Monday, February 20, 2006

Create the Ideal Work Environment at Home

It would seem like the ideal solution for working parents with children, but working from home won’t work unless you create a professional and efficient setting conducive to maximizing your business potential, according to Kelly K Spors The Wall Street Journal article, “Five Rules for Working at Home — and Surviving”.

Time management is of the utmost importance. If you can’t manage that you won’t be the effective executive you want to be.

Have a routine and stick to it. It can be tough to work at home with constant interruptions from your children and personal phone calls and yet you need to maintain a professional atmosphere.

Have a separate room or separate space where you do your office work. This way your work doesn’t get lost or mixed up with the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house. It’s a lot to ask of young children to be seen and not heard so outsource a babysitter to handle your kids.

Try to avoid splitting up your day so that you are not working late into the night and early in the morning. Make a special effort to keep to a regular set of hours to ensure that you are well rested and at the peak of your performance.

If you are meeting with clients in your home, make sure it is as clean as possible and ensure that kids are under the care of a babysitter in another remote location. Have a separate phone line so that no one but you is dealing with your clientele to maintain a professional workplace. Rent an office space for meetings, if you can.

Working from home can be isolating. You need to make time to meet with people in your industry to have people to share experiences with, to share ideas and valuable tips to improve your home office. Check the Internet and see if there are any networking opportunities in your area.

Outsourcing time-consuming aspects of your business such as accounting or some clerical duties, can save you time and in the long run as well as a lot of money and stress. It’s the type of work that you would probably be delegating if you were in an office.

Set boundaries. Yes, you need to be able to respond to your client and family needs, but unless you do a reasonable job of demarcating your professional and family life, it will create needless stress for you and those around you.

With a lot of planning and self-discipline you can create the work environment that best suits you and you’ll build a stronger business.

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