Guest Author - Violette DeSantis
Are you maintaining a level of productivity suitable for your work-at-home environment? Running a business from home is a unique challenge. If you did not plan your home office before making the switch to work at home, there is still time to hone a management style while conducting business in a makeshift home office.
With the first order of new business being productivity, here are three habits to manage a work at home job.
Organize Family Schedules
The schedules of every family member matter when arranging your work office hours. You know your family best. Create an outline of your week’s schedule to review where family obligations take precedence. At the beginning of every week, review for additions that may impede your ability to work without planned interruption. If you are a work-at-home parent hiring a child-care assistant if you have younger children requiring more attention is a way to get extra work hours in during a busy work week.
Set Regular Office Hours
Review your weekly outline of family member schedules and when you need to do business, consider the most productive times in your own schedule. Working from home offers the flexibility to stray from traditional 9 to 5 work days. Some professionals work before dawn, after dark or a combination of the two if their job allows for productivity with limited client or employer contact during a normal business work day schedule. If your job requires interaction schedule the best times to conduct business without the possibility of family interruptions.
Structure is key when setting home office hours. Know what time of day or time of the week is best for anticipated business tasks. Stick to your office hours, keeping them handy to readily plan when you are scheduling your work projects and tasks.
Schedule email, phone and social networking time
While seemingly the simplest task in a day, managing emails, pending phone calls and our social networks are the most time-consuming tasks we have if not managed properly. People have a tendency to respond to emails and calls as they arrive and spend too much time on social networking. However, to stay productive it is best to plan return phone calls and schedule set times to answer emails, instant messages and the like in this social networking day and age.
Pencil in return phone calls on your calendar. Adhere to set time frames available daily or weekly for phone tasks. Be consistent and be prepared to tell a client when you are available for calls.
Handle email correspondence during scheduled intervals throughout your work day. If you run out of time low priority emails can be handled later. Utilize folders or labels in your email program to sort or label pending emails by priority.
A productive work at home professional is a happy work at home professional with a happy family and happy clients. Organize your family, set your schedule and manage the simplest of office tasks for a head start in home office productivity.