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On working from home

August 13, 2013


I’d like to share with you a secret about what happens when I work from home… I work.  From home.

People often ask me if I can work at home.  I think they ask me this because they can’t, because when they ‘work from home’ because ‘the gas man is coming’ they are actually arsing around and don’t get much done.

I do get that.  I actively chose not to work from home in all of my other jobs because I thought I needed the discipline of getting up and going out.  So when I started self employment I was unsure if I’d be able to do it.  I set up an office in my spare room and I thought I’d try that out to see if I could work there, otherwise I thought I might rent a desk in a shared office in town.  As it turns out there was no need.  I have no problem working from home.  Otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

See I’m not just ‘working from home’ as a bit of a skive.

I am running a business.  And I take this very seriously.  I am not working from home as an easy option, it is a business decision.  Working from home means I don’t need to pay any rental on office space, which means that I have fewer outgoings and liabilities, which means I can charge my clients less.  With charity clients and in this economy that is a good thing.  It makes my prices more competitive and my business more sustainable.

And whilst I am running this business I have things I need to do and clients I need to please and deadlines I need to meet.  When I’m not servicing client contracts I need to be working on new business development and marketing.  If I don’t do all of this, I don’t get any income.  Yes.  None.

I’m not on a salary.  If I don’t work I don’t get any money at all.

But what of the flexibility that working from home affords?   Am I not constantly led into temptation?  Well yes I work flexibly to suit my working style.  But 90% of the time this results in my actually doing a fairly standard working day.  Give or take half an hour at either end I generally start at 10am and work solidly until 1pm, then I watch TV – often a business programme like Hotel Inspector or something about social issues – then I work solidly from 2pm until 6pm.  Then I go for a swim.  It makes a massive difference to me to be able to start a bit later and I am at my most productive late afternoon.  None of my previous jobs have accommodated this too well, so it is lovely to have that flexibility.  But I do work solidly.  I don’t break the time with TV or cleaning or cooking or putting the washing on.  I sit at my desk and I work.  Occasionally I vary things but that is pretty much always for convenience  – for example if I’m already out at a meeting I might have a swim or get my groceries or even have a haircut, but then I’ll probably extend the working day a bit later to compensate.  Fair enough I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck telling me to get back to my desk, but I do prefer not to be taking three-hour long lunches and bunking off for no good reason.  I have things to do.

As a lifestyle entrepreneur I’m not looking to work 24/7 but I am looking to do a standard working week / year as I have in all of my other jobs.  And having been working as a consultant for eleven years I do have a feel for how much I should be able to get done.  I do believe that I should be able to run a successful consultancy business within those time boundaries.

This is my business – I want to do it properly and I want to earn sufficient income to keep myself.  This doesn’t just happen around me, I have to make it happen myself.  So when I’m ‘working from home’ I need to actually work.  And I love my job, so why wouldn’t I?





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