September 22, 2017

Self Employment After Redundancy

I was recently made redundant from my job of five years and after being in employment over the last 20 years, I was feeling angry and resentful.

I was angry that my current employer at the time did not seem to value the work and dedication I had given the company over the past five years. And I was resentful that other jobs were not targeted for redundancy.

Like most people do when they are out of a job, I immediately started sending out my CV (resume) and scanning the job market for the next career move.

But nothing happened as quickly as I had expected given my experience and so my frustration grew. But then I began to re-evaluate my actions. And I decided to be a bit more proactive rather than reactive. My job was a Document Controller in a property development firm specialising in the retail sector. As Document Controller, I was the first point of contact for information coming in and going out of the company’s Design Department.

I began to think that given my skills in information management and working with extranet systems over the internet, I could easily adapt to working online from home and not have to endure the daily commute and put up with poor public service.

But working from home has many advantages and disadvantages that must be considered before embarking on this road. As you are now responsible for your work output and there is no one to monitor your performance there has to be a discipline about what you do.

There are a lot of advantages in working from home:

No commute on public transport or motorways, caught in the daily commuter stress.
Save on the cost of travel, wardrobe, and lunches everyday.
You are removed from the workplace politics.
Life can be less stressful as you fit work around your life, rather than life around your work.
Work at times which suit you best, when you are most productive.
Reduced carbon foot print on the environment. Less burden on public transport and commuter routes.
Businesses save money by requiring less office space to accommodate staff.

With all these good reasons for opting to work from home, there are also some disadvantages which need to be considered if you want to seriously consider working from the spare room from your home.
Loss of contact with colleagues in an office environment.
Risk of losing out on career opportunities due to less visibility in an office environment.
Limited visibility of your work habits. Are working or out playing golf?
Loss of routine from going to an office environment could affect your productivity.
Maintaining discipline to ensure the DIY or housework chores do not get in the way of work output.
Managing expectations from family members. They may think once you are at home, your time is free time and no work gets done.
And, if you can make the shift in your thinking of not having to go to a place outside the home to market your services, you may well find that working out of the home just might work for you. But you need to also look at the other parts of the total process which contribute to the overall work experience; getting ready to go to work, catching the train or taking the car, meeting up with colleagues. All these may not be essential to doing the work but are all part of the ritual.

If these are important for you to produce your best, then you may need to reconsider. I found that the longer it took for me to find a job in an office environment, my routine was adjusted and the rituals I did as part of my work experience seem irrelevant now for me to produce my best work. And going back to an office environment now is definitely not worth considering.

Working from your home maybe a big step from the security of an employer and a regular wage. But the wage may not be guaranteed for any length of time.