Say Goodbye to the Monday Blues
The Monday Blues - most of us have experienced it at one time or another, especially it it’s a dreary, drizzly day. We would give anything to call in sick. Just the thought of facing the rush hour traffic to work, rushing the kids to school, the youngest to the sitter, it’s enough to make anyone call in sick! It’s at these times that many of us daydream about what it would be like to work from home. No struggling with ill-matched clothes in the closet, rushing around finding keys and wallets, or standing like an upright sardine on the Metro.
A TV commercial for a phone company recently portrayed a 60-second utopian vision of a woman comfortably working at home, propped up in front of her computer wearing a robe and bunny slippers with a smiling child at her elbow.
"Yeah, right," grumble the millions of people who actually work at home, particularly those who juggle the task of child care as well. Here is what really happens: The phone rings with an important business call just at the time your 2-year-old is screaming for the apple juice that you forgot to buy at the grocery store. According to Lorianne Oberlin, the author of “Working at Home While the Kids are There, Too,” this scenario is fairly common.
On the other hand, Mrs. Oberlin concludes that the benefits of having control over her schedule has allowed her to spend more time with her two sons, Andy and Alex, while developing her career as a free-lance writer.
"You can work at home when the kids are there, and you don't have to tie up any children in the basement to do so," she says.
Many women today have left their 40-hour a week job in the city to stay home and run their own business. While they may not have the luxury-laden life replete with daytime soaks in the bathtub, they are discovering the joys of spending time with their small children on a daily basis - something rarely possible in their previous jobs.
Statistics show that if you’re working from home, you have just joined a work force of an estimated 40 million people who work either part time or full time from home, a number that is growing by about 20 percent a year, according to Link Resources, a New York-based consulting firm.
Visit your favorite bookstore and you will find that it will be loaded with hundreds of books giving advice on how to start, run and make money with home-based businesses. While some address the psychological demands of making this shift, it is generally assumed that people will prefer this lifestyle to office work.
Making a move from an office in the city to an office at home can be a bit stressful. While you have control over your schedule, the one glitch of working at home is that you can wind up always "on," particularly when juggling childcare responsibilities. You may find yourself working as early as 7 a.m. or as late as 11 p.m., depending on the day, which experienced home-based workers say is not healthy.
Some women make the mistake early on of spending all their time in their home office on the phone and not getting out and meeting people. It’s very important and certainly healthier emotionally to get out of the house two or three days a week for lunches or appointments.
Here are some survival tips on how to make working at home a success:
· Make sure your office has a door, plenty of light and a white or off-white color scheme, which will enlarge the workspace.
· Explain to your family the times when you need to be in your office and not disturbed, and try to maintain a predictable schedule so that you don't appear to be "always" working.
· If you have small children, invite them into the office when you are doing work that can tolerate interruptions. Give them projects to do while you do your work - but don't expect to accomplish any lengthy project during this time.
· Get the proper technical equipment to do the job: A good telephone, voice mail, caller ID, fax, computer and modem are essential. Make sure you have technical consultants available for help when something breaks down. Invest in equipment that carries warranties or service agreements if you are working on your own.
· Set a limit on your work schedule and plan "down" times so that you are not working seven days a week. Make sure to include exercise in your schedule.
"The Work-At-Home Sourcebook," by Lynie Arden, Live Oak Publications. Discusses legal, tax and other practical considerations of working at home. Also includes reference information on popular home businesses.
"The 21st Century Entrepreneur: How to Start a Home Business," by Michael Antoniak, Avon Books. Offers good discussion about what it takes psychologically to successfully run a business from home.
"How to Run Your Own Home Business," by Coralee Smith Kern and Tammara Hoffman Wolfgram NTC Publishing Group. Gives history of home-based businesses and explores different aspects of working at home. Includes work sheets for calculating taxes, profits and payroll.
"Start Smart Your Home Based Business," by Bernadette Tiernan, Simon & Schuster Macmillan Co. This book provides an in-depth look at the technological needs of a home-based worker, analyzing advantages of a range of services from cellular phones to Internet providers.
"The Home-Based Entrepreneur," by Linda Pinson and Jerry Jinnett, the Small Business Publishing Co. Discusses the legal aspects of running a business form home, focusing on zoning, labor laws, tax and licensing regulations. Includes case examples and state-by-state references for resource groups.
“Working at Home While the Kids Are There, Too," by Loriann Hoff Oberlin, Career Press, 1997. This is a "must read" for any parent who is trying to juggle working at home and caring for children.