An award-winning disabled entrepreneur on why working from home is the ideal choice
Jane Binnion has provided today’s guest post on how working from home as a disabled entrepreneur has enabled her to lead a full working and family life after many years of struggling with an office job:
Life before home working
For about 7 years I was part time employed and part time self-employed, then 3 years ago an accident left me unable to drive for a few months. During this time I made the decision to go full time self-employed, but more importantly to work from home.
I am a social media and ethical sales trainer and a single mum so it made total sense to work from home. Who needs the overheads of office rental when they’re just starting out?
Shortly before I made that decision my daughter was diagnosed as having dyspraxia, which resulted in us recognising that I do too – for many adults this is still an undiagnosed condition.
I already had speech and hearing problems, the result of a tonsillectomy gone wrong at the age of 4, and I had assumed this was the reason for some of my social difficulties, but the diagnosis of dyspraxia was the missing piece of the jigsaw.
I had always struggled with the acceptance of new rules just because the hierarchy said so! And then office politics…. what a nightmare, I just did not get it and hence it caused me stress. I also noticed that I got ill a lot.
This was all dyspraxia related. A person with dyspraxia has to work much harder than a neuro-typical person and we have a longer recovery rate.
Now life as a disabled entrepreneur suits me much better
Being self-employed and working from home I am much more in tune with my body and my health needs. When I am too tired and my co-ordination goes I know I need to take time out, lie down, or walk the dog. As an employee that option of pacing oneself just isn’t there and this meant I would just carry on until I literally dropped and was off sick.
Being dyspraxic means I have the need to move between tasks. This isn’t appreciated in the workplace but working from home as a disabled entrepreneur enables me to do this and change my environment too, ie change room and change the view. As a result of doing that I have discovered that I keep my mind fresh, which improves my productivity. I now wonder in what way an office environment is conducive to great work?
A lot of people worry that home working = isolation. I like to have the opportunity to work alone quietly, but I am also big on collaboration and have built a great team around me, so I still have all the benefits of bouncing ideas around with great people.
It is only with home working that I feel I have understood that it is possible to create a healthy balance in my life. I have overcome the need to push myself when days are a struggle. If I just take some time out I am quickly back to full ability.
I also got a (3 legged) dog so that I have to go for walks. So now, rather than sitting in dreadful rush hour traffic (what a crazy way to start your day), I walk my dog on the canal and watch nature do its thing. That is how to start your working day!
The really great thing for me is that I feel creative again. Now I can run with all those crazy ideas that managers didn’t like and I’ve just written my first children’s book – about dyspraxia. Using my creativity boosts my self-esteem and, as a friend observed just last week, I have never been more comfortable in my own skin.
Of course it has made parenting easier too. Being in charge of my own scheduling I choose when to work and when to rest in order to balance the demands of family life. So now I am home most days when my daughter gets in from school, she gets the attention she needs and the house is calmer and less stressful.
But the most amazing thing I have noticed is that in the 3 years of home working I haven’t had flu or any illness that has meant I can’t work. Home working means working in a way that suits my needs and protects my health.
I really see working from home as a good option for many people with disabilities, but it is rarely presented as such. For many people with additional needs their home is usually adapted to suit them in a way that an office isn’t and, again, if they need a lie down during the day it isn’t a problem. The freedom to schedule work around times that we are most productive, rather than 9 to 5, is so simple, yet totally inspirational.
Jane is a Lancashire-based, award winning social media and ethical sales trainer, passionate about encouraging people with disabilities to consider self-employment as a viable work option.
Do you know anyone with a disability or chronic illness who would benefit from working from home? Please share this post with them.
And if you would like to discuss the issues of disability, home working and becoming a disabled entrepreneur, you can contact Jane directly here.