Work is work. Home is home. Running your business from home may be convenient, but you still have to keep home and work separate. Here are some tips to make this a bit easier.
- Find your own space. You need to have a place where the only activity permitted is work. A den, a spare room, your corner of the basement, or any place that gives you some measure of privacy, so you can do your work uninterrupted. A room with a door is best, especially when you have customer contact and conference calls.
- Have a business only phone line and separate office equipment. Your business shouldn't have to compete with the other activities in your household. Establish clear boundaries so that others know your priorities in these areas.
- Establish specific "office hours". Family and friends need to know that you may be at home, but you're still at work. Personal calls take a back seat and may be returned at a more appropriate time. You're not at home for their convenience. This means you're not available for chores and helping with errands and other distractions.
- When the office is closed, leave it closed. Make an effort not to drift in and out of work once your business day has ended. The convenience of working from home means having your work available 24 hours. Home and work both suffer when you ebb and flow between them.
- Don't overlook the "green" benefits of working from home. With no commutes, your stress level goes down. You're saving hundreds of hours of drive time, thousands of gallons of gas, and keeping tons of carbon from entering our atmosphere. Don't blow your good works by jetting off to meet a client. Consider a virtual meeting. The technology exists that allows you to meet with clients and coworkers without ever seeing an airport.
Running your business from home has its challenges. When considering the benefits to you, your family and the environment, the impact would seem to do us all a world of good.