As a single dad, I feel privileged to be able to work from home. It allows me to be home with my daughter, reduces time spent on the road and still enables me to pursue my passion for my business. An increasing number of people are either working remotely for a large company or are, just like me, running their own business from home.
The Pitfalls of Working From Home
It took me quite some time to get to a stage, where my workday is structured and I feel satisfied with the work I have done by the end of the day.
Initially, things were quite chaotic. Work and play with my daughter intertwined and I ended up doing neither properly. I’d often be in the middle of a board game only to be called away by a phone call. In the end, everyone was frustrated. My daughter was cranky, because I wasn’t giving her enough attention. My clients couldn’t understand why I wasn’t available all the time and I ended up feeling like I was letting everyone down all the time.
Something had to give and I had to put a little more structure on my day.
The Secrets of Running A Smooth Home Office
There are a few simple measures you can take to ensure the smooth running of your home-based office:
- Put a Structure on Your Workday: Make a timetable and divide up your day between family time and work hours. Don’t mix and match and keep it uniform throughout the week. This way, your kids know when you have time for them and your clients will be aware during what hours you are available. Try to reserve important phone calls for times when you are guaranteed peace and quiet.
- Organize Some Extra Backup: Make sure to have some support on either end. Sometimes, you may require a babysitter to keep your kids happy while you are working at home. Other times you may like to ask a business partner or employee to take over some of your tasks. Don’t take on too much and don’t be afraid to enlist help for work or family activities.
- Be Available: Mobile technology allows us to stay connected and reachable at all times. This is extremely convenient and enables you to remain professional at all times. You can keep an eye on customer enquiries via mobile phone or email and by using a laptop, you can carry out important work tasks from home.
- Carve Out Core Times: This reverts back to the first item on this list and expands on it a little. I have learned that it is essential for my daughter to put certain times aside – just for her. During that time, I don’t take calls and don’t do any work. Equally, the time she spends at school is exclusively reserved for my work. When she was smaller, I used to hire a babysitter to mind her for a few hours each day so that I could get some work done. By strictly reserving time for family and work, I can give my full attention to both.
These are a few basic steps that have helped me to be a good dad and run a successful business. You can do both provided you put a bit of structure on your day and make an effort to be disciplined.
I love working from home. I am able to work quietly in the morning, collect my daughter from school, spend some time helping her with her homework and then do some more work before getting the dinner on the table. You see, you can have it all!