6 Ways to Make Working from Home Productive

Many people who work from home, such as the members of Homenet, appreciate that performance matters more than presence. These individuals achieve their career goals with considerable ease despite the location of their workplace. Few distractions and interruptions are some of the factors that make remote work the best choice for at least 65% of workers across the world. People who are more productive at home than the office know how to manage their own time without any external influence. Here are the top things that successful freelancers do that will help you to improve your productivity at home too.

Get Started Early

Many people who work in an office benefit from their morning commute that helps them to wake up early. If you work at home, you know that you are your own supervisor. While that is great and can make you productive, it has destroyed the career of many hardworking freelancers. So, one way to succeed from home is learn to transition from your pillow to your computer at the right time.

The secret is wake up early and dive into your to-do list immediately. This way, you will always get your projects started first thing in the morning. Believe it or not, if you do this, you will not prolong the breakfast or let little distractions wear away your impulse to complete it successfully. 

Select a Dedicated Work Space

Just because you are working from your home does not mean you have no freedom to have an office.  If you coop yourself in spaces that you associate with leisure, such as your couch or bedroom, be sure that you will not be as productive as you desire. For to be on the safe side, choose one room and dedicate it for your work. Alternatively, select a particular chair, table, or your car’s seat. This will help you to get your mind in the right frame at all times whenever you get into the space. 

Match Music to Your Job

Music is a powerful tool that can either reduce or increase your productivity depending on how you use it. The best playlist obviously are those that energize and act as the soundtrack of your career. If you choose one that matches the energy of your tasks, you will reap its benefits. 

Your location will not matter provided you have a portable DVD player. Some of them come with several features, such as USB ports, SD card slots, and more, that can help you to achieve whatever you want. Moreover, they are lightweight and can securely slide into a laptop case of backpack when not in use. If you want the best portable DVD player for car – karaoke bananza, you can make your orders and get the devices that you need to spur your energy.

Segment Your Work Day

Do you know you cannot do any meaningful job if you do not have breaks? The truth is the humans have the capacity to focus on particular tasks for between 90 and 120 minutes without any problems. However, after that, our scope significantly diminishes, and we need some time to recharge. Ensure you rest for about 15-to-20 minutes before you get back to work. 

Due to this unique human capacity, it is best you divide your day into 90-minute windows. With adequate breaks in between, you will be able to focus on your work throughout the duration. You also will be able to do the entire work efficiently and keep your productivity higher than those who work in the office.

Turn Off Notifications

With advanced technology comes the ability of many across the globe, including idle marketers, to seek your attention at anytime. To improve your focus, ensure your computer and phone alerts are off. Once you are done with your work, you can pop your head up and see if there is anything useful, you may have missed. Most of the notifications are always more of distractions than solutions.

Choose a Definitive Finishing Time

If you ask most people, you will be shocked that they are under the illusion working from home guarantees a healthy work-life balance. Actually, that is not true. Well-informed professionals understand that they cannot work both day and night and remain productive. Choose specific time when your alarm will indicate the end of your normal working day. Be sure to routinely close your home office then and take your time with your family and friends. 

Final Thoughts

Your working from home can offer you a competitive advantage over your counterparts in the office. As place of work in most cities continue to become more expensive by the day, people who have the skills to manage their own schedules will be better placed to maximize their profits. Homenet SEA understands this, and they are collecting and disseminating useful information on home based work, such as this one, to their valued members to increase their income. Start with the above tips and see your productivity progressively increase for your own benefit.


A Step-By-Step Guide: How to Secure a Loan to Start Your Own Business

Have you ever thought of starting your business but you don’t have the startup capital? Don’t fret! Many trusted financial lenders can help you fund your new business: starting from traditional banks to private investors among others.

However, most small business owners nowadays opt for startup business loans rather than borrowing from private investors. Startup business loans are traditional sources of small business funding where business owners can work with lenders just as they would with other business loans.

Below is a step-by-step guide of securing a loan to start your own business:

1. Review the Startup Costs You Need to Cover

When starting up your small business, there are tons of expenses you’ll have to incur. In most cases, the cost will differ depending on the kind of business you need to start.

Below are some of the apparent costs that come with a business startup:

  • Purchases of equipment like cash registers, machinery
  • Technology purchases like computers, printers
  • Initial checklist purchases
  • Permits and licenses to run your business
  • Initial office supplies
  • Business furniture

That’s not all. After paying all the initial costs, you’ll have to pay the under-way expenses such as taxes and rent as time goes by. Once you’ve understood your initial values and the recurring costs, you’re set to apply for a  loan.

2. Get Your Documents and Registrations Ready

Getting a small business loan to fund your new business can be daunting – many small business owners can attest to that. Traditional lenders are always reluctant to capitalize on a small business with no marketing history.

Below is a guide on how to secure a startup loan for your business with zero experience:

Prepare a Business Plan

Having a business plan will help in convincing lenders that you’re determined to set up your small business and that financing your startup is a significant investment. When drafting your business plan, include your financial projections and qualitative goals as a small business owner.

If you lack ideas on how to make a successful startup for your business, don’t worry. Outlined are some of the things you’ll need to do:

Register Your Startup With Your Local Government Agency

Taking a loan is like making an oath between two parties. Therefore, before lenders fund your startup, they will ascertain that you adhered to all the rules for the smooth processing of your loan.

This means that you’ve met with the official parties and acquired all the licenses and permits to set off your business.

Prepare the Necessary Documentation

Securing a loan for your small business can be difficult and time-consuming. But, you can save yourself from this hassle by getting your documents ready before applying for the loan. Such records include bank statements, personal tax returns, income statements, resume, and financial projections.  

3. Check Your Qualifications for a Startup Loan

Improve Your Credit Rating

Your credit score is critical when you need to secure a startup loan. Although some lending institutions like https://myinstantoffer.org offer pre-approved loans, they will still need a good credit score to approve your loan.

As a startup investor, you won’t have a stellar business credit history. So, lenders will have to check your credit score as a way of gauging your eligibility as a borrower.  If your credit score doesn’t qualify you as a borrower, make a step to improve it.

Review Your Annual Revenue

In most cases, for you to be permitted for any loan, lenders will require proof of consistent revenues. They will need to ascertain that you’re capable of repaying the mortgage on the agreed terms.

Too bad for a new small business owner because you’ve not made started making money yet. So, what you can always do is to bring in steady revenues every month. This will help you have consistent monthly revenues to prove your capability of paying back the loan.

Review Your Cash Flow

While lenders may not be able to monitor your cash flow – you must do so. Make sure you know the amount of cash coming in and the amount going out. As a startup, you’ll find out that the amount going out exceeds the amount into your business.

Therefore, it’s important to understand the strength of your cash flow before investing in other things outside your business startup.

4. Choose the Right Startup Loan

With the little idea, you have pertaining loan applications, you can make a better loan choice to fund your small business. Take your time so that you don’t make wrong the decision on your small business startup loan.

Equipment Financing

If you’re a new business owner, you’re probably going to incur a lot of expenses. You’ll need to make some initial purchases to keep your business on toes. Buy cash registers, computers, printers, and machinery.

Sadly, the equipment you’ll need to purchase to start your business can be costly, and you may not be able to cover for the expenses. But, with the equipment financing, you can get a startup loan to pay for these costs.

Final Thoughts

Getting a loan to start up your small business can be challenging. However, with the above guidelines, you don’t have to be torn down anymore.


Policy Advocacy and Networking

HomeNet SEA sees the need for the development of national policies on homework that “promote equality of treatment between homeworkers and other wage earners” in such areas as the right to organize, protection against discrimination, remuneration, occupational safety and health, social security protection, and training. This is mandated by the ILO Convention on Home Work, adopted in 1996 after a coordinated campaign by home-based workers’ networks, but which up to now has been ratified by only two countries – Ireland and Finland. The adoption of this Convention is significant because it means that ratifying countries will be obligated to convert their provisions into national laws. The Convention would oblige any ratifying member State to “adopt, implement and periodically review a national policy on home work aimed at improving the situation of homeworkers.” The challenge for HomeNet SEA is now on ratification and implementation of the Convention in order to translate the Convention into reality. The advocacy initiatives in the region are focused on developing the national policies in line with the ILO Convention.

In South East Asia, the financial and economic crisis of 1997 has led to growing informalisation since those who have lost employment in the formal sector have moved into informal employment thereby increasing the competition for paid work and scarce resources (i.e. Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia).

As women predominate in the informal sector, the development of appropriate informal sector policies is critical for women’s economic and social empowerment. The development of a strong information base complemented by research studies will serve as the backbone for advocacy and lobbying efforts at all levels for home-based workers to understand their own situation and for the government and the private sector to evolve appropriate policies and programmes. HomeNet SEA is also actively fostering links between relevant research institutions and experts in the region (such as Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing — WIEGO) in the hope of establishing a network of experts or fluid think tank which has as its focus, the researching and monitoring of the impact of global, regional and national economic trends on home-based workers and on women’s economic rights as a complement to the grassroots organizational work. HomeNet SEA Coordinator Rakawin Lee sits on the WIEGO Board and is active in its Organizing and Representation Committee. Representatives of the three national HomeNets attended the WIEGO Annual Meeting in Ahmedabad, India, in January 2002.

Social Protection

HomeNet SEA led a CIDA-SEAGEP-supported project on the documentation of social protection schemes in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The project aimed to collect information on existing programs of social welfare, social insurance, and social assistance among workers in the informal economy in the three countries. The project has helped the three national HomeNets to review and compare the existing social protection schemes and enabled them to draw lessons and analyze the gaps in the schemes. The project was completed in book form by the three researcher-writers: Doanoi Srikajorn ( Thailand), Hesti Wijaya (Indonesia) and Lucita Lazo ( Philippines) who also served as the editor.

HomeNet Thailand, in 2001, initiated a pilot social protection scheme in Chiangmai. The homeworkers in the area began their health insurance scheme, with 110 members contributing their own fees. The financial support from UNIFEM for the pilot project was used for administration, as well as for the preparation and training of the leaders. Prior to setting up the scheme, a working group did a feasibility study covering eight private insurance companies and three hospitals.

In the Philippines, PATAMABA has been supporting alternative and indigenous social protection schemes – Paluwagan and Damayan. In Damayan, each member contributes a certain amount when a member dies. In Paluwagan (pooled money), each member pays a certain amount, agreed upon by all the members. The pooled money is then taken alternately by the members, who draw lots to determine the first beneficiary.

In the year 2002, it was the Philippines’ turn to initiate a pilot social protection scheme with UNIFEM support. This would require actions at several levels including technical studies to outline different options for providing social protection to home-based workers; policy support to address the overall policy framework that would affect home-based workers ability to sustain such schemes; and brokering of strategic alliances between home-based workers organizations and cooperatives, government agencies and the private sector including insurance companies and business people.

In the area of research towards policy advocacy, HomeNet Thailand and PATAMABA (HomeNet Philippines) conducted a case study on the garments industry in the two countries, focusing on social protection for workers in the informal economy. The results of the case study were presented in a technical consultative workshop in April 2002 convened by the ILO-STEP, WIEGO, and the World Bank in Chamonix, France. The two Homenet SEA coordinators served as presenters and discussants in the workshop.

Leadership Training

HomeNet Southeast Asia, with support from CIDA-SEAGEP, initiated its Leadership
Training Program in 2001 to strengthen the capacity of homeworker leaders in Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The Program was designed together by a planning committee in which the three countries were represented The committee agreed on the component modules of the Program, and it was implemented in the three countries from October 2000 to April 2001.

Each national HomeNet had its own customized modules for the Leadership Training Program, covering the following areas: (1) Economic Empowerment ( business management, product development, marketing , and finance), (2) Social Protection (including social welfare and social insurance), ( 3) Policy Advocacy , and (4) Organizing and Networking.

Mapping and Other Forms of Research

Where are the homeworkers? What work do they do? For whom and with whom do they work? What resources do they have? What are their working and living conditions. their problems and needs? These are some of the questions that could be answered through mapping as a research methodology.

Homenet Southeast Asia conducted a mapping workshop on March 15-16, 2001 with the support of UNIFEM and ILO /EASMAT in Bangkok. There were about fifteen participants at the workshop, including the delegates from Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The workshop enabled the participants to understand the meaning of home-based work, the forms it takes, and the methods of data collection and analysis. involved in mapping…

Soon after the workshop, HomeNet Thailand, with the support of HomeNet International, launched its mapping exercise in May 2001, after the finalization of the survey form for all their members. The training of the homeworker leaders to collect the information was held in four regions and they completed the data collection at the end of July 2001. (For a summary of this, see HomeNet Thailand website).

HomeNet Indonesia focused its UNIFEM-supported mapping exercise on women homeworkers in the putting out system in Surabaya and Bali. The project, envisioned to form part of its membership expansion efforts in the target research areas, commenced with a planning meeting in September 2001 and ended March 2002 with the finalization of the report. (This report appears in summary form in the HomeNet Indonesia website).

In the Philippines, PATAMABA (with UNIFEM support) commenced their mapping efforts in November 2001, targeting 500 of its homeworker members in four areas: Bulacan, Rizal, Iloilo, and the National Capital Region. In addition to a survey, PATAMABA area leaders conducted focus group discussions with their members and documented best practices. An important component of the mapping project is the built-in training for PATAMABA leaders and staff in computer-based data encoding, processing, and analysis, a step forward in their own empowerment in the area of research. (For a summary of the mapping report, please see the PATAMABA website).

All three HomeNets came together in a subregional workshop in Crown Peak Hotel, Subic, Zambales, the Philippines on 19-20 October 2002 to present and learn from the results of all their mapping efforts. (See related article on the subregional workshop on sharing mapping results in the section on SUBREGIONAL AND REGIONAL MEETINGS).

The HomeNets in the region have also been involved in a number of other multi-country researches. PATAMABA and HomeNet Indonesia conducted studies on the impact of the Asian financial crisis on selected homeworkers in the garments, food and other affected industries with the support of the World Bank. HomeNet Thailand did a similar project with ILO support and recently came out with a book on the research. All three national HomeNets were also involved in a recent UNICEF study on subcontracted women and children in various manufacturing industries. In 2002, HomeNet Southeast Asia (Thailand and the Philippines) embarked on a research on social protection for informal workers in the garments industry with the support of the ILO. (See subsequent section on social protection).