October 18, 2017

Self Employment After Redundancy

I was recently made redundant from my job of five years and after being in employment over the last 20 years, I was feeling angry and resentful.

I was angry that my current employer at the time did not seem to value the work and dedication I had given the company over the past five years. And I was resentful that other jobs were not targeted for redundancy.

Like most people do when they are out of a job, I immediately started sending out my CV (resume) and scanning the job market for the next career move.

But nothing happened as quickly as I had expected given my experience and so my frustration grew. But then I began to re-evaluate my actions. And I decided to be a bit more proactive rather than reactive. My job was a Document Controller in a property development firm specialising in the retail sector. As Document Controller, I was the first point of contact for information coming in and going out of the company’s Design Department.

I began to think that given my skills in information management and working with extranet systems over the internet, I could easily adapt to working online from home and not have to endure the daily commute and put up with poor public service.

But working from home has many advantages and disadvantages that must be considered before embarking on this road. As you are now responsible for your work output and there is no one to monitor your performance there has to be a discipline about what you do.

There are a lot of advantages in working from home:

No commute on public transport or motorways, caught in the daily commuter stress.
Save on the cost of travel, wardrobe, and lunches everyday.
You are removed from the workplace politics.
Life can be less stressful as you fit work around your life, rather than life around your work.
Work at times which suit you best, when you are most productive.
Reduced carbon foot print on the environment. Less burden on public transport and commuter routes.
Businesses save money by requiring less office space to accommodate staff.

With all these good reasons for opting to work from home, there are also some disadvantages which need to be considered if you want to seriously consider working from the spare room from your home.
Loss of contact with colleagues in an office environment.
Risk of losing out on career opportunities due to less visibility in an office environment.
Limited visibility of your work habits. Are working or out playing golf?
Loss of routine from going to an office environment could affect your productivity.
Maintaining discipline to ensure the DIY or housework chores do not get in the way of work output.
Managing expectations from family members. They may think once you are at home, your time is free time and no work gets done.
And, if you can make the shift in your thinking of not having to go to a place outside the home to market your services, you may well find that working out of the home just might work for you. But you need to also look at the other parts of the total process which contribute to the overall work experience; getting ready to go to work, catching the train or taking the car, meeting up with colleagues. All these may not be essential to doing the work but are all part of the ritual.

If these are important for you to produce your best, then you may need to reconsider. I found that the longer it took for me to find a job in an office environment, my routine was adjusted and the rituals I did as part of my work experience seem irrelevant now for me to produce my best work. And going back to an office environment now is definitely not worth considering.

Working from your home maybe a big step from the security of an employer and a regular wage. But the wage may not be guaranteed for any length of time.

How to Balance Work and Life

Working from home isn’t quite as easy as it sounds: And all freelancers are aware of this fact. Juggling family responsibilities with work isn’t easy, all the more so if you have children or dependants relying on you for their financial as well as physical wellbeing. In any case, all freelancers, and most especially work at home mums, should know how to balance their work lives with their personal lives.

While some of the work at home moms wake up early in the morning for an uninterrupted hour of work, others prefer working late in the night after the kids have gone to bed. The trick to working well is keeping everyone else occupied doing something or the other. However, many freelancers really get absorbed into their work, to the extent that they tend to ignore their homes and families. Others get so involved with their home lives, that they tend to forget about their work. This can lead to problems if you’re getting too close to the deadlines without having achieved anything.

There must be a balance between your work life and your home life. The question is: How do you achieve it? By being organized. Every work at home mom who has a time plan will achieve her goals more efficiently than the one who doesn’t. This isn’t speculation: It’s a fact. Always split up your day in such a way that you get the best of the two worlds.

Try working in the early mornings when your muse is at its best, and the creative juices are flowing after a good nights sleep. In fact, observe yourself and your routine for about two weeks, and then make your time plans. When are you at your most creative? Allot that time for your work. Always keep a timer for these sessions of work. You don’t want to be so absorbed that the kids miss their dinner, do you? Splitting your hours between your work and your home life is the best way to balance each.

Many freelancers also experience tension with their spouse, due to the fact that where work is involved, tempers sometimes run short. In the end, it’s your decision. Working in a peaceful house, free of tension, gives you the freedom to work efficiently. It’s always better to dedicate set hours for work, such that your family knows better than to disturb you at this time. Erratic working leads to a lot of disturbances, and doesn’t get much done. So plan your time well, and stick to it.