Working From Home? Space Is The Key!
If you work from home and have a family, it can be hard to juggle the two. From answering a client’s phone while your toddler is babbling in the background to dealing with interruptions from family members when you’re trying to work, there are many challenges when working from home.
Of course, for most people family is much more important than work. But when you have deadlines to meet and bills to pay, sometimes you have to prioritise work commitments to get the job done. At these times, having a space you can retreat to is crucial.
If you have the space at home, creating a home office can be invaluable. Make sure the family knows that this is your workspace and that when you’re in your office they shouldn’t interrupt you unless it is a real emergency. If you don’t have the space to allocate an entire room to your workplace – perhaps you work at the corner of a dining table – you can still create the same rules. Let your loved ones know that when you are in work mode, you shouldn’t be disturbed. Of course, if your home is full of noise and chaos, you might find that a nearby coffee shop or library is a better place to get your work done for a couple of hours.
Having set times for work and family life can be useful. It might be tempting to check your work emails while helping the kids with their homework or when you’re watching TV with your partner. But if you can keep the two separate, you’ll have a much healthier family life and be more productive when you are working. If necessary, put your phone or laptop in a different room while spending quality time with your loved ones so that you aren’t tempted by technology.
Use your ‘out of office’ function on your emails to let work contacts know when you’re unavailable. This way, you’ll be able to switch off when you’re spending time with your family.
One of the great things about working from home is the flexibility it brings. You can fit in a couple of hours work after the kids have gone to bed. Or you can stop work to head out for the school run. Although it’s useful to have a general routine for ‘work time’ and ‘family time’, sometimes life throws unexpected events at us and we might have to swap things around. Know which family members or friends you can call on to help with childcare if you need to fit in a few extra hours work.
Visits and favours
Make sure family members know that just because you work from home, this doesn’t mean you are available for catch-ups or favours at any time of day. Whether it’s your friend popping in for coffee or your sister asking if you can deliver a parcel, you might find that people think that because you work from home, you’re free whenever they need you. Remind them that if you worked in an office, they wouldn’t turn up unannounced so the same rules should apply when you’re working from home.