Working at home can be a dream come true, but constant interruptions can turn it into a nightmare. If you do not want a clash between the demands of your family and the needs of your employer, you need to set some ground rules from the start.
Establishing house rules for your home office can make your telecommuting experience more successful for everyone. Whether you are new to at-home work or trying to be more productive, these house rules can help a lot.
Make Your Workspace as Private As Possible
Hopefully you have space in your home to set up a totally private office. Whether you re-purpose a spare bedroom or claim a part of the basement, having your own private working space is very important.
Even if you do not have room for a completely separate office, try to make your workspace as private as possible. Use folding screens or other devices to separate your workspace from the rest of the house. The more private your home office, the better.
Stick to a Regular Schedule
You may be working at home, but that does not mean you can ignore your daily routine. Having regular office hours is essential for avoiding conflicts and establishing your professionalism, and it is important to communicate those office hours to the rest of your family.
If you are telecommuting for your existing boss, your office hours may be set for you. If you are a freelancer or other home-based worker, you may have more freedom, so choose office hours that work best for you and your schedule.
Keep the Door Closed While You Are at Work
If you do have access to a private room, keep the door closed while you are working. Hopefully, you have already communicated your office hours to the rest of the family, but you can emphasize the point with a closed office door.
You will want to take regular breaks while working from home, and it is fine to open the door when you need a breather. Just be sure to lock all your devices before you step away; leaving computers, tablets or smartphones unlocked could create a security nightmare for yourself or your employer.
Working from home can be a real challenge when you have a family competing for your time and attention. If you want to succeed at telecommuting and stay productive while working at home, you need to set a few ground rules, including those listed above.