The economy is creaking slowly upwards but it is not out of the woods yet. And that means more people joining the flexible working revolution – even if it’s involuntarily.

Taking redundancy and becoming self-employed will be tempting and the idea of working from home possibly even more so.

I did it seven years ago and I can remember my first reaction: whoopee! No early alarm call, no more sweaty, daily commute and – best of all – I decide how I manage my work-time and family, not my boss.

Businesses are less blinkered about ‘teleworking’ than they used to be. So you may already have experienced working away from the traditional office. But the odd day working from home is not the same as being there full-time.

So before you go ahead, consider the downsides as well as the up. It’s not for everyone. Here are some tips to find out whether you’re suited.

Reconsider if you’re the type who:

  • Will get up late given half the chance
  • Is easily distracted by household chores or daytime TV
  • Doesn’t like working unsocial hours
  • Enjoys other people’s company
  • Lacks organisation and discipline
  • Finds it difficult to put time aside for yourself
  • Can’t switch off between work and home life.

If you think you can hack all that and you’re ready to work from home, make the right preparations.

Be prepared

  • Make sure you’re properly insured
  • Check there’s nothing against home working in your mortgage or tenancy agreement
  • Pick a room that’s quiet and kitted out with all you need
  • Invest in the most up-to-date software including firewalls, anti-spam and a dual back-up system
  • Create a support network of local suppliers for IT, admin, couriers etc
  • Set aside times for work that the family must respect
  • Don’t get sloppy – dress as if you’re going to work.

Working from home is a cost-effective way of starting in business but it is not the only place to work. Mixing home with the use of a serviced office, professional meeting room or virtual office provider can sometimes be the best of all worlds.