Ever since the Covid-19 lockdown, remote working has become much more common. In fact, a recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that around 40% of working adults worked from home during the first three months of 2023.
While there are many perks to home-working, it also comes with its challenges. And for those who are self-employed and work alone, factors like loneliness, focus, and motivation can be especially tricky to navigate.
With this in mind, we’ll be offering some tips on how to work effectively at home when you don’t have a team to support you. We hope you find them useful.
What are some advantages of working for yourself from home?
Some advantages of working for yourself from home include…
It may offer greater flexibility
Many remote jobs offer a level of flexibility that can be invaluable when it comes to fitting in the needs of your personal life around work.
Whether that means dropping your grandchildren off at school, running errands, being at home for an appointment, or attending a fitness class, these tasks can be much easier to balance when working from home.
You can ditch the daily commute
Not having a daily commute to and from work can give you a lot of time back and offer a better work-life balance.
Even if you spent just 20 minutes a day travelling to and from work each day, that would still be over three hours a week spent commuting based on a five day working week.
Alongside being time-consuming, research has also found that commuting can be a major cause of stress and anxiety – and many commuters can experience boredom, social isolation, anger, and frustration.
For example, this study found that when commuting by car, a one-hour increase in commute time led to a 21.8 minute decrease in time spent with their spouse and 7.2 minute decrease in time spent with friends.
It can save you a lot of money
According to this 2021 survey, 57% of people said that remote working had a positive impact on their finances.
As well as cutting the costs of commuting, things like work clothes, childcare, food, and daily coffees, are all examples of areas where you can save large amounts of money working from home.
It may offer fewer distractions
In an office environment where there are phones ringing, office equipment running, and co-workers to chat to, it’s easy to become distracted and lose track of tasks.
Many people find that being at home helps to limit these distractions.
It can increase productivity
Due to having fewer distractions, some people find that working from home increases productivity.
For example, this survey found that people who worked from home were 13% more productive. This was largely attributed to having a quieter work environment and more time spent working.
Similarly, in this review 60% of remote workers reported being more productive at home due to having no commute and a better night’s sleep.
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What are some potential disadvantages of working for yourself at home?
While there are many benefits to working for yourself from home, there are also a number of potential downsides to consider too.
Boundaries between home and work may become blurred
When working for yourself at home, boundaries between work and personal time can easily become blurred.
For example, you might feel tempted to take your phone or laptop to bed with you to check your emails before you go to sleep and immediately when you wake up.
Therefore, while working for yourself at home generally offers a greater amount of flexibility, it can also increase the risk of overworking and eventually feeling burnout.
Home environments can be distracting too
While you may not have the comes and goings of an office to distract you, it’s still possible to get distracted when working from home.
Whether it’s the television, noisy neighbours, or someone else in your household, some people actually find it more difficult to remove themselves from distractions at home than they would in an office, largely due to a lack of accountability.
Not having colleagues around to seek advice from
When working as part of a team, there’s usually a colleague around to ask questions to or who you can raise an issue with if you’re struggling with something.
However, when working for yourself at home, whether you need tech support or would simply like a second opinion on your work, you’re mostly reliant on your own instinct and intuition.
It can sometimes feel lonely
When working for yourself at home, it’s only natural that feelings of isolation and loneliness can sometimes creep in.
In fact, research has found that 70% of freelancers report feeling lonely, disconnected, and isolated.
9 tips for effective home-working without a team to support you
There are both pros and cons to working for yourself at home; but if you’re currently struggling with factors like loneliness, motivation, or a lack of work-life balance, below we’ll offer some tips that will hopefully help.
For example, you might like to…
1. Set clear boundaries between your work and home life
If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance, one of the most helpful things you can do is to set yourself boundaries and stick to them.
While it might be tempting to work extra time in the mornings or evenings in order to get ahead, it’s easy to find yourself in a constant cycle of sleep, eat, work, repeat, without much time for a break.
So, to avoid burning yourself out, try committing to set working hours – complete with a clear start and finish time.
Some people also find that scheduling in ‘me-time’ helps them stick to it better. For example, you could set an appointment in your calendar to exercise for 30 minutes or relax for an hour. Once you’ve set your boundaries, it can also be helpful to communicate these with anyone you live with.
If you’d like more tips, check out our article; How can I achieve a healthy work-life balance?
2. Set yourself goals
Research has consistently shown that setting goals is a powerful source of motivation and can help people remain focused on what they want to achieve.
This can work both in the short and long-term. The act of simply ticking off daily goals has been shown to build resilience, performance, and increase a person’s chance of success. Similarly, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals can be effective for helping you achieve your longer-term vision.
If you’d like to get a clearer idea of what your goals are, why not create a vision board? Alternatively, if goal setting isn’t the right approach for you, you might like to have a read of some of our other tips to boost motivation.
3. Have a designated work area
Not everyone’s lucky enough to have a separate room to use as a home office. But it’s still important to have separate areas for your work and home life, whatever this might look like for you.
This can bring a sense of legitimacy to your work environment and help to reduce the temptation of becoming distracted.
4. Switch up your work environment
A change of scene can work wonders when it comes to productivity, motivation, and focus.
This is because being exposed to a variety of environments has been shown to boost happiness, relaxation, and creativity. Plus, it can help you to get out of the house too.
Some popular ways of changing your work environment include setting up in a coffee shop or library for the day. So why not try it out and see what difference it makes for you?
5. Look at the possibility of co-working space
If you’re struggling with loneliness when working from home or would like to regain a sense of community at work, then you might like to consider the possibility of using a co-working space.
Co-working spaces have gained popularity as an alternative to working in home offices and coffee shops and provide a positive environment where workers can share services, tools, and facilities.
Research has found that 70% of people who use coworking spaces become healthier, 68% become better focused, and 64% are more productive.
To find a co-working space near you, check out this guide to the best coworking spaces across the UK from Creative Boom.
6. Make after work plans to look forward to
Making after work plans, whether during the week or at the weekend, can help to boost motivation and positivity because it gives us something to look forward to.
It also helps to add variety to our lives and allows us to feel connected to the people and world around us.
You might like to arrange a meet up with friends, join an exercise class, or enjoy a nice dinner out or trip to the cinema.
7. Use networking to connect with others
Networking can be a powerful tool for connecting with other people in your industry.
Not only can networking offer the chance to socialise, but it’s also a good way to advertise your business and uncover potential opportunities.
Our guide to networking explains the importance of connecting with others in your field and offers information on how to get started.
8. Spend some time outside in nature during your workday
There are many well-documented benefits to spending time outside in nature – including reduced anxiety, boosted energy levels, and a stronger immune system.
Making the most of these benefits during your workday can be as simple as taking a quick lunchtime walk or sitting outside to listen to the birdsong.
For more ideas, you might like to have a read of our article; 32 ways to connect with nature and feel inspired.
9. Create an inspiring workspace
The atmosphere of our workspace can have a significant impact on our performance and how we feel at work.
Research has found that an untidy workspace can increase stress levels and reduce focus and productivity. Meanwhile, working in a clean and uncluttered area has been found to increase happiness, improve focus, and stimulate creativity.
So, if you’re currently feeling uninspired at work, why not see what a difference transforming your workspace can make? You’ll find plenty of tips and ideas in our article; 9 ways to declutter your workspace and improve productivity.
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Working for yourself at home sounds like a dream job to many people. But while there are many benefits to this setup, such as not having to commute and enjoying greater flexibility within your personal life, it can also be challenging.
With this in mind, if you’ve been struggling with distractions, loneliness, or burnout, we hope that our tips have helped.
For more help and advice, you might like to check out our article; 15 tips to boost comfort and productivity working from home. Or, for more general career advice, head over to the jobs and careers section of our website. Here you’ll find everything from career guides to tips for boosting motivation and focus.