Our new columnist Debbee Dale passes on her expert advice to those currently working from home or thinking about homeworking.

When we look for ways to avoid the hassle of a commute – cost, crowds, delay and noise – many of us think we might prefer to work from home.

Indeed, some of us are good in our own space – self-motivated and with no need for office banter. Others may find homeworking lonely. It may even make them procrastinate, lose their work ethic or lack motivation.

I have been involved with homeworkers for many years and often ask them about their ups and downs – both the personal side of working from home and the business part of it. When I work from home I treat my home office as separate from my living space, giving me more focus and, I think, making me more ‘businesslike’.

I recently talked to some people at an overseas conference who had never worked in this way before and who were looking for some direction. With that in mind, I would like to share some points that may be worth considering.

1 Get your working space sorted. Think seriously about your environment. You don’t want to be looking at what needs to be done in the house; you need to be thinking about work. Treat your home office as a separate place, a place where you can close the door when work is over and switch on to home life.

2 Get ready for work! It sounds lovely to be able to work in PJs, doesn’t it? But the reality is you should be work-ready – confident and assertive. Should business come knocking at the door, you need to be ready to deal with it.

3 Ensure that people know you are working. That means no neighbours popping in for coffee (unless they arranged a coffee to book their holiday!), and no home phone in your office: business only. If you have chores to do or family to see to, make sure it is on your task list with a timeframe. Think about it: that ‘five minutes’ could easily become an hour away from focusing on work.

4 Consider your priorities. What do you need to get done in your working day/week/month? Plan it well – or less important things may take over your time. Are you spending time on what will bring in the business? That’s a question that often needs asking!

5 Where are you generating your business from? If you are being fed leads from a company, then great. But it shouldn’t stop you also looking for your own business. If your presence is on social media, are you getting enough engagement? Is your website up to date? Is your phone number prominent in any type of advertising you have? Are you out and about in your own community? The more you are known as the ‘travel expert’ locally, the more on-your-doorstep business you will generate. Think about local clubs, schools, businesses; we all travel. Don’t let those closest to you go elsewhere!

There are many things to think about when homeworking, but these points should help to remind you if you are already working from home – and offer food for thought if you’re considering it!

Debbee Dale provides consultancy, training and coaching for businesses, and has designed award-winning online training solutions for ACE (Association of Cruise Experts, now CLIA), Norwegian Cruise Lines and Hurtigruten.