Published : 30 December 2015
The way in which we work in Australia has changed dramatically over the decades - and this has always affected where and how we live. As we move into 2016, we are likely to see a steady rise in the number of people working from home, increasing the need to create a proper work / home balance.
In the 1950s there was a very clear work pattern in Australia. After suffering through the Great Depression and World War II, the country was suddenly prosperous. Men went to work and the majority of women concentrated on family and domestic duties. The home was just that.
As we moved through the following decades, more women took up careers and, while some workers started commuting to work, most worked locally in jobs expected to last until retirement.
Fulfil your dreams
How that has changed in recent years. Having a 'job for life' barely exists anymore and increasing redundancies has seen people either changing career direction or starting their own business.
They say being made redundant can be a blessing and many would agree, as it has pushed them to fulfil that long-held dream of being their own boss.
And with increasing support from government for small and medium-sized businesses - SMBs - this trend is likely to continue through 2016 and beyond.
Many SMB owners live on-site - or even run the business from home - and more than ever, this has created a need for balance. Anyone who works from home knows how easy it is to just keep working through the evening, or weekend, because "I'm there anyway".
Remember to have YOU time
Suddenly the lines become blurred between work and home, work and play. Putting time and effort into your business isn't a bad thing - but it does need to be managed so that you incorporate family time and, most importantly, YOU time.
Here are a few tips to help you achieve that balance.
If you live on the same site as your business - but in a separate residence - try and keep it that way! Leave work paperwork and tools in the office and don't bring them home. If necessary, you can always 'go into the office' if you have to.
Working from home
If your business is actually run from your home, create a defined work space and stick to it. Try and create a timeframe, where you switch off the computer at a certain time and do something non-work related. Try and avoid eating your meals in your work space.
In just the same way you take time off as an employee, you need to still do that as the boss. The temptation is to keep working because "if I don't do it, nobody else will". Certainly, as a SMB owner, you do need to put in the extra effort because, at the end of the day, YOU responsible and YOU win or lose. But if you drive yourself to exhaustion, you're no good to anyone!
Learn to delegate or outsource
For SMB owners, outsourcing is a brilliant idea. You probably can't afford to hire HR managers, finance directors, PR staff and so on. And you don't need them full-time. So find out about outsourcing to 'virtual staff'. That way you get professional staff for a fraction of the cost.