I absolutely agree that setting those boundaries is a top priority when working from home.
It's also important for employees who work from home to follow those boundaries themselves. While it's seemingly easy to get comfortable and think about doing household type things while working, they are still an employee and have a job to do.
This is where having a separate space, preferably a room with a door comes in handy. When the door is shut, everyone in the house knows that work is in progress and the employee can better separate themselves from the hustle and bustle of the daily household.
I agree with all the others - great thread, Luckiest.
I will admit that I had a very good friend who became very offended because I would not stop working and visit with her when she popped in.
After quite a bit of talk, I finally decided:
1. not to answer ANY personal calls on my phone (spam, friends, businesses, etc.) and only answer the work phone on working hours
2. to put a note on my front door with the hours I am unavailable (working hours)
3. not to answer the door during working hours
I realize that the may sound extreme for some but it was the way I could let my friends and neighbors that working remotely is a REAL job and I would be more than happy to visit after work hours. It took a while but finally everyone has accepted this and honors my requests.
Interestingly enough, the good friend who was so unhappy with me not visiting with her - is now working remotely and totally understands.
This is so true! Over the years, even though I keep the door to my office open, I have found that my family has adapted to my work-at-home schedule. It helps me to have speakers so I can play music while I work to keep me on track, and if the laundry isn't in my eye-space, it's easier to focus on work instead of thinking about all those domestic tasks I could be accomplishing.
When I first started my business, I worked from home and everyone naturally thought I was regularly free.
These are some great tips.
Signing up for a flexible coworking space plan is a great idea. Some companies allow you to pay by the hour or day. Meeting with clients, interviewing new employees, or hosting training sessions for current managers is best done in a professional environment such as a conference room or business center at a coworking space.
I can totally relate to this, Luckiest, what a great topic!
Beth, I completely agree that an employee has to be professional, your suggestion about having an separate room is truly necessary to get in the zone for productive work, and yes, a closed door sends the message clearly!
I must mention that working from home also allows you to discover your true friends, who understand that you cannot meet up or even talk on the phone because you are working.
Wow! Great suggestions everyone!!
I think this thread is an awesome example of how people can share experiences and tidbits from real life as well as gain useful tools from the experience of others.
An interesting conundrum arises to those who work from home: What happens when the customer realizes you're working from home?
I believe in most instances, whether we are our own business, or we are an employee working remotely, we want to give the illusion that we are in a professional, non-home, office.
Inevitably, our "cover" can be blown by a barking dog, a forgetful spouse wandering into our workspace, a loud child, etc.
What do you think the customer is thinking when they realize you're working from home? Is it too "relaxed" of an environment? Is it too full of distraction to take my (the customer) business with undivided attention? Is it something to shrug off as working remotely appears to be the norm more and more now a days?
Looking forward to seeing your responses,
Suggestions to new employees who work from home:
1) Be firm about boundaries.
Many people — neighbors, friends, telemarketers — assume you’re available 24/7 because you’re home. If you’re over 45, they think you’re retired.
Decide how you’ll deal with calls during your work hours.
(2) Consider joining a coworking space.
If your budget permits, a coworking space makes a better workspace than a coffee shop. You can put on your earphones and work steadily.
In most spaces, you’ll be left alone if you look busy. It’s like the Quiet Car: no phones or conversations. I prefer the background noise, with headphones.
Ask your accountant if it’s tax-deductible.
3) Schedule around your own productivity pattern.
People who work best in long spurts need to clear their calendars. They might schedule client consultations all together in one day, go to the gym after hours,
hire a dog-walker and arrange for reminders so they won’t miss important meetings (and lunch).