One of the biggest challenges to working from home is time management. Unfortunately, family and friends can make it more difficult. (and I personally find this most true during the holiday season) I’m sure you’ve heard it said at least once, and probably a million times, “Well, you’re at home anyway…..” and then fill in the blank with what they want or expect you to do.
Here’s some ideas for getting your family and friends to honor your work-from-home time…..
Create a separate workspace
It’s much easier to bother you if you’re working at your kitchen table. However, if you’re working in your home office it’s more obvious that you’re working. Additionally, when you have a separate workspace you can close the door. This is a definite signal to others that you’re hard at work.
Set established working hours and stick to them
When you set boundaries and hold to them, your friends and family will quickly learn your limits. However, if you say “I’m working” and then proceed to talk on the phone or visit for thirty minutes, you’re sending the wrong message.
When your friends and family do respect your work-from-home time, express your gratitude. Let them know how grateful you are that they support your business.
Dedicate time to spend with your friends and family
If you’re always working, you’re going to have some disgruntled friends and family. However, if you spend dedicated time away from work with your friends and family it’ll be easier for them to support you. It’s also a good way to stay balanced.
Use helpful devices and reminders
Consider using a sign on your door that says something like “work in session.” This is a quick and easy way to let people know you don’t want to be disturbed.
Get a designated work phone number
Don’t give your work number to your friends, unless they’re marketing for you. Ask your friends and family to call you on your home or cell number. When you’re working, don’t answer your home or cell phone. Only answer your business line. If you get caller ID then you also know when to answer the phone and when to ignore it.
Set business hours that make sense
Sometimes you don’t have a lot of control over your working hours. However, by and large you get to set your own schedule. Set your working hours for when your family and friends are busy. For example when children are at school and friends and family are at their own jobs. Other work-from-home business owners work very early in the morning or late in the evening. These are times when others are busy and not likely to need your attention.
Working from home offers a number of benefits. It also has a few challenges. One of the biggest challenges is being productive. Setting clear wishes and boundaries with your friends and family will help you manage this challenge successfully. Remember, don’t be afraid to say “NO” to them when the time comes!
To Your Success,