From the outsider’s perspective, working from home probably seems like the ideal set up. You don’t have to worry about the daily commute or office politics, you have flexibility over your working hours, and you can freely work in your pyjamas if the mood strikes. The laptop lifestyle most certainly has its perks.

But while there are health benefits of working from home, such as reduced stress and more sleep, it can equally become harmful to your mental wellbeing if you don’t look after yourself properly.

Loneliness and social isolation top the list of issues faced by homeworkers. Freedom away from colleagues creating distractions may feel like a good thing at first, but this lack of social interaction can be detrimental to your mental health, productivity and general wellbeing.

Further to this, by working from home you’re at risk of blurring the boundaries between your home-life and work-life, which can interfere with your ability to truly relax and turn ‘work mode’ off during your free time.

Occupational health specialist Gail Kinman advises homeworkers to, “avoid being ‘always on’, as downtime is essential for mental and physical health and effectiveness at work,” adding that, “a lack of boundaries between work and personal life (physical and psychological boundaries) can prove a challenge.”

Following on from Gail’s recommendations, here are a few more tips for staying happy and healthy when working from home.

Create a dedicated ‘home office’

By setting up a dedicated space in your home to act as your ‘home office’, it will maintain a clear segregation between your job and your personal life. Working from your bed may be the cosy option, but by doing so you’re at risk of developing a sub-conscious association between a place that is supposed to be relaxing and the stresses of work.

Creating a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing workspace away from your bed or sofa will do wonders for your productivity and creativity as well. Factors such as an ergonomic chair, a tidy, clutter-free desk, and a calming colour-scheme can all positively contribute to your mood, focus and motivation.

Interior designer Catchy Phillips explains that, “having everything in its place, and furniture arranged in a pleasing and practical way, will make for a calming environment. If you can’t find what you need, or you can’t reach that all important file, your mood is bound to be affected.”

Stick to your morning routine

You’d be amazed how much something as simple as having a shower and getting dressed can alter your mindset and prepare you for your day ahead. The temptation to bypass the morning routine is understandable when you don’t have plans to leave the house, but an invigorating shower and a clean set of clothes will leave you feeling refreshed and energised. On top of that, opening the door to the postman needn’t be an embarrassing experience if you’re not sporting your PJs at midday – save this for the weekend!

Set a routine, so that you wake up at around the same time each morning and get ready as though you’re leaving for the office. One of the luxuries of working from home is flexibility but sticking to a rough routine will help you avoid too much procrastination, which can leave you feeling lethargic and demotivated.

Arrange to see friends and family

Research from Acas found that around a fifth (20 percent) of homeworkers often feel socially isolated – a worrying statistic considering more people are telecommuting today, than ever before.

If you spend long hours glued to your desk, make the effort to arrange regular plans to see friends and family throughout the week. It can be as quick as a coffee in a local café or joining a friend on their lunch break from work. Just a short period of social interaction each day is sure to give you an emotional boost.

Stay active

Desk jobs can encourage sedentary lifestyles, which can not only have negative consequences for your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing. For those whose jobs don’t require you to get up and about, it’s crucial that you’re proactive about fitting some sort of exercise into your day.

If your arrangement allows for flexible working hours, why not incorporate an exercise class or morning trip to the gym into your routine? If the gym isn’t your cup of tea, a jog or brisk walk around the block will provide you with a healthy hit of fresh air and mood boosting endorphins.

Gail says that the key to maintaining good mental health is, “taking regular breaks away from the computer, preferably in a different environment and doing something different to what you do in your job, for example going for a walk.”

Introducing a canine companion to the home is a great way of encouraging yourself to get out of the house and exercise, as they need their daily walks as much as you do. Dogs also provide fantastic company if the feelings of loneliness creep in too.

Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy food

Having the kitchen in arm’s reach is both a blessing and a curse. If you buy lots of sugary or salty snacks, it’s likely you’ll give into the temptation and develop unhealthy habits, whereas stocking your fridge with the ingredients to make a healthy lunch will keep your energy levels up and your body nourished. A healthy body equals a healthy mind, after all.

 

By incorporating a few of these pointers into your routine, you’re sure to reap the benefits of working from home, while staying happy and healthy. For more tips on creating your home office heaven, you can also take a look at this article.


Confessions of an Entrepreneur is a series of events run by Leaders in Heels that showcases stories of entrepreneurs who have gone through hardships and difficulties of launching and growing their business. Some were wildly successful, while others failed. You’ll get to hear both sides of the story for a change!

Our first event is on Tuesday April 12 at 6:30pm, and we have four amazing entrepreneurs telling their stories on the night. Sound interesting? Purchase your tickets here!

To give you a taste, we’ve asked each of our speakers a series of questions about themselves, and a teaser of what they’ll be sharing on the night. We’ve previously interviewed Elyse Daniels of Exodus Wear, Yifat Shirben of ILoveThisBox.com.au who is now an entrepreneurial marketer, and Ben Wong of Academy Xi.

Our final speaker for the event is Sasha Peakall, a “Biz Overwhelm Buster Coach” and Facebook Ads Strategist for Type A Biz Chicks and recovering perfectionists.

In 2014 she left behind a comfortable life and comfortable Marketing Management job for an Australian tour company and moved to Laos with her partner to manage a school building project, consult for Fair Trade Laos and pursue adventures in business in an undeveloped country.

Briefly describe what you do during the week.

Call me a workaholic but I spend most of my time at my computer writing blog posts, refining my sales funnel, tweaking Facebook Ads and interacting in my Facebook Group for Type A Biz Chicks. I love my work, it feels like half science and half art, two things that absolutely fascinate me. So work never feels like a chore (though I must admit some things can be a bit tedious, like getting on top of the latest social media trend!).

When I’m not cooped up in my home office I love to roam free in the outdoors.  I try to go for a long walk or bicycle ride daily, it’s my daily therapy! It helps me work my through challenges and just give my mind some room to breath and be fully present in the moment!

Why do you love doing what you’re doing?

As a self confessed Type A Biz Chick and perfectionist in recovery I know how hard it can be to get ahead when your Type A tendencies and perfectionism keep holding you back from taking action (because you tell yourself it won’t be perfect or it will fail).

What I love about what I do is that I get to support other Type A Biz Chicks on a daily basis. I help them get past being so “Type A”, take the leap to take imperfect action and make smart decisions about their marketing priorities and use of time.

It lights me up when I hear the chicks I’ve worked with had a major breakthrough, or they just feel so supported and understood when dealing with business challenges.

There are so many different aspects that go into creating a successful business and I just love the process of discovery, experimenting and creativity that goes into every hour of my work.

What will your confession be about… without spilling the beans?

In 2014 I moved to Laos. I told myself I moved to Laos to be with my husband. I told myself I moved to Laos to run my non-profit to improve education and employment opportunities in rural villages.

But, the reality of why I moved to Laos will surprise many. I seemed to have it all, a god job, with great pay, amazing travel perks and a good lifestyle. Even so, that just wasn’t enough to stop me from moving to Laos, the least developed country in South East Asia.

Like-minded people were hard to come by. A good coffee was hard to come by. Fast wi-fi was non-existent. Running water came out of my taps… sometimes.

My year and a half in Laos taught me more about achieving business success then studying at TAFE, then trying and failing at starting up many businesses in the past. It taught me more than I learned in my years in marketing management and consulting and more then I learned in the countless business coaching courses I enrolled in.

I’ve lived in China and travelled 25+ countries. But it was from the Lao people, the most laid-back culture I’ve ever come across (some would say the most lazy culture), that I discovered surprising secrets of success that all biz chicks can learn from!

How did you grow as a result of it?

You can’t move to such an undeveloped country as Laos and return unchanged! Laos was a challenge to live in, to say the least. It tested my resilience, my tolerance and my stress levels! I discovered skills, talents and strengths I never knew I had and I uncovered the weaknesses and self-saboteurs that were holding me back.

Not only did it change my approach to life and business, it profoundly changed my understanding of people and mindset – which really comes in handy when you run a coaching business!

And most of all, living in Laos has made me so much more appreciative of everything I have, the opportunities I have available to me, my ability to as a women be a leader in business and my community.  These were all things I took for granted until I experienced what the alternative really felt like!

If Sasha’s teasers about her life-changing trip to Laos has intrigued you, pick up a ticket to Confessions of an Entrepreneur and get the full story!

Confessions of an Entrepreneur is a series of events run by Leaders in Heels that showcases stories of entrepreneurs who have gone through hardships and difficulties of launching and growing their business. Some were wildly successful, while others failed. You’ll get to hear both sides of the story for a change!

Our first event is on Tuesday April 12 at 6:30pm, and we have four amazing entrepreneurs telling their stories on the night. Sound interesting? Purchase your tickets here!

To give you a taste, we’ve asked each of our speakers a series of questions about themselves, and a teaser of what they’ll be sharing on the night. We’ve previously interviewed Elyse Daniels of Exodus Wear, and Yifat Shirben of ILoveThisBox.com.au who is now an entrepreneurial marketer.

Today, we’re talking with Ben Wong, a co-founder of Academy Xi. Academy Xi is a digitally focused education campus that career transforming courses for individuals wanting to expand their knowledge and skills in design, business and technology. Prior to this Ben developed and managed the admission team at General Assembly Asia Pacific. He has worked across a number of startups like Hire a Human, Lets fit and Lokii app.

Ben-wong-pBriefly describe what you do during the week.

Routine is key, something I’m still fine tuning. I set my alarm for 5:45 am switch on the light. I jump in shower, eat some breakfast and then do a 10 minute meditation. Clearing your head sets you up for a successful day.
Gym time is at 6:45am, then I finish up, coffee in hand and in the office by 7:45am. Within the first 15 minutes, I scan for important emails, check meetings for the day and then read my tasks. I use tools like Trello to manage my tasks and envision what I want to get done that day and how. I’ll usually have about 3 hours of meetings a day, combined with some catch-ups with my team. The rest of my day is emails, discussing partnerships and strategising for new opportunities. I find when I time my tasks, I’m more efficient, otherwise I get pulled into unimportant activities.
Every day is different, I meet with amazing people who share our vision and have a fantastic team to support me.

Why do you love doing what you’re doing?

I never knew what I wanted to do in life, now I get to empower people through education. I can change the world by giving people the knowledge and tools to make impact.

What will your confession be about… without spilling the beans?

I returned more than half of my investment ($55,000) to the investor of my 1st startup. But… why?

How did you grow as a result of it?

It changed the startups I decided to work on, and who I worked with, forever. Money is crucial, but it’s not success. Vision and passion is key.

If Ben’s teasers about returning investment capital has intrigued you, pick up a ticket to Confessions of an Entrepreneur and get the full story!

In a world that is changing faster than ever before, the idea of getting an education, picking up a corporate job and then retiring early is now becoming a distant fairy tale for many people.

With technology becoming more advanced, as well as the increase in outsourcing and hiring overseas, experts such as Bill Gates are now predicting 50% of jobs will vanish over the coming decade. Many roles such as receptionists, call centres, accountants and real estate agents may vanish, leaving millions across the globe looking for a new direction or career path.

These financial changes and stresses are affecting everyone, as many once high paying jobs are slowly being slashed. We are also seeing salary growth at its lowest in 20 years, resulting in families feeling the pinch as the price of goods and services goes through the roof.

For many, retirement has been pushed back 20 years due to the shaky super funds that saw people lose everything in the last crisis in 2009. Sadly, it is also being suggested that a couple will need a combined savings of 2-3 million dollars to happily retire.

In fact, the financial expert Robert Kiyosaki (author of best-ever selling wealth book “Rich Dad Poor Dad) believes 2016 may be a year of the greatest depression in history.

All of these factors above may mean more financial pressure and expectations placed on women as they may need to work harder and earn higher in order to keep their families afloat and thriving. Research shows that the number of ‘stay at home mums’ will decrease and a women’s role will increase further from not only mother and caregiver, to also being a monetary contributor/provider. In addition, an increasing number of young families are being forced to live with family members due to the high cost of purchasing a home. More grandparents are now playing a larger part in bringing up their grandchildren, as both parents work longer hours in order to survive.

Research shows that the number of ‘stay at home mums’ will decrease and a women’s role will increase further from not only mother and caregiver, to also being a monetary contributor/provider.

Despite all of this, it is not all doom and gloom! The good news is that the power of social media and the Internet has opened up more opportunities for entrepreneurial women – who I foresee thriving in the decades to come. In fact, an increasing amount of female leaders are stepping up, launching and running companies and leading the way across the globe. Like the story of the 4-minute mile (no one had ran a mile in under 4 minutes but once someone had, everyone started running at the pace), I believe we will see a wave of female entrepreneurial success.

Industries such as direct sales, which have produced more 6 figure female earners than any other industry, will continue to thrive. EBay selling, blogs, boot camps and websites will also create thousands of jobs and incomes for innovative thinkers. The exciting part about business today is you can easily turn your passion into a career by selling information, tutorials, books or mentoring in any field.

Like the story of the 4-minute mile (no one had ran a mile in under 4 minutes but once someone had, everyone started running at the pace), I believe we will see a wave of female entrepreneurial success.

Make no mistake–we are facing scary times ahead, but this fear can create an action to unlock the greatest potential in us all, an action we may never have taken had we been left feeling comfortable. It’s an exciting time to be alive for the thinkers and the go-getters, and for many women, this just may be a very exciting time ahead.

Featured Photo Credit: Pixabay

Dave-N-BNW-_MG_4818-copyDave Nelson is a successful entrepreneur, speaker and director who specialises in mentoring Gen Y’s to 6 figure salaries. He is the Author of “The New Era of Network Marketing” and a director of YOR Health. For more information, please see facebook.com/officialdavenelson or http://davenelson.tv/


You’ve worked for years on your home business, at first perhaps on your lap, then at the kitchen table, and then finally in the “spare room” that has been designated the “home office”. But thankfully, your business has grown, and with it, the need for more space.

So what do you do now that your business requires more room for additional meeting spaces for clients and working areas for additional employees? Here are 7 suggestions for expansion when you’ve outgrown your home office, and need more space.

1. Weigh up the pros and cons of buying property for your business premises

Naturally, this is a fairly big step in the life of your business, as you’ll finally have a physical space that is not related to your home at all. You’ll be able to properly split your home life from your work life! But remember to weigh up the pros and cons of buying commercial property. A definite pro would be the growth of your business’ asset portfolio, but a con would be that it would require a substantial outlay of funds that won’t negatively impact your business.

2. Weigh up the pros and cons of leasing property for your business premises

This is definitely the more affordable option, in terms of preliminary outlay, but again, leasing property comes with its own set of cons, one of them being the restrictions your lease term puts on your business growth, should you again need to expand and add room.

Whether you decide to buy or lease property, make sure you know what you’re in for. Have a checklist handy to ensure you are setting up your new premises correctly to avoid nasty – and costly – surprises down the track.

You’ll be able to properly split your home life from your work life!

3. Do your research via reputable commercial property sites and agents

You cannot afford to skip this step. Check out sites like Commercial Property Guide (CPG), which lists commercial property by sale or lease, and even helps you find an agent. It will be invaluable information while you’re in the crucial decision-making stage of the process.

4. Ask yourself what you want out of your office

Now that your office isn’t in the back room of your home, you are free to think about the space as purely used for professional purposes i.e. doesn’t house a sofa bed for visiting out-of-towners. You will need to consider the location and the commute you’re willing to do, meeting or breakout rooms, zoning etc.

Whether you decide to buy or lease property, make sure you know what you’re in for.

You’ll also need to consider how you will make that shift from a home office to an actual office space. Do you want to maintain the casual, laid-back environment so often found in home businesses, or will this office move signal a newer, more professional feel for your fledgling business? You might need to re-evaluate how your employees present themselves at work, in which case the importance of presentation skills in your new workplace becomes paramount to success in your new environment.

5. Get expert advice from people in the Commercial Property industry

It would be beneficial for you to meet with people well versed in insurance, legal and finance regarding commercial property. The Australian Government has a range of resources specifically catered to new business and CPG offers an Ask Ed service, which has been designed to assist you with every aspect of your business move.

You’ll also need to consider how you will make that shift from a home office to an actual office space.

6. Consider shared office space

A shared office space (i.e. an executive suite scenario, where you are sharing a floor with another business) means you share meeting areas, phone systems and, in some cases, a receptionist who looks after all businesses in your area. This may cut costs, and, if the business is in the same industry or complementary industry as yours, you will be that much closer to new business colleagues.

 7. And finally, consider why you need new office space

Why you’re considering new office space will help you figure out what kind of new space your business needs to be in. For many, it’s because your business has grown so much that the extra space is handy for new employees and added clients, but if you’re merely after nice meeting rooms for your clients then perhaps a complete move to new offices might not be the best answer. Be clear about what you want, and what you and your business can afford now.

Featured photo credit: roeyahram via photopin cc

This article was written in collaboration with Commercial Property Guide.

EricaEnriquezPhotoErica Enriquez
Erica is a Sydney-based writer and digital marketer, and can often be found pounding away on a keyboard, writing about everything from travel, lifestyle, well-being and anything in between. When she is not writing, she is STILL writing, developing copy and content for websites and marketing collateral. Erica is passionate about film, literature and culture (high brow and low brow), as well as pro-social causes supporting cultural engagement (counting travelling as one of them). In her spare time, she loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book, go for a nice dinner with friends or spend time with her partner.


The story behind the Inspiring Beauty Academy out in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs is just as inspiring as its name. It’s the tale of two women with a passion for massage and beauty, of setbacks and injuries and redundancies, and two paths that eventually converged into a successful beauty academy in May this year.

When I talk to Natalie and Robyn, the founders of Inspiring Beauty Academy, the rapport and friendship between them is obvious.

“I haven’t met anyone else with whom I have as much mutual respect towards,” Robyn says when I ask why they partnered with each other.

Natalie agrees. “We clicked. We had the same ideals, and passions. There’s definitely a large element of mutual respect, and I knew Robyn would support this venture 100%.”

Not that it was an easy road. Robyn and Natalie have been working in the industry for years. Natalie started her career in a day spa before being asked if she’d like to give teaching a go. Robyn, on the other hand, started off as a remedial masseuse.

“I loved it,” Robyn tells me. “I always had a passion for massage. Then I was injured, and I wasn’t able to continue.” But there’s a buoyancy in her voice that belies her words. “Natalie and I met when we worked together at a community centre doing training programs,” Robyn explains. “We worked together for two years, until the centre was taken over.”

Natalie’s department was one of the first to be cut. She found herself out of work, with a family to support. Then Kerry Atherton from Answers2Hair rang.

“I actually thought it was for a job as a beauty trainer,” Natalie tells me, laughing. “But it was actually an offer to sub-lease a beauty training school!”

I ask what made her decide to jump in. After all, running your own business can be risky and requires far more work than being an employee.

“I could see there was a gap in the industry,” Natalie says. “There were no other beauty training facilities in the area. The only option was the big institutions in the city, and what I call conveyor-belt training.” She pauses, and with her next words it’s clear how much she truly cares for all those she teaches. “Many of the students who needed that one-on-one attention really struggled. So when Kerry offered me the opportunity, I took it.”

Of course, the first thing Natalie did was ask Robyn if she’d like to partner with her in starting up this school.

It wasn’t an easy choice for Robyn, however. “I was in a stable job, and I had my family to think about. I knew what I wanted to do, but there’s always that fear of the unknown.” After much agonising, she decided to take the plunge. “And having done this, I know I wouldn’t be able to work in a role like my previous job again!” she concludes.

Not that running their own business has been easy. Getting funding was one of their biggest challenges.

“We went to so many banks,” Robyn says. “Some didn’t get back to us, while others wanted a lot more paperwork and detailed proposals.” She laughs. “All we had was a scrap paper of our costs!”

“So it was incredibly encouraging when we talked to Carly from ANZ, and she was genuinely enthusiastic about what we wanted to do,” Natalie says. “ANZ were doing their $1 Billion Lending Pledge to lend to small businesses, and our loan was approved.”

“We were so excited when we heard we got finance, there may have been tears!”

I ask if getting finance was the end of their problems. Their amusement is palpable.

“We’ve definitely had some ‘oh my God’ moments,” Natalie tells me. “There’s also the long hours, not to mention the marketing and getting our name out there.”

“Natalie’s amazing at pounding the pavement and promoting us,” Robyn adds. “I don’t know how she does it!”

But both of them agree that despite some hairy moments, they never had any doubts. “Though these past four months have been a huge learning curve, everything’s flowed really well,” Natalie says. “Sometimes you just have to say ‘It is what it is’. Face the problem, and then move on.”

When I express my amazement at how they’ve managed to make their business such a success in a short four months, they are quick to point out that they haven’t done it alone.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of my family,” Natalie said, and Robyn echoes the sentiment. “They’ve never told me to give up on this, even though we work long hours, six days a week.”

It’s not only their families who are behind them. “Kerry from Answers2Hair also helped us a lot,” Robyn continued. “She’s so experienced, and her support and guidance this whole time has been invaluable.”

Seeing how far they’ve already come on their own journey, I end our chat by asking them where they see themselves in the future. Do they have any plans for growth, to become a more personalised rival to the big academies in the city?

“Not at all,” Natalie says. “We don’t want to be the next big school. Our goal is to keep it small and boutique—but saying that, we want to have students graduate from our academy and have others see them and say, ‘I want to train where they trained!’ And we want to be viable and sustainable, of course.”

“We wouldn’t mind being able to employ another trainer as well,” Robyn adds. “That would leave us free to focus on marketing and compliance.”

“And stop working six days a week!” Natalie says emphatically, and they both laugh. “I miss having normal hours and five-day weeks!”

“Me too,” Robyn agrees. “But you know what? I don’t regret a thing.”

This post was supported by ANZ, who have upped the ante this year and are in market with a $2 Billion Lending Pledge for new small businesses. If you’re also thinking about pursuing your passion and starting your own business, Leaders in Heels is hosting a live Twitter Q&A on Wednesday 29 October at 7pm, with experts from ANZ who can help you on your way. Follow #SBChat to get expert tips.

This article is sponsored by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited ABN 11 005 357 522 (ANZ). The views and recommendations that are made in this document are those of the author and interviewees, and not ANZ.