband’s tax return. In larger businesses it might also be a separate area where you can meet clients.
Have a plan
Working from home is no less a small business than having a shop front, so think of it accordingly. Any small business should include a business plan to map out where you want to go, and how you intend to cope with expansion. It will also tell you if your home-based enterprise is meeting your goals, and the strategies you need to take embrace to make this a viable business.
Dot the i’s
Regardless of where you are based, tax obligations, paperwork and insurance need to be catered for. Just because you can attend work in your PJs, doesn’t mean you should let the red tape lapse. That means registering your place of business, completing necessary financial returns like BAS, insuring your workplace, and also contributing to your superannuation. On a side note remember there are also tax breaks when it comes to using your home as your office, so use them.
One of the greatest challenges to a small business operating from home is networking, so devise strategies to ensure you’re mixing with people and possible clientele in your field. That can be as simple as joining the local Chamber of Commerce or going online to actively meet others in your profession.
Running a small business from home is a trend increasing in Australia as technology enables us to operate from anywhere. With commitment, strategies and networking, it can also be a great way to achieve that all-important work-life balance in the environment of your choosing.