The benefits of working from home

jobMore and more companies are beginning to give their employees a chance to work from home. As technology advances, people are better able to work from home while still being connected to the business they work for. Information can be shared easier through the cloud and online storage, as well as the ability to communicate through emails and video conferences.

Working from home has benefits not just for the employees, but for the businesses as well. An employee working from home used to be daunting, something a business could lose money and productivity over, but nowadays that’s not true. Working from home can actually increase employee productivity and create a better working environment for all involved.

Flexibility and Why Workers Need It

There are a few reasons why working from home is an option that more workers want to be able to have. To start with, many want to have a better balance between work and their life at home, including the time they spend with their family. It’s optimal for workers who have small children at home, or even a spouse who may need help in the day because of health reasons.

Workers also want this option to cut down on commuting and the cost of gas to get to work. It saves time for the workers and reduces stress. They don’t have to worry about traffic and if there is an accident or a jam somewhere on the road.

Working from home is also a good option for employees who might need a different environment because of health issues. Why get rid of an employee just because they need to be at home to better take care of themselves when they can work from home and get just as much done?

Increased Productivity

From a company’s perspective, employees working from home can actually increase their productivity. There are a few reasons as to why that is, starting with the fact that there can be less distractions in an office at home. Cubicles at businesses are noisy and busy, with coworkers walking around and chitchatting, or people upset about maintenance issues or any number of workplace annoyances. Working from home cuts out a lot of that chatter, allowing an employee to focus on what they need to get done.

Polls taken to show where employees go to get their most important work done shows that very few employees would actually choose to do their biggest work in the office during the normal work time hours. An overwhelming number, well over fifty percent, said they would choose to take that work home, while another eighteen percent would choose the office after work hours.

Working from home can cut down some of the stress of work place politics, grievances, and distractions, and this helps employees get more done at a better quality.

Health Benefits

One big health benefit of working at home is the reduction of stress and what it does to an employee’s mental health. They feel more comfortable at home and they don’t have to worry about the stress of a commute. It’s also been found that the closeness in proximity to the other employees can increase a worker’s stress and anxiety, making them less productive in the long run. They are better able to relax and take care of themselves when stressful situations arise than they could in an office environment.

Workers eat better at home than they do going into the office, giving them better health all around. They also have the ability to take small breaks for exercise, reducing stress and keeping their bodies healthy and able to fight off illnesses.

Employers will see a reduction of sick days taken off from employees who work at home. By not being in an office environment, employees can’t spread around germs and illnesses to each other. Not only that, but some things that would keep an employee home from an office wouldn’t necessarily keep them from working at home. They don’t have to worry about the travel and how that might make them sicker, or take way their worries of getting their coworkers sick.

How Technology Makes This Possible

We’re living in a decade where, thanks to technology, it’s much easier to stay connected and have meetings even if some or many employees aren’t in the office. There are many services out there that can let employees attend meetings from the comfort of their home office. Video conferencing is on the rise and carries benefits for employees who want to work from home, as well as employers.

Things like the video communications Bluejeans Networking can provide lets employers hold meetings with employees in the office, at home, or in other parts of the country or world. It opens up the possibilities of what a company can do from afar.

With services like this, there’s no need to stick with a strict office environment for all employees.

Tips for making the most of your working hours as a WAHM

Mother_And_Baby_With_LaptopOne of your primary reasons for starting out as a work at home mum (WAHM) be because you want to have more time to spend with your family. Unfortunately, when starting out in self-employment, you may find that you’re spending even less time with them than you were before, simply because there’s so much to do. It can all be a bit overwhelming – but luckily there are a few ways you can streamline your business processes to make your working day a little bit easier.

Office Efficiency

Keep a clear desk. A tidy working area – or at least one where you can physically see the surface – psychologically puts you in an ‘uncluttered’ frame of mind. Before you stop work for the day, spend five minutes tidying up.

Colour code files and folders – use colours that you associate with specific emotions to help you decide: i.e. you might have a green folder for marketing activities (green for growth) and perhaps a black folder for the dreaded tax return!

Disable the new email notification so you won’t be distracted by it popping up on screen. Better still, only check your email at set times of the day: first thing, last thing and lunchtime can work. If you’re worried about being out of the loop, set an autoresponder that will tell people that this is what you’re doing and they won’t expect an instant response.

The trick to keeping on top of the paperwork is to deal with it as it arrives. If you don’t have time to do this, you need to set a time aside daily or even weekly to go through your in-tray. Try sorting it into four categories: Action, File, Bin/Recycle, Shred.

Automate what you can

Use an email service provider (ESP) to send out email newsletters. If you’re collecting email addresses to add to your mailing list you should be using an ESP anyway, to have a ‘double opt in’ mailing list. This ensures that only people who want to receive your newsletter will get it delivered to their inbox. You can write your newsletters and set the time for their release, days or weeks into the future.

If you use a WordPress blog, did you know you can preschedule your blog posts? If you write a month’s worth of blog posts in one go, you can then schedule them to be posted at whatever date and interval you like.

Software applications like Hootsuite can also preschedule your Tweets so you can write them and then schedule them to be Tweeted at whatever time you want.

You can buy software which will automatically send your articles to hundreds of different article directories across the web. Most are available on a month by month basis, so if you’re planning a big article marketing campaign, it might be worth signing up for a month or two.

A lot of marketing can be done at anti-social hours, particularly on-line marketing, which is brilliant as it means you can crack on with it when the children are asleep. As well as automating your Tweets, you can also use inbuilt buttons on your blog and website to automatically link up your new blog posts to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

As a business owner and a parent, your time is doubly precious. Don’t waste it – streamline your business processes and start enjoying more of the work/life balance you promised yourself when you started out as an entrepreneur.

Celina Lucas is author of   How to Run a Work from Home Business When You Have Small Children: The Secret to Achieving the Work/Life Balance You’ve Dreamed OfHow To Be A Virtual Assistant,  and  How to Start a Business When You’ve Got No Time (or Money)

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How to be a work at home mom: Book review

Ta da! Here’s my latest audio book review…

You can read more about the book and buy it at The Mom Writes ebook store. (for $17 which is about £11)

I also mention Prerna’s new book, Summer sanity savers for the work at home mom, which is available to pre-order now for just $3 (about £2)

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to join my mailing list Sign up now and you can download your copy of  my e-book Running a business around a family: 9 steps to success.

 

Growing a Business with Kids: 5 Things I’ve Learned in 2011

Today’s post is by Claire Hughes, co-creator of the Handmade Horizons marketing e-course, which launches next week.

If you run a craft business, take a look at Handmade Horizons between now and the launch on 16th January for lots of free training on marketing your handmade products.

Over to you Claire!

How was 2011 for you? Personally, 2011 was a year of big development in my business and personal life. I learnt a lot – the hard way – but made it through the other side! Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past twelve months about growing a business with kids. I hope some of these will be of use to you, and help set you up for 2012! Continue reading “Growing a Business with Kids: 5 Things I’ve Learned in 2011”

Work At Home Mums Around The World

A couple of weeks ago I had an email from Diona Moustri and Kalliopi Fountoulaki-Hanioti of Mammas Work at Home, a website for work at home mums in Greece:

Starting a home based business or working from a home office are emerging choices for mothers who wish to spend more time with their family and continue their career or pursue a new one. The community of Greek WAHMs is growing and at Mammas Work At Home we try to provide an online meeting place to exchange all kinds of information from practical details and tax regulations to creative activities for the kids and inspiring success stories.

Mammas Work At Home was created by an electrical and computer engineer and a freelance translator, two work-at-home mothers who both wished to share their WAHM experience. Kalliopi and Diona first got to know each other online visiting and commenting on each other’s blogs. Finding out that they were both working from home, they decided to join forces and create a blog sharing Greek content for work-at-home moms.

Diona and Kalliopi said there isn’t that much Greek content out there for WAHMs and could they please translate some of the Business Plus Baby articles and publish them on Mammas Work at Home?

I was happy to say yes and the first article was published last week – it’s a translation of Viv Smith’s story of how she started Poppy Sparkles. (Here’s the Greek version and here’s the English one.)

Of course it’s brilliant to be found and contacted from the other side of Europe, but the main reason I’m so happy is that I’m connecting with another community of mums in business. We’re all women who are refusing to accept the normal work choices for mums of small children and are doing it our own way instead. And isn’t it great that we can get together and help each other out?

When I started Business Plus Baby I made it very much UK-focused. That’s because I thought I wouldn’t have a lot to offer WAHMs in other countries because the logistics of starting and running a business would be so different across the world. Not to mention maternity pay and maternity leave (which is confusing even if you are in the UK judging by the number of hits I get on BPB’s maternity allowance articles!)

But I’ve found that mumpreneurs, mompreneurs, WAHMs and business mums/moms around the world are remarkably similar. Just lately I’ve connected with mums in business from Canada, Australia, USA and Dubai as well as Greece and we all want to know pretty much the same things. How can I run a business from home around kids? How do you start and run an internet business? Am I crazy to think I can do this? How do other mums manage it? Plus the big challenge for all small business owners – getting your marketing right.

So if you’re feeling a bit isolated and stuck at home behind your computer, just remember you’re one of a huge group of mums around the world who are building a better future for themselves and their families.

Makes you feel proud, doesn’t it?

Creative Commons License photo credit: kthypryn