Setting Boundaries When Working From Home

When you are working from home it is very easy to blur the lines between your work life and your home life.  To protect your own sanity and the happiness of your family it is important to develop boundaries and resist crossing the boundary lines.

The other family members need to realize that you are working and they need to respect your guidelines regarding the boundaries.  Your boundaries need to be determined and set at the very beginning of your business venture.  Everyone needs to realize the importance and validity of what you are doing.  Good communication is the key to understanding.

Some spouses will think that since you are home all day you should be doing all the cooking and cleaning in the house even though you are actually working.  Friends may think you “living the life of Reilly” or goofing off since you stay at home all day and don’t need to go out to work.  They need to realize that you are truly working.  Your children may not respect your closed office door and they need to realize that unless something is an emergency you are working and not to be interrupted.  Sometimes teachers and neighbors wonder why you do not volunteer more since you are at home.  They do not seem to realize you are running a business and your work is important for your family income.  Until others recognize you are running a business, work and personal life can swirl together in a crazy mix.

There are several ways you can communicate that you are actually working at a business and that what you do is important.

First, get up and get dressed.  You can dress casually, but you need to project the image of someone who is going to work.  No one will think you are serious about running a business if you go to work in your pajamas.

Have a calendar for family and business events.  Everyone in the family should add their activities to this calendar.  Try to avoid scheduling family events during business hours and conversely try to avoid scheduling business appointments during family events.  Be sure to list the hours you are working so the family does not think it is free time.

When you are busy at work have a sign for your door to indicate you should not be disturbed unless it is an emergency.  You may have to explain to the teenager what constitutes an actual emergency.  For younger children the baby sitter or older adult should be able to handle most situations.

You need to be flexible.  When it is important to complete a task or consult with a client, try to do so when the house is quiet.  Work around the needs of your business and your family so neither is slighted.

It requires determination and resolve to set and keep boundaries when working at home.  Let others know that you are serious about making both the business and the family work in harmony.