Monday, March 2, 2009

Setting Boundaries for Your Home Office

Working from your home office gives you many advantages. Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages as well, such as interruptions. Setting boundaries for your home office may help you accomplish more, and keep others from getting their feelings hurt.

When you first try to set boundaries for your home office, you may feel uncomfortable setting some rules. Remember, while working from your home office, the reason it is important to establish some rules is so that others understand when you are available. If you have set hours in your office, be sure to tell anyone who would consider disturbing you during that time what your hours are. Let them know you will be glad to see them, or speak with them at any other time.

If you have family members home while you are attempting to work, be sure their needs are met before you start work for the time you have set to accomplish what you need to do. This should lessen the interruptions.

Use caller ID to identity callers, and voice mail so the unanswered calls will go to a place where messages can be left. You can state on the message what hours you are in the office, making it clear you are there. You will know when friends or family call your work line, and being able to leave a message will let them know they aren't being ignored.

Let family members know what is off limits in your office. If your supplies are for your use only, and not to be removed from your space, say so. If others may use your items, let them know things have to be returned so that your work is not interrupted.

Using a 'do not disturb' sign, or a 'please talk to me' sign on your office door will help family members who are given more leeway concerning your availability. Let everyone know you are not to be disturbed if you are on the phone or if you have a client in your office.

When you take a break from work in your home office, leave that room and close the door. If your break includes a few minutes of family time, make the most of it. Don't talk about work, or about how you have to hurry.

Think about posting your schedule on the bottom of your personal emails, like a signature. This is a reminder that lets others know when you will or won't be in your office.

Be creative. Put an attractive sign on your front door that states 'Busy at Work. Please disturb after 5'-or 'Do not disturb until 4'-or whatever your stop time is. We have found people respect this. They would not visit you at 'work' if you were an employee working in a downtown office.

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