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Helpful hints for running an online based business from home

More and more Australians are working exclusively from home thanks to connectivity. 

In Australia, 1.3 million people reportedly choose to work from home for reasons including saving on office costs, reducing time spent commuting and making it easier to look after their children.

Working from home can mean a more convenient and less busy lifestyle. It is something some companies even encourage their staff to do in order to be able to focus on tasks and to achieve better work life balance.

Here are a few tips for successfully running your business from home:

Make sure you’re connected 

With no IT department to fall back on, you’re probably in charge of technology. Anyone who works from home will agree that there are few things worse than a technical outage to throw a spanner in your plans for the day.

Reduce some risk by purchasing a reliable modem that serves fast internet to all your devices.

It may even be worth considering a backup device such as a mobile hotspot, which can also be handy to bring with you when you need to take your work elsewhere.

Invest in quality equipment 

A clunky and slow computer could drive you crazy – especially because time is money for the small business owner.

Sit down and figure out a budget, trying to focus on the items that you think will make the biggest difference not only to your efficiency, but also your mental state and physical well-being.

Some other items to consider for your home office are a desk that can transition from sitting to standing, a comfortable chair and some quality speakers.

Even the lighting that surrounds you may have an impact on your work, so look to set up an environment where you feel as comfortable as possible.

Set a work schedule

While it can be tempting to put off doing actual work in favour of getting jobs done around the house, it really helps when operating from home to have a routine.

You may be a night owl who enjoys sleeping in, but it can still help to be at your desk at the same time each day.

Many parents find that they can be productive by working for a couple of hours before the rest of the family wakes up, then taking a break to help with school preparations before heading back to their desk until the kids come home again.

It may be a broken day, but it is still a routine.

Consider setting your break times the same way you would in an office and try to eat your lunch away from your desk so that you can recharge and clear your head.

Stick to your schedule by avoiding work unless it is absolutely essential outside of your regular working hours.

Separate your work area 

Keeping a tidy workspace is as important at home as it is in the office.

Creating an area that is separate from the rest of the house can help you to keep your work and your personal life separate.

It will also help your family to understand when you are in ‘business’ mode and shouldn’t be disturbed.

Take your office on the road 

Sometimes working at home can feel lonely. For some company other than their pets, many home based workers frequent local cafés, in particular ones that offer free wi-fi.

Another option is to spend a day or two at a co-working space. Many cities and suburbs now have these spaces, offering all the convenience of an office including internet, kitchen facilities and printers for a daily or monthly set rental price.

Make connections 

It is still important to network when you are working from home. You might not be able to pop out to lunch with a colleague as easily, but you can still speak to them over instant message or remind them you exist by commenting on their LinkedIn status or posts.

Using video conference can be a great way to stay connected to your clients and the outside world (it also gives you motivation to change out of your pyjamas!).

Touching base for regular meetings can inspire you to come up with new ideas and help you to smooth out problems more quickly than you would over email.

Up, up and away in the Cloud 

Using cloud solutions like Google for Work, Trello, Evernote or Dropbox lets you store your files in the cloud so that they can be accessed anywhere you have access to a broadband connection.

This is particularly helpful for businesses that don’t have a large amount of storage space or people who often find themselves out of the office for the day.

Block distractions 

With nobody looking over your shoulder, it can be easy to follow the white rabbit down the deep dark hole of internet memes and cat videos.

Browser apps like Cold Turkey, StayFocused, ClearLock or Focus Booster will shut down access to social media platforms and pop up notifications that can distract you from the task at hand.

Using apps like these can help you to get your work done in less time so that you can focus on your hobbies or your family.

Is remote working for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you give up the office forever.

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