Being able to work from home is widely regarded as one of the major perks of becoming a personal service company contractor or freelancer. But is running a business from the place you eat, relax and sleep really conductive to good levels of productivity?
In this blog, we take a look at just how productive the UK's homeworkers are, as well as what they can do to stay focused, avoid distractions and boost their productivity levels.
How productive are homeworkers?
According to research recently carried out by Printerland.co.uk, nine in ten of Britain's 4.2 million homeworkers admit to being regularly distracted by their working environment, with the average amount of time spent being unproductive totalling 4.5 hours a week on average.
The survey saw almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of home-based workers admit to eating while they should have been working, while 57 per cent confessed to browsing the internet to procrastinate, 39 per cent said they sneakily watched TV and 12 per cent even admitted to playing video games instead of working.
In total, 36 per cent of homeworkers say they are distracted by their surroundings around five times each day, although 40 per cent of men actually believe they can concentrate more when working from home.
The poll results also led to the discovery that one in three people who work from home don't even get changed out of their pyjamas, while one in ten feel so far removed from a traditional working environment that they regularly leave their work to go out on social calls.
Roger Turner, managing director at Printerland.co.uk, commented: "Working at home gives people much more flexibility with hours, considering issues with childcare.
"It can be difficult for an individual to motivate themselves when working in a relaxed environment and interaction with other people can be a driving factor behind their motivation and promotes an increase in productivity."
With this in mind, what steps can contractors and freelancers take to improve their productivity levels when working from home?
Tips for staying focused
Getting to work from home isn't the only perk of being a contractor or freelancer; an increasing number of people are choosing to work for themselves in order to gain a better work-life balance. As being your own boss allows you to select your own flexible hours, this means you can technically play all the video games and do all the procrastinating you like, as long as the work gets done. But is this really the work-life balance you were after when you decided to become your own boss?
One idea to achieve a better balance between your professional responsibilities and personal interests is to give yourself set working hours each day and to try to stick to these as much as possible. Schedule regular breaks within this, for getting out to see friends, for playing those video games or for simply eating and watching TV, and this will help you to feel more focused throughout the day, as you'll always know that a break is soon coming up.
Getting changed out of pyjamas and into smart - or at least just different - clothes can also help you to feel more motivated and productive, as can working in a room that has natural light and few distractions to start with. A TV, games console or even an oven and washing machine representing chores that need to be done in the same room as you can all be incredibly distracting.
Another way to achieve a healthier work-life balance is by engaging the support of a personal service company provider, such as PayStream. Our My PSC service is designed to provide advice and assistance with the administrative side of running a limited company, allowing you to spend more time completing contracts, knowing that your personal service company is in safe hands.
As a result, you should be left with more time to enjoy your personal interests once your contract commitments are finished, rather than worrying about additional time-consuming limited company admin.