The perceptions of working from home do impact those who choose to conduct work in their same living space, particularly in relation to the people in our lives.
Being able to honour our relationships and our work is a necessary skill to make these arrangements work for you professional and personally.
There is a misconception out there, that working from home is unstructured and cruisy and it is sometimes not taken very seriously at all.
I have worked from home for many years, and many of my friends do this as well, these unproductive ideas of working from home don’t assist the cause to create this opportunity for more people. That’s a whole other conversation lol!
The purpose of this blog is to share practical tips to help you to manage your personal relationships and get the job done.
The people in your life are important to you and by applying some of these tips, you’ll create the discipline you need to minimise interference, so that when you’re with the people that you love, you can spend that quality time with them.
· Communicate – let the important people in your life know in some way that you are working from home.
These people may be your partner, kids, family members or others who may interact with you in times that you may be working.
By informing them this is what you’re doing, at least creates a sense of awareness that you may be focused elsewhere when you’re working you’re at home.
· Set Expectations – be sure to let them know how you’re structuring your work.
This may be in the form of letting them know the times that you’re allocating work if known, being clear that you will be upfront and let them know that you may have to reschedule calls/visits during this time and finally that your friend who just drops in, may need to call first before visiting.
Be upfront and clear with them what you need from them to support you to achieve your work goals.
This will minimise interruptions and hopefully avoid having to turn away the people you love in your life at that particular time, and scheduling a time that works for you both.
· What Do You and They Need?
To assist you to achieve your work goals, you need to be mindful of others, particularly those in your direct living space and what you may need from them and what they need from you.
It may be that your kids have quiet play time for an hour while you finish that report, or scheduling your work time when no one is home, or working in a room that can be closed off so that your family can still be comfortable to be themselves without interfering.
Consider what you can all do to make this working arrangement work for all parties.
· Dealing with Interruptions – working from home increases the chances of people interruptions.
This could be a phone call from a family member, your child wanting some attention or a friend popping by.
How do you handle these interruptions in an empathetic way to honor the relationship you have with the person, but also ensure that you’re work gets done.
The previous tips should help avoid this situation, but of course it will always happen. Have some rules around what interruptions are appropriate and what is not. For example, if there was an emergency, of course you can be interrupted.
The other way of looking at it is if you had your boss sitting next to you, would you engage in that interruption. Everyone is different, and so to their working style, their expectations of their employer and the relationships they have with the people in their lives – it’s about balancing all of these, and only you can be the best judge on what’s acceptable or not.
· For example –
Most of my family and friends know not to call me during the day on a week day as I’m working. If they do for whatever reason, when they ask what I’m doing or how I am, I will let them know that I’m working.
I usually ask if it’s something urgent or quick, or I’ll let them know how long I can speak for (if I can in fact speak). It’s important to establish this early on in the conversation, so that 20 minutes have gone by and you haven’t been able to get off the phone.
As these are important people in my life, it may be that I’ll reschedule a later time when I can completely focus on the conversation. I’m sure we’ve all been on the receiving end of one of those calls when we know the person on the other end of the phone isn’t present with us, so I believe in applying the same curiosity, and I’m sure the people in your life will appreciate it as well.
Managing personal relationships whilst working from home can be tricky, but creating open communication can really help maintain healthy relationships and also allow you to be focused to get the job done.