Welcome to this series about Working from Home. This is perhaps timely. I hope you enjoy the series and learn something new. There are positive benefits from Working from Home.
It is easy for the lines to become blurred between work and home life when both occur under the same roof. For your sanity and your family’s happiness, draw the line and resist crossing it. Learn to set boundaries for yourself when working from home.
If I had one Wish
In a perfect world, working from home would get the respect that it deserves. Instead, there are the misconceptions that burn your britches each time you hear them. Spouses that expect you to cook and clean because you are physically in the home even though you are working a business. Friends joke that you are “living the life of Reilly” because you get to lounge around all day in your nightclothes. Kids don’t respect the closed door and run in and out of the office constantly. Teachers look at you sideways because you are not always volunteering in the classroom since you have so much time on your hands.
What is a mom to do? There are many reasons why moms pursue the dream of business ownership. It was not to fuel speculation about what you do all day. Unfortunately, until the misconceptions are dispelled, work and personal life will swirl together in a mad soup of chaos.
Setting Boundaries for your Home Business
From the very beginning, drawing the boundary lines is crucial. Everyone will know your expectations and will understand the validity of what you do and how important it is. Good communication is the key here.
Here are some tips for drawing those lines.
Dress for work – Get up just like the rest of your family and get dressed as you would for the office. This lets them know that you are in work mode.
Keep a calendar of family and business events – Everyone needs to add their activities to this calendar. Avoid scheduling family stuff during designated business hours and vice versa. If it looks like you are free when you are not, explain that it is work time.
Set the stage for work – Hang a sign on your door to let others know that you are busy. This sends a clear message to those who can read. For younger children, instruct sitters and older family members to handle anything that doesn’t involve threat of imminent death when you are in “Do Not Disturb” mode.
Be flexible – How many times have we heard this? Moms are multi-taskers of the first order. When it is important to complete a project or talk to a client, try to do so when the house is quiet. You are fighting a losing battle at 5 pm but may have a ghost of a chance to get crucial business done at 5 am. Work around your family so that they don’t feel slighted and neither does your business.
Setting boundaries requires resolve and determination. Let others know that you are serious about making family and business work in harmony.
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Nick Thorne is the founder of NicksDigitalSolutions Limited, a company specializing in Education, Training and Writing. He lives in Levin, New Zealand.