Self-employed man working from the comfort of his home

7 tips for the home-based boss

Just started your dream business from the comfort of your home? Congratulations! But while working from home sounds appealing and cuts down on travelling time to the office, there are many pitfalls that can hinder your productivity – the bed is so nearby!

To keep yourself working hard, do these seven things.

Make space for work

A hometrepreneur's work space, set up within his home

Your home may be your office, but beware of how conflating both spaces can affect you mentally. While both share the same physical space, to boost productivity, you should clearly demarcate your work space from your home space. If you have the luxury of a spare room or study, turn it into your office. Avoid working from the comfortable confines of your sofa or bed so you’re in the correct mind space for work. Also, ensure that your work area is free from any distractions such as your gaming console.

Maintain structure

Young woman stretching on her bed in the early morning

Many home business owners face the problem of slipping into relaxation mode because of the familiar home environment and hey, no one is there to police you. But that could delay your work and cause you to make up for it late into the night. Maintaining discipline is key. Keep regular hours and attend to your business matters promptly during the work day, and keep to scheduled time-outs for breaks until you are done for the day. No meeting friends and family for coffee during work hours. And this discipline works both ways – just as you shouldn’t be too relaxed, you also shouldn’t overwork yourself.

Dress the part

Dress for the occasion. You might be working from home, but that doesn’t mean you should be in your pyjamas the entire day. Dressing the part can have a positive psychological effect on your work attitude. Start off your work day with the routine of washing up and putting on a comfortable outfit when working so you can step out of home mode and enter work mode. This also helps you relax at the end of the work day, when you shower and change back into home clothes. You don’t want to end up associating your pyjamas with work!

Get organised and connected

Before you go to bed, create a to-do list and review that same list at the end of each work day. Regularly checking off items on your list will keep you on track and motivated. Since you are likely to be working alone, it is important to be meticulously organised. Use the wide variety of work-related apps available on your smartphone or tablet to track your work progress.

Maintain good health

Young woman stretching in a yoga pose at home

You are the biggest asset of your budding business, so ensure that you remain in good physical and emotional health. While the start-up phase of any business can be stressful, be sure to set aside time to reward yourself with short breaks to hydrate, stretch, walk about, meditate, or relax the eyes. Consider taking up an insurance plan that covers your medical costs so you have one less thing to worry about. Sometimes, you can also take your laptop out and set up shop for a few hours at the nearby cafe to shake up the routine. Short breaks in a different (productive) environment can spark new ideas.

Get out there

Group of young business owners and entrepreneurs meeting to network and exchange ideas

A home-based business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to network with peers or mentors. Networking with the right people can help your business move forward. Also, go out and keep learning. Running your own business means you would have to be a jack-of-all-trades, from handling IT issues to accounting. Avoid isolating yourself and seek out networking events or take courses that can increase your skill set. For example, DBS offers support for SMEs to grow their business and network through DBS BusinessClass – a platform that connects business owners, offers guidance from advisors, and gives you access to events, workshops and content such as foundational knowledge, market and industry insights.

Pay who it matters (You!)

Set your monetary priorities right and budget well. Hold separate bank accounts for your business and your personal use so you get a clear sense of how your business is doing. Avoid dipping into your personal finances for business costs and vice versa. Remember to pay yourself, even if your business account is lean and you can only take a small salary.

And when your home business expands to include interns and staff, the above pointers will still apply. Remember to always strike a balance between work and play.