“You can understand why if you are commuting all the time. Then having a garden office is a step forward into another dream again.”
For many, being able to sit in a garden office is something planned for over many years, yet there is more to it than simply having your own work space, there are also practical aspects, as Judy explained.
Having worked from home for twenty years running businesses, Judy began the popular site, How to Work from Home after publishing her book four years ago.
To begin, here is list of five of Judy’s useful tips:
- Make sure you go out and socialise, write times in your diary for meeting people even at a business breakfast club once a week.
- Finding yourself having to manage solo you should remind yourself that you have many untapped resources.
- Many people are quick to say how you should plan your work timetable but experiment to find your natural working pattern as everyone differs.
- Most people find it easier to offer help than to ask for it but make it your policy to ask for help when you need it.
- While home workers may miss the chance to talk over a work problem with a colleague, if you do have a problem, don’t wait for things come to a head, go and talk to someone who believes in you.
As well as being qualified to give solitary workers a confidence boost Judy is enthusiastic about home working and supports start-ups with telephone advice on how to work from home.
Everyone meets unexpected situations so I asked Judy to explain one of her own.
“I worked from home for twenty years. I was running a cleaning company for twelve years, then helping my partner who was a trainer and coach by doing the admin and the running of his business,” Judy said.
“When I was running a cleaning busines my partner in that hurt his back. Although we employed people we also did cleaning ourselves and I had to take on his cleaning and take other cleaners around to the places he would normally do.
“My day was extended to be much longer than usual. Then there is not only the extra work and the tiredness and the aggravation that comes about because obviously the person is ill, but there is also the worry of ‘Are they going to get better?’ and ‘How is this going to affect us long term?’ so it is a very difficult position to be in.
“Working from home can sound so idyllic and that it is all going to be so fantastic, but it is not a bad thing to think about ‘How would I cope in a crisis?’ We all get them even if it is the computer going down, or somebody letting us down, they happen.
“It is amazing what you can do if you have a crisis but if you knew about it before you would think ‘Oh Gosh I could never cope with it’. Afterwards you sometimes wonder how you did do it. But you do cope at the time and I think people are wonderful in being able to do that.”
According to the Office of National Statistics 2011 Census data there are 1.4 million people working mainly from home.
Some make the leap from office and successfully adapt to solo working, others, like Judy have always worked from home.
Asked what are the advantages, many home workers will put flexibility at the top of the list.
Usually we think of flexibility as being the ability to work around other commitments like childcare, but there is also another advantage, being able to do more by finding your natural way to work.
“You quite often read articles about how to work from home with all sorts of rules about how and when you should work, but I have found that it depends on the individual, what works for one person does not work for someone else,” Judy said.
“It is good to take advice from people and listen to what they do but it is sad if it makes you feel inferior or inadaquate.
“So I always advise someone to experiment and see what works because if you find a routine that does then obviously that means more motivation.
“One plus is that if you are on a roll it is quite nice just to be able to carry on and get things done.”
Judy recently took part in a co-working scheme, set up by Anywhere working, a group that shows how remote working can improve your productivity, which saw Judy jump aboard a pedi-bus during a mobile meeting around the streets of London, talk about rolling.