If you are working from home, one of the biggest challenges can be trying to balance the demands of your work and your ordinary home life going on around you.
There is no easy answer to this conundrum and many people have found it to be one of the biggest challenges about working from home or indeed from an office.
Here are a few thoughts about how some of those biggest challenges might be reduced if not entirely overcome.
While you’re working, young children, pets and visitors don’t necessarily understand automatically that you need to concentrate and essentially be left alone.
Much as you may try to explain your situation and ask for appropriate behaviours, there may be no alternative other than to build yourself an office or workspace in or around your home and to physically lock yourself in it. In some circumstances, you may be able to find business funding from Everline or other such providers to help you with the cost.
A standard day
One of the phenomena noticed by people in the early stages of working from home is that there is now no easy cut off between their professional and personal lives.
This can be a double edged sword. On the one hand, it is sometimes difficult to disengage from your home life and get yourself settled down and working. On the other, it can be equally difficult to realise that the work day is over and it is time to start engaging in the real world.
The only answer to this is to try and ruthlessly segment your day in two with a sensible number of working hours that terminate at a certain time and start at a certain time. Do not be tempted to blur these times under anything other than exceptional circumstances.
Human beings typically need to interact with each other in order to share ideas, validate their assumptions, resolve ambiguities and to engage in things such as humour and banter.
In a home environment, you may have no co-workers physically around you to make the above things easy. This can result in the surreal situation of you trying to discuss work issues with say your spouse or children, who may have little or no understanding of what you’re talking about.
This can be psychologically damaging and it is important to use things such as videoconferencing or physical visits to customer or co-worker locations in order to maintain a sense of humour and orientation.
Segment your phone and electronic communications
In a global business environment, your private and professional hours might not exactly correspond with those of your customers.
However, if you are getting called at 11.00pm on business matters then your personal and business day may become indistinguishable from each other.
So, make sure that you have emails and telephone lines set up exclusively for business purposes and when you close down your business day, let incoming messages and calls default to auto-responders – just as they would if you were working in an ordinary office!