I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a home office for the last 12 years, I started off working for myself when my children were younger (6 & 8) and so I know the challenges some of you may be facing, doing it for the first time this week.

There are benefits/challenges and it might not be smooth sailing to begin with.

I hope that these simple tips might help not only to get you working in harmony with the family but to keep you working smarter:-

Get up at your normal time.

You might think that not having a long commute is an opportunity to have a lie-in; making the most of the shorter journey across the landing to your laptop! Trust me, the time I get the most done is the two hours before 9 am. It’s quiet, no one is emailing and in my house, no one is up unless they’re going to work themselves. Start the stay with a meditation if you can, to get your mind focused on the day ahead, chances are it could be challenging!

Boundaries

This is a tricky one and you’re most likely going to have to compromise here. If both you and your partner are at home and you have a family, then you’re going to have to come up with a work rota – and stick to it! Children have very little concept of deadlines and bosses/responsibility. Remember, this is hard on them too, their routine has gone out of the window.

If you’re lucky enough to have an office set up, then make sure everyone knows that when the door is shut, you’re not to be disturbed. If you don’t, find a place in the house with a table and have that as the designated work area (I strongly advise not using the bedroom as you need a place in the house to wind down and you’ll lose that if you work from the bedroom) make sure everyone knows to leave you when you’re in that space. You may have to change your work hours so that you can cover some childcare and so your partner can work. Make sure that your boss is aware, allowances are going to have to be made at the moment.

Distractions

Oh, these are going to be plentiful… From the washing machine to the garden, to the neighbours… My advice is to allow yourself break-times, get a cuppa and allocate 5 minutes to “doing” something. Whether that’s hanging out some washing or getting in a quick exercise routine (you can do squats whilst waiting for the kettle to boil!) that way you don’t get too badly distracted and the chores get done. Keep the TV off where you can!

Hours

If you can stick to your “normal” hours that’s great, if not find a work pattern and keep to it. You’re not going to be working from home forever and it will help you get back into the swing of going to work quicker if you’ve kept to a relatively similar routine. You might have to work after the children have gone to bed if they’re little but don’t work too late into the night or you may start to struggle sleeping.

I hope that helps and if you need advice or are struggling, I’m happy to have a chat.