Is working from home the new norm?

Posted on June 11, 2022 at 8:07 pm

Working from home in some sectors of employment has become a popular choice for companies as they recognise the advantages of having fewer employees to cater for in terms of office space. Companies have become more flexible with working hours which has greatly benefited employees trying to balance work and home life.

If you find yourself working from home on a permanent basis it can be difficult to switch off from work at the end of the day so what can we do then to ensure a good work, life balance?

Having a dedicated work area in the home is a simple way to separate work from home. A desk in a corner of the living room or a space under the stairs can function as an office and enables you to walk away from it during the day for breaks. Taking breaks for lunch and coffee just as if you are in the office is wise and may in fact make you more productive. Stepping away from your workstation to stretch your legs or even taking a lunchtime walk are all ways to bring some stress-relieving elements into your day.

Working from home does require a certain amount of self-discipline as it is easy to get distracted but keeping to set work hours can help to minimise this and help you to keep focussed through the day.

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Be sure to advertise your business when self employed

Posted on November 14, 2021 at 9:06 pm

If you are self employed then you need to take charge of your own marketing and advertising to ensure that you get work in. Unlike when you are employed, being self employed offers less security and means that if you have no work you wont be earning any money.

Although there are a number of ways in which you can advertise and market your business you may need to be careful on costs and therefore find the most effective way which will give you the best return on your investment.  Think about the products and / or services you sell and why people want them, what are the benefits they get from using them or what advantage to they offer? Once you know this you can then work out how to start to market this to your potential customers. People usually respond to advertising that shows them a solution to a problem, for example, if you sell skin care products they are buying in to the benefits that you state the products will give them such as clear, smooth skin.

If your products or services have many advantages then you should think about the main ones and target these in your advertising. If you try and target too many people may not believe you and will think you are trying to oversell a product.

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New year, new job

Posted on October 16, 2021 at 11:38 am

We are not quite at the end of the year yet but it certainly is creeping upon us. Before we know it will be Christmas and then only a week later, we will be seeing in the new year – hopefully this year in style!

A new year often gives the chance for a new start, so now may be the time to start looking for a new job if you are not happy in your current one. Finding a new job can be daunting especially ig you are going to have to hand in your notice on a secure position you already have. In the run up to Christmas, businesses are likely to start advertising more frequently for new positions so you may have a wider range of options.

Be sure to get your CV up to date with all your latest experience on. You should also have a covering letter than you can send off with your CV although this may need to be tweaked before it is sent out to each company.

There are plenty of places to search for jobs from dedicated job search websites to classified ads and social media. It may even be worth dropping in a few hard copies of your CV through the doors of any company you wish to work for.

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Is now the right time to go self-employed?

Posted on March 20, 2021 at 11:20 am

If you have been considering going self-employed but put it all on hold due to the pandemic, you may be wondering if now is the right time to make the move. The UK seems to slowly be coming out of lockdown but there are concerns as to whether we my be hit by a third wave like we have seen in many other countries. Going self employed can be risky and for some people, more tricky than others. You may have to leave a well-paid employed job to go self employed and you may also need to invest money in to the business to get it off the ground.

You need to weigh up the options you have available and work out what is best for your personal circumstances. It may be that if you are not enjoying your current job and you have the funds to go self-employed, that now would be a good time to do so. You also need to consider the industry in which you will be working. If it is within a sector that can not currently open then you may want to hold fire until you know you will be able to start bringing money in.

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Balancing home and work life

Posted on December 20, 2020 at 8:28 pm

It is always important to try and get the balance right between home and work life. If you tip the balance too much over to work then you will often find that your home life suffers because you cannot spend enough time with your family or you are too tired when you do. If you tip the balance in favour of home too much then you may not work as much as you need to and therefore not earn as much as you need to. It is unlikely you will get a promotion or pay rise if you do not even put yourself out for work I.e. working overtime when asked on some occasions.

This years has meant that lots of people home / work life have at times blended in to one. It may be that you have had to work from home and also tried to look after your child whilst taking work calls. This has not been easy for many people but as everyone was in the same situation, it didn’t matter. If possible, try and put aside time for work and then time for home life. If you are still working from home then why not set up a desk in a corner of the room or a space room so you have a dedicated work area.

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Changing career paths can be hard work

Posted on August 18, 2020 at 1:46 pm

When we are younger, it is often drilled into us that we need to know what we want to do when we are older. From the age of when you have to choose your GCSE subjects you may already be limiting your choices as certain careers require you to have very specific qualifications.

It can be hard to try and change your career choice once you have already entered the world of employment especially if you have a number of financial commitments that you need to uphold.

Teaching is one career that has changed over the years and more and more of them are leaving the profession within a few years of starting.

If you are sure that a career move is right for you then you need to assess whether you need to do any additional training or qualifications. When attending an interview, you may find that you are up against people that already have experience or qualifications in that sector so the more you can do to further yourself the better. Finding jobs that are similar to what you already do may help your chances of landing them, but you need to be sure that it is a move in to the career you think you will be happy in otherwise you will be doing it all again in the near future. 

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Worrying times for the self employed

Posted on April 15, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Being self-employed can be extremely stressful at the best of time but especially at the moment buti it can also be extremely rewarding and allow you to run your own business how you wish to but you need to have the right work ethos to be able to do it.  Some people can also make a lot of money from running their own business but you do need to have the motivation, skills and discipline to make it a success.

Currently lots of self-employed people are still unable to work so are having to rely on savings or universal credit to keep them afloat. In June many self-employed people will be getting a grant that should cover some of their earnings but this grant will be taxable and will affect tax credits / universal credits. This is bringing a lot of uncertainty about and people simply do not know what the future holds for them.

The first year or so of running your own business is often testing the water and a bit of trial and error. You will learn a lot in your first 12 months of trading but if you make changes based on the learning you have done you can often make it a success. If this is your first year, you may decide to put it on hold until after this crisis is over or use it as a time to learn and get all your business in order.

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Are you due a pay rise?

Posted on February 24, 2020 at 9:59 pm

Asking for a pay rise at work is something that many people find quite hard, but if you are given it, it may make your financial situation a lot better.

There are many reasons as to why it may be the right time for you to ask for a pay rise such as end of a trial period, increase in workload, additional qualifications gained or simply because you feel you are a valued member of the team and work hard.

Many people get very nervous about asking for an increase in their salary, but the truth is that if you have a valid reason why, you should not be anxious about asking. Unfortunately, some employers will not offer you a pay rise meaning that you having to ask for it. Before you do this you should make a note of what you would like to achieve in terms of salary and / or benefits and reasons why you believe you should be entitled to these.  If you can, be specific, give your employer examples of how you have helped the company gain business or gone above and beyond the call of duty. It may be that you constantly work late for no extra money or you have saved the company lots of money by making procedures quicker.

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Should you use an accountancy firm for your own business

Posted on October 31, 2019 at 10:41 am

If you are self employed or run your own business, then you need to decide if you are going to do your own accounts or use an accountancy firm or a self-employed bookkeeper/ accountant.

Depending on how large your business is and how complicated may mean that you will struggle to do all the accounting yourself. If you have a lot of accounting, it may even be worth employing someone to look after this side of the business for you even if it’s only on a part time basis. You may have employees and therefore also must manage a payroll which can be a bit of a nightmare unless you have the experience in doing so.

There are a number of bookkeepers and accountancy firms out there that will do as much or as little as you want them to do so if you want to do all the accounting yourself but then have them audit you every few months to check that you are doing it correctly you can. You may decide it is worth paying the extra and have them to manage the whole thing, so you literally send all your invoices to them for them to input. They can also manage VAT returns as corporation tax and dividends.  They may well charge by the hour, but you can usually ask for a fixed monthly cost.

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Working more than one job at a time

Posted on June 10, 2019 at 10:03 pm

Almost all of us have to work to allow us to pay the bills. People are often having to work longer hours in order to stay afloat and with job security, always a concern for many of us, you may consider getting two or more jobs.

It may be that you want to earn money fast and cannot find a full time job that pays enough. You may decide to take two part time jobs in order to make up your wage. Some people even decide to do a full time job and then additional work at the weekend of even in the evening. This is not ideal and it may be that you are working more hours than you are supposed to. It can have a serious knock on effect on your health and wellbeing. 

When considering working two or more jobs there are some points you should consider. Some employers will state in their terms of employment that you are not allowed to work for another company without their prior permission. If they find out you are working for another company you may find yourself sacked under gross misconduct.  You may also be taxed on both jobs, or have your tax free allowance used on one job so the other job you pay tax on every penny you earn. 

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