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Share tips on working from home with Direct Line for Business – win £300 voucher! NOW CLOSED

(191 Posts)
RebeccaEMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 10-Jun-16 13:10:07

Whether you run your own business or work for an organisation, working from home can sound like a dream. Without being tied down to a traditional office or workspace, benefits of home working can include a non-existent commute, a better work-life balance and the ability to be closer to your family.

However, working from home comes with its own challenges, and Direct Line for Business want to hear your tips on how to make it work for you. How do you separate your work from family life when you’re based at home? Do you stick to a strict daily work schedule, or have a dedicated ‘office’ space?

We’re also interested to hear from Mumsnetters who run (or are thinking about running) their own businesses from home. What were/ are your main considerations when starting up a company from your spare room?

Whatever your tip on working from home, Direct Line for Business want to hear it.

Everyone who posts a tip on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 Love2Shop voucher.

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CombineBananaFister Fri 10-Jun-16 17:14:49

Do a schedule - its easy to be distracted when surrounded by creature comforts so do a rota with timings for your work/breaks and stick to it
Get an answerphone, -then you can reply all at once to calls/enquiries rather than stop/start and affect your workflow
Declutter your 'workspace' the less personal it is the less distrated and the more you'll feel like you're at work
Don't stay in your pjs - get dressed and in the mindset to do some work with what you're wearing. Don't mean a suit, still something comfy.
Make sure everyone understands you are WORKING when at home and not up for interuption. Put up a list of what £s you've made and translate it into what treats/classes that pays for to get younger ones to understand how important it is and what it means to them.

CombineBananaFister Fri 10-Jun-16 17:16:22

*ohh forgot to say, have a finish time and stick to it so work does not encroach on family time

CordeliaScott Fri 10-Jun-16 23:08:29

Have an office or area specifically for work purposes, it helps to put you in a working frame of mind. Work the hours that suit you even if that's not necessarily 9-5

MarkRuffaloCrumble Fri 10-Jun-16 23:27:18

Yes, definitely a separate office. I used to work on my kitchen table and had to clear it all away every meal time and was always surrounded by work. Now I can shut the door on it (& keep the kids cat off my work!)

I'm a terrible one for getting distracted or making tea when I should be working. Giving myself a goal (I'll just work for another hour until 11.30 then make a brew) means I do actually get some work done.

My DCs moan that I'm always working, but they don't realise that the alternative is getting a job out of the house and them going to after school club, so they still wouldn't have my undivided attention.

Top tip to myself put down the phone occasionally and interact with them!

catgirl2 Sat 11-Jun-16 08:26:18

Make sure you actually leave the house at some point! For a walk, run, whatever. You need the fresh air. If possible try to work away from any chill out spaces. Make the most of having the opportunity to eat homemade lunches. Ensure any noisy pets are out of the way when on calls!!

Rigbyroo Sat 11-Jun-16 10:21:33

Have your own dedicated work area and schedule in everything, even a cuppa!

voyager50 Sat 11-Jun-16 23:36:23

Have a set schedule and a dedicated place to work .

If you are working at home with little ones around, if you can afford it get a childminder to look after them for one day a week so you can focus a bit more on at least one day.

If you are able to, take a laptop to a local cafe for an hour or two once or twice a week so you are not completely socially isolated if you are working whilst the kids are at school.

Make sure older children know what times you are working and ask them not to interupt you when you are are in your 'office' unless it's an emergency but make sure you then know what time you will be free to spend with them too.

CopperPan Sun 12-Jun-16 01:20:31

I'm not lucky enough to have a dedicated spare room to work at home, but I set aside an office space in my living room and used dividers to keep it separate from the main area. I also keep a separate cheap mobile for work and just use that during working hours - my personal phone is left out of sight so I won't get distracted by texts/calls etc.

ThemisA Sun 12-Jun-16 06:50:01

I am lucky to have my own office (children often use it for homework too) but if that isn't possible a designated decent desk is essential. Keep your space organised with pen pots, shelves, good lamp etc. I have a small tray with tea/coffee making and a jug of milk to keep me at my desk. I ignore my phone, head down. I pace and talk out loud if I need thinking time and I still use paper and pen to note thoughts as much as my laptop. I use a large monitor if I am dealing with figures and charts and have short breaks throughout the day when I do domestic chores really fast!

jrobbs Sun 12-Jun-16 07:23:38

I've found that I am more productive in the afternoon, and am lucky to have some flexibility around my working hours. I would therefore, suggest that you acknowledge when you are likely to be able to work and base your hours around that time rather than adhere to the traditional office hours.

glenka Sun 12-Jun-16 07:41:37

Try and have an area that is just for your workspace and have a break at some point in the day and leave the house.

bobble5366 Sun 12-Jun-16 07:42:11

As my employer has a smarter working policy and having children I do not get into work early enough to get a desk in my pod, therefore I choose to work from home 3 days a week.
I ensure that once the children have left for school, I get my mind in 'work mode' set up my laptop and paperwork, and focus on the work in hand. If is important however if you have breaks, for a drink and a 5 minute breath of fresh air, to keep your mind fresh and legs stretched. I find it solitary with no one to brain storm with, so I save up my queries on a list when I am next in the office. You need to make home working a positive experience, so that it works for you and your employer.

ButterflyOfFreedom Sun 12-Jun-16 07:42:13

I really enjoy working from home andoften find Im more prodproductive than when I'm in the office!
I think the fact I can break the working day up a bit by doing other productive things such as washing up or ironing helps.
I only work from home when no-one else is in and just put the radio on for'company'.
I don't have a dedicated office space so just set myself up at the dining room table but find it works absolutely fine.
The fact I save at least 70 minutes in travelling time (& can start work in my pj's!) is a big bonus!

createbeauty Sun 12-Jun-16 07:48:44

Being organised and having a schedule are essential for successfully working from home. A quiet space/office is preferred for the stay-at-home parent with little ones running around as it can be quite hard to concentrate with the noise from children.

lorilizy Sun 12-Jun-16 07:50:04

I find its all about planning. Plan your day, right down to coffe breaks, and stick to it rigidly. Work upstairs, away from the front door, so you can ignore any unwanted callers and distractions

stimpy1 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:03:45

Have a separate area to work in that nobody is allowed to use so you can leave items out confident that will still be there when you get back.

Keep you mobile phone away from your desk so that you don't get tempted to text anyone or reply

Install a radio station on your computer so you can listen to music/talk radio

Get an home answerphone message that makes it clear you may be working therefore you can hear the messages in case it is the school etc

maryandbuzz1 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:16:12

Make sure the housework is done beforehand so if doesn't distract you.
Have a dedicated area just for work.
Set a time to start, break and finish.

jt75 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:21:55

Have regular breaks. Set a time to be working as it's easy to be distracted.

CMOTDibbler Sun 12-Jun-16 08:22:28

Don't let other people start thinking of you working from home being 'at home' - you can't run errands, entertain visitors, be on the phone for more than emergencies and so on.

phillie1 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:35:14

Seperate room, and tell everyone they ar not allowed to disturb you, unless someone is dying!

Lisapaige24 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:40:24

Set a daily routine have your diary at hand and keep to your office don't start moving your work into other rooms and most important keep to a time schedule for your working hours so it doesn't interfere with you home life it's good to keep it separate if it's not finished by 3 pm then it will have to wait until the next day or the next working day if it's the weekend and have regular breaks leave your work space go and have a coffee in the garden or the kitchen but don't take your phone , laptop or paper work with you that 10 minute break is yours so take it and enjoy 10 free minutes of peace and relaxation before going back to work in your office

janeyf1 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:52:50

I try to work from home once a week but I don't have an office set-up as such because there just isn't enough space. I sit on a chair with the laptop on my lap and paperwork on the arm of my chair. It is a space saving solution which is good enough for one day a week, but not suitable if it was every day.

Sallyannlloydjones Sun 12-Jun-16 08:53:07

Be flexible and have a designated room or space

wjanice121 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:53:40

Set a routine, get up as you normally would and make sure you've got an office space. The most important tip is to take regular breaks because you get very isolated. You can have a chat with a colleague or walk to the toilet etc in work but the walk to the toilet is less at home and you don't really have anyone to speak to.

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