The same cannot be said for those who have pursued self employdom here in France. Many of us would love to do a 35 hour week. I feel sure that some do, and quite right too.
But the reality is, particularly for British expats living and working in France, is that our working week extends way beyond 35 hours. Certain factors contribute to that. Some have businesses that involves travel. Getting to a client could involve some distance, and therefore some time, especially in rural France. Although good to note here, that we can get to a client that is 25km away in that time. Back in my Brighton days, it would take 25 minutes to cover 5 miles!
British expats are not very good at taking a 2hour lunch breaks either. I for one struggle to take a full hour. If I do, it's once a week to do the weekly shop. I choose to do this at 12pm on a Thursday because I know that it will be quiet, as I witness French employees zooming by in their cars back to home base for their lunch and secondly it's double points at the super market.
I admire the French muchly for taking time out to enjoy lunch. I can count on one hand the number of times I have participated in this daily ritual during a working year. My first encounter was in Cahors last year. I was fascinated at how busy the restaurant was, it was of excellent quality, the menu was varied. There were business people, tourists, and those happy to dine alone all enjoying their 4 course lunch with such ease.
Back to work!
Working from home for many ladies in France, particularly with those who work via the PC, such as myself, can be quite lonely. There are very few cafes, regular networking is not an option and chores outside of the home are planned with military precision so that you can make sure that trips to the bank, post office and your weekly shop are done at the same time.
Having said all that, working from home in France can be a real joy. When the sun is shining, you have more flexibility over your working week and if you want to have a Wednesday afternoon off, because the sun is beckoning, you can. Let's not forget those French bank holidays, 12 in fact and 4 of them occur in May.
There's one particular group that helps keep 1000+ ladies in France connected and offers a fair dollop of sanity should you find mid week that you have neither spoken to anyone other than your significant other or your members of your family. Ladies in Business in France [a private Facebook group] has been running for over a year and provides a resource for ladies who run their own business in France, from starting up to everyday questions about running a business.
This week is Working from Home Week in the UK, so I thought I would ask fellow female business owners in France what their top tips are for working from home:
- Work in your pyjamas!!!
- Don't constantly check emails.
- Plan certain times in the day and that leaves you free to focus on the work in hand.
- Start the day with breakfast in bed and then a 2 hour lunch break.
- Keep a list.
- Keep going.....even when it feels like everything is going belly up....stick in there and it will get better....
- Don't let people know that you work from home, phone calls/popping in for coffee etc. They say "well it's only me" but times that by everyone!
- Stay off Facebook.
- It is also a good idea to move around a bit, not keep sitting for hours in front of the pc getting square eyes and a squashed flat backside!
- Get a dog so it gets you out of the house at least once a day.
- Make sure you can't see your kitchen or laundry room otherwise you are always thinking 'I should clean that' or 'put that load on' etc.
- Make sure you have plenty of milk in!
- Treat it like a normal work day: get up the same time, shower and get dressed. Ideally you would have made a list the night before. Stop every 50 minutes to take a break just for 5 minutes and make sure you.concentrate on what you planned to do not what arrives in your inbox that day.
- Keep smiling working girls.
- Try to have a dedicated work area that is not part of the lounge or dining room.
If you are a female running a business in France [unfortunately Group does not accept requests from outside of France] and would like to be part of a resourceful group, even if for a virtual cuppa and a chat, join us here at LIBIF.
If you work from home, what top tip would you share?