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How to convince your loved ones that you are actually 'working' from home

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Tuesday 31st May, 2016

More than 4.6 million people in the UK are currently self-employed, with many of these working from home as freelancers or limited company contractors.

There has been a huge surge in entrepreneurialism since the economic crash of the mid-2000s, with millions of workers setting up their own businesses as a direct reaction to the country's financial situation and consequent lack of jobs.

While some opt for commercial business premises, figures from the Office for National Statistics show that over 1.5 million people permanently work from home, equating to five per cent of Britain's total workforce.

One of the main reasons people choose to work for themselves is so they can strive towards a better work-life balance, but family members can sometimes struggle to understand this way of working.

So, how can contractors and freelancers make those close to them appreciate what they're doing?

Look the part

One of the main myths that surrounds the self-employed is that they spend all day sat on the sofa in their pyjamas. While this may be true on some days - we all have times where we wish we could do our work from under the comfort of the duvet - it often helps freelancers to feel more motivated if they make the effort to get dressed properly.

In fact, the psychological theory of enclothed cognition suggests that people feel differently when wearing certain clothes, which explains why contractors might feel a greater level of motivation if they are dressed in more traditional work attire.

Freelancers may need to speak to clients via a video call platform such as Skype or Google Hangouts at times, meaning they will need to appear smart, so it's a good idea to get into the habit of getting properly dressed every day.

If you make the effort to look the part, your loved ones will be able to see that you're taking your job seriously, you'll feel a great deal more productive, and you'll still get to enjoy that glorious relaxing feeling of changing into something more comfortable at the end of a long day at work.

Have a designated office space

As we mentioned earlier, it can be a common misconception that self-employed workers spend all day lounging on the sofa. But again, contractors will find themselves feeling significantly more productive if they have a designated office space.

This could be a whole room if you're lucky enough to have a house big enough, a corner of a room, or even just the kitchen table. As long as it's somewhere that's your workspace and your partner, parents, housemates or children are aware that they need to respect this and stay quiet around you during your working hours, the exact location isn't too important.

Some freelancers find it difficult to feel motivated and to avoid distractions when working in their own home, but there are several simple ways to boost productivity.

A report from the World Green Building Council entitled 'Health, wellbeing and productivity in offices: The next chapter for green building' found that everything from indoor air quality to lighting can impact on a worker's productivity. In fact, the report showed that better air quality in an office space could lead to an eight to 11 per cent increase in productivity. Steps as simple as opening a window or buying an indoor plant could have significant benefits.

The Chinese art of feng shui also suggests that certain office layouts could help you to feel more motivated, alongside demonstrating to others that you're taking homeworking seriously.

For example, if you feel closed in by a particular wall, feng shui says that you should turn it into something more positive, perhaps by decorating it with motivational posters or photos of your loved ones to create happier energy, which should in turn have a knock-on effect on your productivity.

Work-life balance goals

While creating a better work-life balance is one of the main perks of being self-employed, achieving this can also be a significant challenge, particularly if your loved ones don't fully respect the fact that you work from home.

It's important to make sure they know your working hours each day and that you should only be disturbed in the event of an emergency during these times. They should also know that you won't be helping with any household chores or other non-work-related tasks during these hours.

If you're struggling to achieve the right balance, then PayStream's My PSC service for limited company contractors may be able to help you. We help you with the company admin that surrounds running your own limited company, such as advising you of how much and when to pay your tax liabilities and helping you with your company paperwork, giving you the peace of mind that your business is remaining compliant with HMRC.

This will give you more time to spend growing your business and developing your entrepreneurial skills, alongside spending more time with your loved ones. They're bound to feel better about your way of working if they know it's not going to impact the time you get to spend together.

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