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Avoid the Stresses of Working from Home

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The Stresses of Working from Home.

Good-Bye Commuting And Workplace Pressure. Hello Isolation, Lazy
Habits And Confused Kids.

International Stress-Guru Carole Spiers Analyses The Freedom And
Slavery Of The Home Working Life for the newsletter INSPIRED!
Dedicated to the success of the 500,000 direct sellers in the UK

Many people who are involved in running and growing their own
small business will almost certainly be faced with the prospect
of working from home. This might be because they’ve started
their business as a means of earning money in their spare time;
don’t want or need the expense of a serviced or dedicated
office; or simply because the nature of their business makes
working from home the most logical and cost-effective solution.

Viewing Your Home as an Office – A Big Psychological Shift for
You and Your Family Whatever the reason, what many people do not
take into account are the stresses and strains that home working
can impose. If you have a family, for example, it can be very
difficult to make them accept that the area of your home that
you have chosen to be your ‘office’ is now exclusively that.
Then there is the other extreme where people become so involved
in their work that they find it impossible to break away from
it, and their work/life balance suffers as a result. And then
there are the people who start off with the best of intentions,
but find their motivation and commitment to their new business
slipping away – making their home feel much less ‘homely’ as a
result. In all these situations, the added tensions caused by
working from home can very quickly turn into stress which, if
left unchecked, can have far-reaching and extremely damaging
results. If you are considering or already engaged in home
working, it’s therefore important to bear in mind the following.
Successful Home workers – the Categories, the Characteristics

Many people enjoy working from home, but for others it can pose
problems. It’s been suggested that the ideal balance for
home-based workers is to spend between half and one day per week
away from their home, but if this is not possible, then it’s
essential to keep regular hours and to meet people outside of
the home office – hence the development of teleworking
‘communities’ and breakfast / lunch clubs. Those working from
home can generally be divided as follows…

* Home workers on fixed contracts, e.g. self-employed sales
representatives etc. * People who are building a business, often
in direct sales, who may also have a full time job. * Employees
who are employed by a company but work from home as opposed to
from the firm’s premises. * Self-employed professionals who see
clients or offer consultations from home, such as private
doctors, counsellors and health therapists. * Freelancers who
bring in their own work, such as journalists, graphic designers,
authors, researchers etc. …and they tend to be affected by the
same issues:

* Isolation and lack of daily peer group interaction – such as
meeting around the photocopier or coffee machine for a chat. * A
tendency to become de-motivated leading to lack of
concentration, low productivity and missed deadlines. It’s been
recognised that only individuals possessing a particular
temperament may be best suited to home working. Particular
strengths include flexibility, self-motivation, good time
management, and being a self-starter who is able to work without

Compensating For The Solo Workstyle – Keep Networking And

A strong network of supportive friends is also thought to be
beneficial, if not essential, in retaining good mental health.
Where people miss the stimulus of interpersonal relationships,
over time they may become depressed and withdrawn. Colleagues at
work not only spend a substantial amount of time talking to each
other about their work, but also such topics as their social
lives, families, TV etc. This frequent interpersonal contact,
sense of belonging and mutual concern is fundamental to human
needs, but can very often be missing when an individual works
from home. Company employees who use their home as an office
should therefore be aware that this will require a change in
outlook, including: * A clear understanding of the overall
objectives of the (now virtual) team of which they are a member.
* A clear definition of their responsibilities, role and place
in the hierarchical order of the department or company. *
Periodic face-to-face personal contact in order to minimise
social isolation. Freelancers and the self-employed, on the
other hand, will benefit from: * Joining professional
organisations, e.g. a local Chamber of Commerce, professional
society or business group. * Being proactive in initiating
co-operative alliances and mutual ventures. * Arranging meetings
to maintain contact with colleagues and clients, e.g. breakfast
or lunch clubs. Overall, the temperament and skills required to
be a good home worker should include the following
characteristics: * Commitment to the job. * Not easily
distracted. * Good time management. * Self-discipline. * Ability
to communicate well by phone, email, fax and letter. * Ability
to network. * Flexible attitude to working hours. * Willingness
to be adaptable

What Home-Tutor Annie Found When She Made The Leap Awkward
highs and lows. A sense of isolation. Friends taking liberties
with her ‘freedom’. But she soon got things under control…

Annie returned to work after her divorce, when her children were
in full-time education. She re-trained for a year, studied for a
degree, and then worked from home as a self-employed home tutor.
Initially she used the family sitting room but soon found the
intrusion into living space to be difficult. Eventually she
moved, and one of her requirements for the new home was a
self-contained space situated near the front door that could be
utilised as an office, in order that clients did not have to
walk through the living area of the house. After the stimulus of
university, Annie found it difficult to accept that on many days
the only people she communicated with were her clients. She
missed the interaction of university life. She also found it
difficult to motivate herself sufficiently to keep records
up-to-date, block out lessons, read new material and market
herself by phoning potential clients. Another irritant was that
friends and neighbours tended to take advantage of her and
appeared not to take her work seriously – e.g. by asking her to
pick their children up from school if arrangements fell through,
or to let in building contractors etc. On days when there was no
work for her to do, it could be difficult for Annie to motivate
herself to get out of bed, whereas at other times of the year,
especially close to exams, the workload could be extreme. As a
self-employed worker, it was difficult to turn down work and
therefore very easy for Annie to over-extend herself. By
contrast, other periods were unbearably quiet and it could be
difficult to cope with the lack of control over her workload.
Annie eventually joined a gym to ensure that she went out
regularly and because she enjoyed the sociability of the class.
She could go during the day, rather than being restricted to
weekends when the gym was busier, and so she benefited from a
cheaper off-peak rate. Annie found it important to keep in
contact with friends regularly, although this resulted in higher
expenditure on meals, cinema, etc. On the whole Annie enjoyed
her new lifestyle and the freedom to plan each day. Initially
she found it difficult to cope with the highs and lows of work
but this became easier as a pattern began to emerge. As a home
worker, it was important for her not to become isolated and to
accept that she had to make an effort to go out and meet people.
She joined a professional association and often travelled to
London to attend lectures. This helped her to network on both a
professional and private basis, as well as keeping her
up-to-date with the new information that was essential to her
work and professional discipline.

Carole Spiers MIHE MISMA Business Stress Consultant

For more information on INSPIRED! contact
[email protected]


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  • Posted On July 19, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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