KIDS & FAMILY: Balance Work And Personal Life Under One Roof – Part 2

KIDS & FAMILY: Balance Work And Personal Life Under One Roof – Part 2

September 25, 2016 Homebiz Management 0

In this, the second of three installments, we’ll look at how to enlist your mate, partner, spouse and even children to help you work more effectively. Success is everyone’s to share – it’s important for all to realize and push toward a common goal.

    • Enlist Help From Your Mate, Partner Or Significant Other
      They have a vested interest in your success. Enlist his or her understanding of and support for your enterprise. Do they have skills (bookkeeping, invoicing, filing or record-keeping) they can contribute to help you do what you do? If not, teach them to handle certain rote chores. This way, they’ll shoulder some of the burdens of home office management, while removing them from your schedule. And they might even qualify for a paycheck and some company benefits.
    • Make Your Mate Your Watchdog
      Give them the authority to make you toe the line when you’re not achieving self-set goals. Schedule meetings to outline your next week or month’s goals, then tell them to hold you to them. Spend some time alone together at year-end to peer into the next year. If they know what you’re expecting of yourself, they’ll be better able to help you meet those goals.
    • Expect Change When You’re Expecting
      Are you working from home and expecting your first child? Setting up a new at-home business often works well for expectant parents — or for those with infants and toddlers — who have played “what if.” Imagine how your specific job will be affected by the multiple breaks (feeding, diaper changes, recess and activities, etc.) young children require during the day. Can you break away for the requisite 30-minute bottle feedings of a newborn or infant?
    • Set your boundaries
      Set relatively firm rules as to when the kids are to steer clear of the office. Establish guideposts for family-workplace interaction. Setting up expectations helps everybody understand their place and what’s expected of them. The less ambiguous, the better on everyone. During morning or evening down time, for example, their presence might not be disturbing. During peak productivity, though, they could bring chaos and mental confusion. Base your guidelines on specific times of day and your performance and deadline needs.
    • Juggle
      When kids share the home with a business, a flexible schedule is a more productive one. Early birds and night owls get work done with fewer interruptions — especially when kids are around. Juggle your schedule to rise before or set after they do. An added benefit: the phone rings less at odd hours, providing more quiet time to concentrate.
    • Lock ‘Em Out
      A solid-core and well-sealed door — maybe with an occasionally used lock — can work wonders to muffle kids’ audible emissions, including their laughter, cries, or the noises from the television or stereo. It also helps keep the sanity of the office in.
    • Dedicate To Save Your Sanity
      Aside from being a tax deduction, a dedicated business line can set yet another boundary between the home and office. With no business calls coming across the family line, the confusion and embarrassment of kids answering clients’ calls becomes a rarity. Sometimes, the spouse or older kids can answer the business line when you’re busy.
    • Decide Who Can Answer The Phone
      If you’re trying to appear professional, then train the family how to answer the business line appropriately — if at all. Spouses can sound like a receptionist or employee by answering, “ABC Product Corp.” That can help the business to appear larger than reality.
    • Beware Children Answering The Business Line At Any Time
      For those businesses whose customers and clients know it’s run from home, a child’s reply can add levity to the day and create an ice-breaker for fresh conversation. Not everyone is so understanding, though, especially if the child can’t carry on a conversation. Rule of thumb: If you know of at least one client who won’t tolerate a child on the other end of the line, or if the child can’t take a reliable, basic message, don’t let them answer the phone at all.
    • Hang ‘Em High
      Watch where the phone is hung. If kids shouldn’t be answering the telephone, it’s important to make sure the phone is not where they can reach it. Keep the business line in the office. If the family and business share a line, and that line rings in the kitchen, bedroom or common areas, either turn them off during business hours, or put the phones where the kids cannot get to them.

Click here to read the first 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,