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Life/Work Balance and Privacy
Working from home can have its benefits. You don't have to worry about commuting to the office and have more time with your family and friends. But, there can be downsides as well. For example, you don't have a nine to five schedule, which means you can work any time of day or night. So, if you are considering working from home, consider the following home-office issues.
Normal life has a way of eating into your work time. Your spouse can have the TV on in the other room, and you want to go watch the program, too. The children are playing, and you want to tussle also. But, you can't; you have to work.
To combat this, set your hours. It will help you stay on track and get things accomplished. Have a list of tasks to be done that day and follow-through.
Many home-office workers deal with pretty sensitive material, i.e. items with other people's social security numbers or addresses. You don't want your neighbor dropping by and seeing this information.
You need to have either a place to store these, including some type of safe, or have a separate room that is your office. That way, others cannot see what you're working on, and the information remains safe.
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Working Long Hours and Not Working Enough
Working Long Hours
When you get up in the morning, all you have to do is walk into the next room to start work. The computer is always accessible. When you're supposed to be done for the day, you're still thinking about what you need to do.
Cell phones also add to this problem. You can always be reached on your mobile device. Many home-office workers don't even take breaks.
Here is another example of why you need to set office hours. Let everyone know what those hours are, and stick to them. Shut down the computer when it's quitting time, and don't answer the phone after that time.
Not Working Enough
The inverse of the above problem is this one. You're at home so you don't feel like working. There are other things that you could be doing like cleaning house, cooking dinner or watching the kids.
You need self-discipline to work from home. Set aside time to work, and close your door when you're working. But, if this doesn't help, working at home may not be a good choice for you.
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Others Not Taking Your Work Seriously and Isolation
Others Not Taking You Seriously
Because you are at home, others don't think that you're actually working. Neighbors, your kids and even your spouse believe that they can interrupt you any time. They think that they can ask you to do favors for them or usurp your computer just because you took a break.
In this situation, you need to set rules before you start working. Make your friends and family understand that this is your work time. They need to learn to respect your privacy.
Since you're not in a regular office, you don't have coworkers. You don't have those annoying interruptions, but you also don't have anyone to which to talk.
If this becomes too overwhelming, there are now places where you can rent office space with other home workers. There are also weekly or monthly groups, where home workers get together and "work" together.
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Family Relationships and Getting Behind the Times
Family members sometimes don't understand that they cannot interrupt you all day long. Even though you are home, you're also working.
Setting boundaries up with your family can help counteract this problem. Talk to them about understanding and supporting your work time. You also need to stop working at your set time.
Getting Behind the Times
Because you are isolated, you also don't have the opportunity to bounce ideas off of coworkers or hear the latest gossip in your industry. Many managers have never even met their own workers face-to-face.
You will have to do more research than those that work in the office do. Having lunch dates with those in your industry or participating in at-home groups will help.
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Space and Distractions
It is your home. It was made to hold bedrooms, bathrooms and family rooms, not an office. You may not have shelving space or even a desk.
Build shelving in your selected area. Buy a used desk for your computer peripherals. To save even more space, use a laptop instead. That way, you can work in any area of the house.
Noise in the background can be distracting when you're on the phone or trying to meet with a client. Your dog barking at the mailman or your kids fighting in the next room can make you seem unprofessional.
Try having a distinct office space, where you can preferably close the door. If this is not possible, go somewhere outside your house to work. Coffeehouses can be quiet escapes for those in need of some silence.