Set your alarm for 8am, navigate your way down 10 stairs, pop the kettle on & be at your desk ready to go by 8:05. Working from home – pfft it’s easy, right?
Over the years of supporting recruitment entrepreneurs in their own recruitment agencies, what’s become very obvious is how challenging working from home can be for small start-ups. & while the “idea” might sound simplistic, & while the trickiest thing you may encounter on your commute may well be a rouge teddy or two (!) on the M25, I mean stairs; working from home does take a certain element of skill, discipline & persistence to really make “work”.
& over the last 15 years, it’s safe to say we’ve picked up a few things when it comes to advising our recruitment ventures about how to work from home. So here’s our advice.
Have a plan
…& stick to it!
They say the devil is in the structure when it comes to working from home. & to be honest I may have coined that saying right now, but it’s true! Having a structure when you work from home is one of the most important aspects of making “it” a success.
& by structure, I don’t mean you chain yourself to your desk in your PJs from the hours of 8am – 5pm with a 30-minute lunch break – after all, isn’t that one of the reasons why you wanted to work for yourself? To have control over how you work?
What I mean by structure, is having a plan. Having a weekly & a daily plan that you do not deviate from. & I know that might sound a little extreme but it’s certainly a strategy that has benefitted a lot of ventures that we’ve supported over the years.
For example, that plan may be broken up into hour slots. Hour slots that you commit to a particular task. Now that might be “new business” or “talk with Client A”, or it might even be “go for a walk” or “call my sister”. Having a plan means having the freedom to control your day. But with that comes the discipline needed to focus on a particular task at a particular time; otherwise, you may find yourself searching through LI for the next superstar candidate & next thing you know, you’re unloading the dishwasher & watching Homes Under the Hammer.
Have a clear workspace
If you can, you need to ensure that you make every effort to mentally & physically separate “work” & “play”.
You know that room in your house? You know, the one with all the Amazon boxes, books from when you went to university & the Spinning bike you bought back in Christmas ’11? Yep, that one. Clear it out, get yourself down to Ikea & turn that into H/Q.
Ideally you would do that.
Now of course, sometimes you may not have the ability to have a separate living & working space – but you get what I mean. Wherever you opt to work in your house, make that as easy & as ergonomically friendly as you can. You will, therefore, be able to avoid understandable distractions a little easier & also it helps define, from the very start, what you are doing. In other words, you aren’t just having that odd day “working from home”; you’re building your empire. It just so happens to start in your second back bedroom. But that’s OK!
Have a support network
Working from home can put a little bit of stress on family life. Kids come home at 3:45pm & you’ve got back-to-back candidate calls from 4pm; they want to see you, but you need to work. So how do you overcome that? The answer is simple – be vocal.
Starting your own recruitment agency is not a singular event; this should be looked at as a family decision & therefore everyone needs to be on board with the idea. For example, your husband needs to be OK with you stealing his precious garage space for the sake of the business; &, alternatively, your wife needs to be OK with you stealing some hours in the evening to work on the business.
That support network is a two-way street & being vocal & aware of the impact that working from home will have on the entire family is important before you take those two feet & make that leap!…
So that’s what I think but, as ever, what do you think?