While there are many advantages to working from home, there is no point unless you can find an appropriate space to do business without interruption. Here are some simple recommendations on how to run a successful home office and keep the peace at home.
- Take periodic coffee breaks to visit with your kids. Let them know ahead of time how many breaks you plan to take; two in the morning, one in the afternoon. Thank them (in your special way) for their patience.
- Set clear boundaries with your family. Understanding why you are not available even though you are home is very difficult, even for your spouse! To limit interruptions during an important call, prepare them beforehand, and set your expectations for the duration of the call.
- Dedicate ONE space in your home for an office. Even though sharing an office space is more common than not, my advice is to keep all of your files, resources, and supplies in one location. The only work item that should move about the house is your laptop.
- Keep personal papers separate from your business files. If you share your office space, chances are there is a pile of personal files, bank statements, and your teenager’s project notes cluttering the desktop. Define a function for each desk drawer, bookshelf cubby, and filing cabinet drawer. Clearly label these areas for quick access.
- Don’t hesitate to get help from friends or hire a part-time sitter. Organize one playdate each week with a friend and schedule those ‘quiet’ hours accordingly. Find out what days your teenage babysitter gets home early from school, or better yet, the days she/he has off. Why not pay a sitter for a few hours every month? While you focus on your work, the kids could be playing at the park down the street—a win-win solution for a minimal cost.