KIDS & FAMILY: Balance Work And Personal Life Under One Roof – Part 1
For work-at-home parents and spouses, it all starts at home. How successful you are at merging home and office depends upon your mindset. And your success as an entrepreneur may depend on how successful you are at bringing often opposing forces of business and kids into line in the home and office. Similar to making the transition from traditional to home office, the interaction of home office and family takes some getting used to. But humans are the most adaptive species on the planet.
In this installment – the first of three on working at home and balancing family and profession, we’ll a look at the first steps in launching an at-home enterprise. We’ll realize that we need to take advantage of what evolution has given you and adapt positively to your surroundings.
Working with kids around the house can be done. Sure, kids can be rambunctious little imps prone to pull on those neat little wires beneath your desk, or to let forth a shrill when you’re on the phone trying to convince some potential client that you are (or were) the right vendor for the job. But they’re part and parcel to the work-at-home — and work-at-home parent — gig.
Take One More Look At What You’re Getting Into
Make sure you’ve REALLY thought out how — and if — kids will fit into your work style. If you’re convinced you can handle this working-from-home-with-kids thing, then go at it with fierce passion. This work style isn’t for the faint of heart. You will encounter jealously, resentment, awe, and yes, understanding, from those you meet each day.
Create Your Own Model
Home officing creates a new kind of home life for mom, dad and junior, which requires a new kind of modus operandi when work-at-home parents interact with clients in the traditional office. Many see fit to forewarn their clients and customers about what they’ll be facing. Others prefer to keep it quiet until the day the cat — or kid — gets out of the bag (and they just might). Think through how you’re going to treat this. Maybe go through your client list and choose those who you know will understand your work situation. Then tell them, so they don’t get shocked by a screaming kid down the road. Others may not take the concept so well. So mum might be course.
Be The Judge
If you’re selling or conducting business with high-octane corporate execs, a screaming kid in the background might — or might not — be tolerated. Conduct your business on a situation-specific basis. If the kids are out of control one afternoon, then maybe a cold call or discussion with an unwitting client should be saved for another time. Read the writing on each wall you encounter, and “govern yourself accordingly.”
Foster And Demand Your Family’s Respect
From the home office to your working there to the hours you keep, demand respect from all around you. Just because you’re working from a home office doesn’t mean you’re able to hit the park, a movie, the beach or any diversion at two o’clock in the afternoon. If you’re busy when friends and family drop by — and they will — kindly send them away. Or give them the newspaper to read, or the family phone to use — anything so they’re not bothering you. Even the mate or children will hit you up for the occasional jaunt away from the office. If you can’t break away, say so. And don’t be bashful. This isn’t some sidelight. This is a business you’re running here. Be strong. They’ll learn.
Use Teamwork To Promote Success
Some work-at-homers work with their spouses, and some do not. Regardless of their direct influence, significant others and kids can have a major impact on your bottom line. How your loved ones treat and respect the home-based enterprise will reflect on the image you present to the business community outside. It even will affect your own mindset; if they respect what you do, you’ll be more proud of what you do, and strive to work that much harder. You’ll feel you’re an integral part of business and family, and will work harder to contribute to both. It can be a fulfilling cycle.
Click here to read the second installment.
Click here to read the third installment.
Journalist and author Jeff Zbar has worked from his home office in South Florida since 1989. He recently published Home Office Know-How, a tips book on working from home. Get a copy by visiting his website, www.goinsoho.com.