Working from home about business lifestyle
Some entrepreneurs start their businesses by working from home while others choose to remain there. Working from home isn’t so much an economic necessity today but rather a choice an entrepreneur makes in an effort to create their ideal business lifestyle.
And with good reason – working from home offers many advantages:
• Balance family, household and work responsibilities.
• Cut (or eliminate) commutes.
• Reduce expenses for office space, business meetings, meals and wardrobe.
Working from home should enable you to achieve an optimal mix of business and personal priorities, work habits and communications. Play with these ingredients to find your ideal business lifestyle.
Start with an assessment of your priorities both business and personal.
Business priorities will be easily identified within your Business Plan. They include your strategic objectives and goals for your business. For example, one goal might be to secure three new corporate customers during the next year.
Personal priorities are often overshadowed by business ones. Give them the light they deserve by making a simple list of the ones you’d like to incorporate into your business lifestyle. Some examples:
• Volunteering one afternoon at your child’s school.
• Being accessible to aging parents who increasingly need assistance.
• Training for a half-marathon challenge.
With all of your priorities laid out on the table you’re ready to design a work day that supports them. Schedule in your personal and business priorities and let all other work fall around them. Defend your commitment to these priorities by refusing to move or remove them on your calendar.
Take an honest look at your work routines to determine where and when you do your best work.
Some people need a proper office space to work efficiently and elect to set up a home work suite. Others are quite comfortable working from their kitchen table or the neighbourhood coffee shop.
Pay attention to your technology preferences, too. Are you more likely to use your mobile device to handle a majority of your tasks? Or, do you prefer to conduct important business from your desk? Honouring the way you prefer to work is another business lifestyle perk.
Next, assess when you work your best. It may not be during the usual 9 to 5 workday. You might be a night owl, preferring to crank out the important work while your family sleeps. Or, you may discover that you work best during two-hour stretches of uninterrupted focus time peppered throughout the day. Pay attention to biorhythms too, so you can design your day to capitalize on periods of peak energy.
Communication choices can influence the success of your business lifestyle. Too much business communication will interfere with your ability to fulfill your personal priorities. Too little communication may prevent you from reaching your business goals.
• For example, a friend of mine who owns a very successful Internet company answers emails and calls for one hour a day. From 10 to 11 a.m. each morning, he will efficiently reply to emails and calls and place a few of his own. His customers, employees and suppliers know about this policy and expect to hear from him during that window of time. It’s a communications policy that serves him well because he gets to complete his work on his terms.
Take a look at communications from two perspectives: how others want to connect with you and how you want to connect with others. All the while looking for efficiencies in the way you communicate. Can you:
• Batch similar communications (like email)
• Schedule communications (e.g. Monday morning half-hour updates with key customers)
• Eliminate unnecessary communications (video conference instead of face-to-face meetings).
Similarly, decide where you like to communicate and factor that into your lifestyle design. For example, I keep a separate office in downtown Toronto because I prefer to hold business meetings and conduct important calls away from my home office. I split my time between that location and my home office.
Achieving your ideal business lifestyle will take some time. Along the way you’ll struggle against ingrained habits, notions and attitudes – yours and others! Try your new business lifestyle for one month and revise as necessary.
Your efforts will be rewarded with the kind of self-assured work-life balance others only dream about.
What’s your preferred business lifestyle, and how have you achieved it? Please share your thoughts below.
By Roger Pierce