Working from home can make you long for the days when you had an actual office. Dealing with daily family issues and running a business at the same time can push even a well-balanced person to the brink.
Can your family and your business to coexist peacefully? The answer is yes, but you will need to take some steps to make sure that this happens.
1. Find a quiet place for your office. A spare bedroom can function well for your office, but only if it’s separate from the general traffic area of your home.
2. Add on to your house or rethink its layout. If your office is right in the center of the activity in your home, it will be difficult to run your business effectively. Consider moving your office to another room in your house or reorganize your home in order to achieve a peaceful work area. If reshuffling rooms doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to build more space for your office.
3. Lay down the law from the beginning. Set some rules to govern the time you will spend in your office and what you expect from your family during this time. Young children aren’t likely to be silent for the length of an entire workday, but let them know that even though you are at home, you are working. This will help them understand how important your work time is.
4. Form a no-trespassing zone. If you have to move your child’s toys off your desk to find important files, you need to set some boundaries for your office. Children especially need to understand that your office is for work, not for play.
5. Get a separate phone line. This will allow you to take customer calls without fighting with other family members for the phone line. Keeping your business and family phones separate will also prevent your children from answering important business calls. This is an essential element of running a professional home-based business.
6. Get a separate computer. Having only one computer in the house can be a disaster for a home-based business. Not only can it lead to fighting over the computer, but it can also result in the loss of valuable business data. If necessary, set up a home network so your family can use the same Internet connection and peripheral devices, such as printers.
7. Schedule in family time during the day. If you are having a hard time getting your family to understand that you are not available for certain hours, try scheduling in an hour of family time during the day where they will have your unlimited attention.
8. Hire help. If you are having trouble balancing your family life with your business, you may need to enlist the help of a family member or a professional to care for your children while you work.
9. Be reasonable. Young children may not understand that you need to work from home to keep food on the table. Be patient with them, and keep them occupied with quiet tasks that will allow you to work and still spend time with them.
Also read Home-Based Business Owners: Balancing Work with Family and the review of the book Managing Work-Life Balance.