The 30-Second Commute

Being Based Out of a Home Office Comes With its Own Challenges

 

“Must be nice” is what those who work from home hear most often from those around them. What’s better than being able to work in your pajamas and to have 24-hours in which to get 8-hours of work done? That may be what it seems like to those on the outside and it may even be what the business owner assumed it would be like before it all began. In reality, a home office causes many more distractions than an office outside the home. Don’t get me wrong, there are positives aspects to working from home, like being able to work non-traditional hours without having to leave the house. If you want to catch up on administrative tasks and send emails at 3am… the office is right down the hall. The real drawback is that the “office is right down the hall”. The home office blurs the line between “work” and “non-work” time. There’s something about leaving an office, locking the door and saying “I’ll pick up where I left off tomorrow”. The home office means you can pick it up again after dinner or for a quick hour before the kids get up. When you’re at a traditional office, you make a list of things you need to do when you get home, but if you work at home, those things are constantly staring you in the face. Maybe I should throw a load of laundry in. The weather is perfect, should I mow the lawn now and get back to work later? Don’t forget the real time sucker, the non-business phone calls that come in from family and friends who all assume you can talk as long as you want since you set your own schedule.

It’s real easy to get sucked into that routine. What then happens is you feel as if you’re ALWAYS working… because you are. You never close it up for the day or set time limits. After years of having my primary office in the home, here are some suggestions that I’ve found to work:

Create “office time”. Get up, shower, get dressed, enter the office and close the door. No one works effectively in their pajamas. Closing the door means no distractions, making you more productive.

Do not take personal calls during “office time”. You’ll lose the day and wonder where it went. Also, limit the time that you surf the internet. Everyone needs a break, but put in a solid two hours of work at a stretch.

Do not stay home all day! There is time to work and time to meet clients and time to network. That office will provide you with a cocoon-like atmosphere that will eventually suffocate you and your business.

I know these tips may seem like common sense or take the “fun” out of a home office, but it’s called “work”, not “fun” for a reason. Stay focused. Your business will not grow by accident.

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