Due to the pandemic situation now, you may probably have gotten used to working from home. When you work from home, chances are you already know that you are really pulling “double duty”. You probably work on your business while doing the laundry, corralling the kids, or fixing dinner. And on days of eased restrictions, you may also be receiving calls from family and friends expecting you to run errands or just “go out” for an afternoon tea for a break.
What I have learnt from running a home business may be applicable and helpful for most of you today. One of the hardest parts of running a home business is separating your work from your family and social life. Here are five proven ways to keep your home life running smoothly while keeping your business on track.
1. Create a work schedule and stick with it
It may be tempting to answer personal calls during the day or take business calls after-hours, but doing this actually shows that you are expendable – not dependable – and people will take for granted that you will “always be there” for any little things that come up. Even though family comes first, stay true to your business hours and resist the urge to chat with friends or pick up groceries during working hours.
2. Make business hours clear
Our friends may consider “working from home” an invitation to chat during the day or just go out for coffee or shopping for an afternoon. Make it clear that your business hours are just that – for business. Leave personal calls for after-hours, and you will find that your friends will gradually accept your schedule without feeling slighted.
3. Fit your most productive timing
Just because you have to set up a work schedule, does not mean that you have to keep the same hours as everyone else. One of the benefits of working for yourself is setting your own hours to fit your most productive times. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, you will find that you get much more done when you are attuned to your body’s own natural rhythms. Some people work in the morning, take a break in the afternoon when the kids are home from school, and work again in the evening. Schedule your work time when you feel the most productive and you will find that things get done easier, faster, and better than when you were dragging along during those same rigid work hours that everyone else has.
4. Separate business line
If getting after-hours business calls or work day personal calls is a problem, it helps to have a separate business phone line, or at least an answering machine or voicemail, to take the incoming calls. This also gives your business a more professional appearance to clients than if you and your family make and receive calls from the same phone line.
5. Separate business space
If at all possible, try to separate your “home office” from the rest of your home. If you do not have the luxury of a separate room, a room partition or screen can be just as helpful. This also serves as a visual cue to the family that you are working and should not be bothered. Dress and act professionally while working. Some people find it helpful to dress in casual business attire during their working hours. This reinforces that just because you are working from home does not make you any less of a professional. Answer the phone with your name, or business name, and keep your children off the phone during business hours. Also, spend money investing in the tools you need to do your job right. A cell phone, fax machine or even a budget computer can help turn your home office into a true workspace.
Thank you Tumisu for the background image https://pixabay.com/photos/silhouette-rope-couple-separation-5726230/