By April 16, 2012 Read More →

Ditch the 9-5 when you work from home

Starting to work from home means you can create a new routine

Ditch the 9-5 when you work from homeIt’s my observation that the 9-5 ethic is deeply ingrained in us after roughly 200 years of most of the population leaving their homes each morning to ‘go out’ to work. When someone leaves a job in the workplace to work from home, it generally takes a while to fully appreciate and make use of the flexibility now at their disposal.

When I left my job at Boots to start my cleaning business, I used to feel quite shifty about being out and about whenever I chose. Retail stores had strict rules about when staff could leave the store, and they applied to me, the Personnel Officer, to some extent. It took a while after I started to work from home to get over the feeling that one day I’d be caught and hauled in front of some authority to explain myself!

I know a marketing consultant to small businesses whose clients tend to be successful corporate employees who have left their jobs to work from home doing something they are passionate about. The consultant told me she always asks them what their working day will look like and invariably they reply ‘I’m going to start work at 9, have lunch between 1 and 2, and finish at 5’.

That, of course, may perfectly suit some people, but you also have the possibility when you work from home of making up your own routine around the times of day you’re at your best, family commitments, fitness classes, shopping and many other activities.

And there’s even more flexibility at this time of year when the days are getting longer and the weather warmer (in theory) because there’s more time to work and the possibility of doing it elsewhere, including outside.

However, time management came up as the biggest challenge for home workers in my recent home working survey, and by that they usually mean working too many hours. So ditch the 9-5 if it suits you, but also make sure not to replace it with the 5 (am) to 9 (pm)!

Posted in: Routine

14 Comments on "Ditch the 9-5 when you work from home"

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  1. Sharon says:

    I plan around a 9am – 4pm work day as that’s when the kids are at school. But if a lunch offer comes along I will timeshift to work later so I can have fun. I always say I have a very understanding boss 🙂

  2. Jose says:

    As a home working employee I stick to 9-5 religiously, as the only way I can control any leakage of work into my actual life. The computer stays on in the house for general use in the evening, but in the almost 5 years I’ve done the home working thing the computer has never been used in anger beyond 5 o’clock.

    It’s definitely what suits me best, but then I’m an employee. I’d probably be different if my work circumstance changed.

    • Judy says:

      I love your use of the word ‘leakage’, Jose! I may pinch that in future, with attribution of course.

      And yes, I think maybe the 9-5 rule would get bent if you became self-employed!

  3. When I first started my business, I made the common mistake of thinking that “more means better” and regularly put in 12-14 hours days (inc. weekends). Not only did I not have any personal time, I found that I wasn’t actually that much more productive.

    Nowadays I aim for a 8-9 hour workday, but since most of my customers are based in the US (go figure!) my working day usually starts at about noon and goes on until about 9.00pm.

    I love the flexibility as it means that I have the mornings to myself to get my son ready for school, go to the gym, run errands, etc.

    • Judy says:

      Thanks, Gee, that’s a wonderful illustration of the trap many new business owners fall into, including myself. Plus a good example of how home working can fit around many other commitments.

  4. Kaitlyn says:

    I totally agree! My ideal schedule would be working from 7-12, taking two or three hours for lunch and errand running and then working for another two or three hours and being finished by 6.

  5. Don says:

    It depends on where I am in the world. If I am home it is from 9:00 to 4:00 or longer if I have a deadline. If I am on travel I work longer maybe 10-12 hrs a day, as there is nobody to come home to. I will go work out, and out to dinner, and come back and try to do more work if I need to. I find after 10 hrs my brain is pretty much fried so it sometimes is pointless to work very long hours.

  6. Judy says:

    That’s a good point – it’s tempting to work longer when there’s nobody else to accommodate/ spend time with. But that would mean people who live alone and work from home work very long hours – is that true?

  7. Louise says:

    Being a natural owl, I leave anything that requires lots of concentration to the afternoon and evening.
    So, quite often, my working day will be 12-9pm. Handily, this fits with clients who want meetings after “office hours”

  8. 1. I want your garden, Judy.
    2. I plan my day for when my Twitter followers are most interactive. I don’t work weekends unless there is a deadline and I do it in blocks of 25 minutes M-F.
    3. My priorities are getting enough sleep and eating well, so I will sleep in if I need to. Having had a full time shift job 3-midnight in a previous life, I have never done the 9-5 thing.