Working from Home: Its Success and Pitfalls
Working from home presents some very unique challenges. You may start out with the best of intentions but after a while picking up the stuffed rabbit from your office is accompanied by finding peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in your files. If your home office is accessible to your youngsters or family members who need a little refresher course on the concept of privacy and “space,” you may want to take some safety (and sanity) measures.
Even though one of the reasons you decided to work at home may have been to save on child care, your health, some peace of mind or control over your immediate environment, you still need to consider your office or work space as you would any regular office or work space. Other people in your home, whether children or adults should understand this as well and respect it. If your toddler is consistently running around your office and your housemates constantly barging in your work space while you are busy working, then quite frankly there isn’t much hope of success and it will be doubtful if you will get anything done or be as productive as you wished. You will either need to keep the child constantly busy or you will have to make other arrangements for him/her to be supervised while you work. If it concerns adults moving in, out and around your work space and engaging with you for whatever reason, you will need to make them understand that while you may be at home, they will need to also allow you to be able to do your work effectively by not providing a distraction or disrupting your work. Adults not understanding or respecting your situation are liable to be a barrier to the success of your plans to work from home.
This is one of the biggest challenges that should actually be considered before you decide to work at home. There is a reason why, when you walk into a business office, there are no children running around. To be successful you must always remember that your office may be in your home but it is still an office nonetheless. Here are a few points for consideration:
Points to Consider When Working at Home
Set your work hours accordingly: If you have to start out working during your child’s nap time and at night, then so be it. For most of those working at home, the perfect time is when their spouses and child (ren) are at work and school, respectively. If you have someone else who can mind the child (ren) while you work, that is even better.
Keep the door to your office/work space closed whenever possible: When you are in your office/work space, you are working. Make sure the others in your home know this. It is normal to be interrupted occasionally but the rules you set down at the onset are the ones that will stick. If you are to be disturbed only in an emergency; that doesn’t mean having a family member come in every 5 minutes asking “Where are my socks? Do you have the permit I need? What’s our food for dinner? I’m home now; you need to give me your attention now.”
Designate an office or work space in your home. Unless you live in a studio apartment, it is advisable that you have a designated office or work space within your home. Not only that this helps make it clear to your house-mates that this is your work and area and should be treated and respected as such, it also helps you condition yourself to get work done. Aside from the possible disruption or distraction that family members may pose when working from home, at one time or another you might have to struggle with the challenge of motivating yourself to get work done. The temptation to relax and do something else is prevalent when working in the comfort of your home, and you could be your own worst enemy. That is why it is a bad idea to situate your work space inside your bedroom, too much temptation. By having a designated area in another part of your home, you also in effect help condition yourself to make a conscious effort to go get your work done.
Have the same work ethic for yourself that you would if you were working out of the home. Working at home can be wonderful and rewarding, even with occasional life interruptions, but it takes a lot of dedication. If you would not be talking to your best friend all day on the phone in an office, then don’t do it in your home office. You don’t disturb your spouses when they’re out working and you deserve that much respect as well.
Work at home mothers or dads have had to incorporate business and home since the concept started, and it really is no different than work outside the home that a person has to do. So long as you try to keep your office or work space more of an office and less of an extension of your home, you are going to be much better able to concentrate and get the job done.