If you run a business then you will know this can offered lead to late nights in the office and time away from your family. It shouldn’t be this way but taking control of your future by being the head of a company does come with a great big dollop of responsibility which eats into your personal life.
There are ways of making things a little more bearable though. Working around the various challenges that seem to pop out of nowhere you could consider working from home a few days a week.
You will need a well equipped office to do this if you have a large company, however for smaller businesses it is much easier. Reliable internet and a good phone line are really important so make sure your IT Support is at hand to get you set up. Find a quiet space in your home where you won’t be disturbed by young children running in, the dog pacing up and down or your partner just wanting to chat about the day, or their work! If you have a spare room then it would be good to consider making this your designated home office. You could think of a solution to keep the option of a guest room by removing the bed and using a sofa bed instead. This will give you room to think and plan whilst being able to accommodate others during holidays or on weekends.
Create a light and airy feel to where you are working and make sure you have plenty of natural light coming in. It could help to consider installing an eco wall to improve air quality and make sure you are working in a really fresh environment. Make sure you have hard copies of any important files from the office and get into the practice of making two copies of everything. It may sound overkill but will enable you to put your hand on whatever you need wherever you are.
Fit your working from home days around admin tasks where possible. Bookkeeping can be done almost anywhere and is a job which requires less concentration than others. Assuming you have an accountant marrying up all the figures that is. You can take a few hours to get your head down and work, then instead of resting up with a coffee in the office canteen, you could take a decent break in your own kitchen and maybe catch up with your family, before slinking back off to get more work done.
Another great job to bring home with you is social media. Creating targeted marketing plans and beginning the process of setting these in motion can be a fun job to do with your older kids and your partner. It may not always be appropriate but given that our children are likely to have their finger on the pulse of social media, you could find yourself with a handy consultant that isn’t going to cost you any money! Maybe just a pizza for their troubles.
It is easy to be distracted when you work from home. You may even find you get up later and then take a couple of hours to get into the routine. It is important, no matter how much the appeal of working in your PJ’s sounds, that you don’t. It can be a very slippery slope and before you know it you’ll be coming home Thursday evening and chucking on your slacks then not getting dressed until Tuesday morning. If you are taking on this ethic then how do you expect your employees not to do the same? Just because you are working in a home environment don’t allow yourself to become convinced you can relax into it quite that much. Get dressed, eat breakfast with the family, then head up to your space and make the best of your time during the morning. Aim to work harder so that you have more free time in the evening, possibly even taking some time off to collect the little ones from school.
Where possible let clients and other staff know you are still available but you are working remotely on specific days so work any meetings you have around these times and try to set a rule that unless it truly is an emergency, you won’t be heading into the office to solve any dilemmas that could be fixed over the phone. If you have a good team in the office delegate the role of office manager to your most trusted member of staff and ask them to keep you up to date throughout the day of employee progress or any small issues that are bubbling up in your absence. There is a saying, whilst the cat is away. Nip that attitude in the bud from the start. Your staff should work as efficiently on your home days as they do on your office days.
Finally, take your staff needs in mind too. Pressure on young families who have a parent in the office until late are as high as the pressures on you and yours. So welcome conversations about letting team members move their working hours around a bit. Happy staff leads to a happy environment which, of course leads to happy customers and stakeholders. Be human and not just the guy at the top. Those who don’t want to work hard will find a way of avoiding daily tasks regardless of their locations. Those who do want to work hard will, and they will probably work even harder if they know their boss is supportive and, dare we say it, cool.
It is possible to juggle a busy working life with a fun family life, you just have to get your head around having a routine and structure then work hard to a cut off time. Set the transition into motion slowly by working a few mornings from home or heading back to the house after lunch. You will soon be able to find that happy medium and delegate your tasks around your new working ethic. The world isn’t going to come to an end just because you aren’t sitting in your office behind your desk. Give yourself a break.