Being able to spend more time with family is a popular incentive for people looking to work from home, and it is also a reason that many home-based businesses fail. You need to be able to perform a delicate balancing act to ensure that you will have time for your family while concurrently running a successful business in your home.
Just as you would schedule an appointment with a client, it’s essential to set aside time for your family. When you work in an office you are, in essence, already doing this. You “schedule” in your family for the waking hours of the day that you are not at work. The same holds true when your business is run from home.
It is important to stick to a schedule when you are working from home. This is much easier during the school year, but it can become almost impossible during vacations. When your family sees you at home, they naturally assume you are at their beck and call.
You need to watch out for the other extreme as well. Resist the urge to work at all hours and cut into valuable time, which you should be spending with your family. You need the support of your family in this new venture, and spending too much time working may have the opposite effect.
Sit down with your children and discuss why you started working from home and stress the importance of being able to get your work done. Explain to them the importance of your income and what that money means to them — food, a roof over their heads, the shoes on their feet. This is an excellent way to educate your children not only on respecting your time but also on the realities of the world.
It is also important to explain to them the benefits they reap from your working at home. For instance, you will be at home when they return from school, you will have more time to spend with them because you no longer have to commute, and you will be available should an emergency arise.
Emergencies, of course, can never be scheduled. Set up an emergency strategy with your family so that you will be prepared should a dire family situation take you away from your work.
If you are finding that it is impossible to carve eight hours of work time out of your busy household schedule, try dividing your time into blocks. If you know that you will have three uninterrupted hours in the morning and five hours in the afternoon, you can break up your schedule so that you can still complete all of your work and take care of your household.
It can also be hard to balance housework with running your business. Instead of letting your housework slide, you can enlist the help of your children or spouse or consider hiring a house cleaner to help you.
The key to running a successful home-based business is the support of your family. Instead of having to face these responsibilities alone, you can integrate your family into your work by giving them certain tasks to help you or by instituting “safe zones” where you can work in peace and where they cannot enter unless there is an emergency.
It is never easy to balance work with your family duties, regardless of where your office is located. However, with proper planning and support, you can achieve success.
Read Balancing Work and Family for a case study, 9 Tips for Separating Your Home from Your Business and another Nine Tips for Balancing Your Home and Business Life under One Roof, both for those who work from home. AllBusiness.com business advisor Kathy Murdock writes a blog dedicated to the issues and opportunities of Working Mothers.