Work-from-home franchises have become ever more popular in the years since the economic downturn – and with a competitive salary, pre-established business model, added flexibility and banishment of the drudgery of the dreaded commute, what could be better?
The number of people working from home has increased by a fifth in the last decade reaching a record-breaking 1.5 million, according to a recent study.
The analaysis of figures by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) for National work From Home Day last year revealed that nearly a quarter of a million (241,000) people now work from home compared to ten years ago.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported a record-breaking high with work-from-home franchises making up 13.9% of the total UK workforce.
In an increasingly digital age, the rise of internet culture and internet-based trade, opportunities to work from home are easily accessible and rapidly gaining popularity.
With the total number of home based franchises on FranchiseSales.com totalling 33% and the British Franchise Association (BFA) reporting a 20% rise in the sector in 5 years - the area is flourishing.
However, the pros and cons of ‘working from home’ are still a regularly debated topic.
A common misconception is that home-based franchises are immobile, yet many involve getting out and about, ranging from mobile cleaning and hairdressing, to pet care and fitness franchises.
A recent study by Altodigital, an independent supplier of office technology solutions, conducted research into employees working from home.
The study questioned 1,000 UK employees, commissioned to help them gain a better understanding of ‘the technological and operational challenges faced by small businesses when it came to remote and mobile working’.
The study states that 40% of workers claim that their productivity more than doubles when they work from home.
However it also reveals that ‘motivation has a limited scope; peaking at just four hours a day’ – with the top distractions being watching TV at 24%, household chores at 27% and playing with children at 26%, interspersed with taking baths and the occasional ‘on the clock’ nap.
Distraction and working from home shouldn’t have to go hand in hand – here’s our top tips for avoiding pyjamas and procrastination:
One of the perks of working from home may be the lack of dress code, and without the need to dress professionally it could be extremely tempting to not get dressed at all.
The Altodigital survey reveals that ‘35% preferred to stay in their dressing gown or pyjamas while working’.
Despite the temptation of comfy-casual attire, psychologist Anjula Mutanda links dress code to mood and attitude:
“It can be particularly challenging to maintain a professional and focused approach … You may enjoy being able to wear your dressing gown all day, but this may sub-consciously put you in the weekend relaxed mood and could slow you down.”
We’re not saying you should don a suit and tie, just make sure you put some clothes on.
Even in the office, we have to battle the urge, checking phones and sneakily browsing Facebook, but at home without the omnipresent eyes of an office environment it’s even easier to get lost in the virtual world.
At home potential procrastination opportunities are plenty, never has it been more tempting to put the washing on, do the dusting or organise your DVD collection into alphabetical order. So put down that duster and get on with what you’re supposed to be doing.
If you need a break, leave the computer, stay away from social media, because before you know it you’ll have stalked a friend of a friend, clicked on a link, and lost an hour watching puppy videos on YouTube.
In a place synonymous with comfort, the home can be a difficult place to work in. The blurred lines and boundaries between home and work, can be a difficult to separate.
Define a workspace, whether it be a desk or a room - the worst thing you can do is get too comfortable, accidental naps are an inevitability.
Separate your living space from your workspace, keeping the boundaries between the professional and personal clear cut.
The temptation to work until it’s finished is as equally destructive as putting things off. Set yourself hours and deadlines, stick to what you would normally do in an office environment, and stay away from work in your downtime.
There are numerous benefits to owning a home based franchise. It can be a financially viable option, cutting back on travel, rent and employment costs.
It can also provide valuable benefits, supporting family commitments through increased flexibility - without the concrete 9-5 working hours and less time is wasted on the commute.
It has also been proven that home based work results in increased productivity if you manage it correctly.
But by far the most important factor to consider is self-discipline.
Home-based franchises can offer the work/life balance you have always craved, as long as you set yourself some strong ground rules – the only person you can hold accountable is you.