As it is National Work from Home Week, I thought I would share some of my experiences of working from home, especially when trying to balance it with being a mom. My husband and I have a young baby, which is extremely challenging, as I run a business at home with him (my husband, not the baby). It has meant we have had to re-evaluate how we work, who does what, and how that impacts the rest of our family life.
Being motivated to work from home is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to face. Home has it distractions, and unlike an office or business, you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder or actively managing you – so it’s very easy to lose focus.
My husband and I split the child care and the business responsibilities as much as we can during the week. Here are our tips as to how we have made things work.
Setting a Routine
Routine is key – not just for my husband and I, but also the baby. We have found that having set times to start work, just like we would have in a traditional 9-to-5 office, has really helped us. My husband will wake up first to get our baby up, and then I come down to take over at 9am. At this point he will go to our home-based office to work. If possible, we try to be strict about when he will break for lunch, and when he will finish for the day. We split the responsibilities across the week, so for example, Monday will be his working day, and then I will work the Tuesday. By having everything agreed in advance, we have managed to reduce stress considerably. We know exactly where we stand and who is doing what for the week.
Creating an Office Environment
We are lucky enough to have a spare room in our house which has been converted into an office space. Having tried to work in the dining room, bedroom and living room before, I can tell you it is hard. If you have a room that you can make a dedicated office space, then do it. When my husband or I close that door, we are setting ourselves into work mode. On our office wall we have stuck up a selection of photos and pictures to remind ourselves what our goals in the business are. For example, I’ve got a photo of a holiday home that I want us to buy one day, whilst my husband has a photo of a sports car he wants to get in the next couple of years. We have found that having our goals visualized on the wall like this can help to keep us focused.
Taking Breaks and Family Time
We have both fallen into the trap of being entirely consumed by our home business. We were struggling to switch our brains off from work mode when coming from the home office back into the house, and we were putting in too many hours with no breaks. We now have scheduled parts of the week where we have family time, or time for us to individually take a break. Both of us like our sports, so my husband will schedule time for a run to clear his head, whilst I do weekly gym sessions with some friends.
In a recent blog post I wrote for the RingCentral blog, I highlighted some statistics on how working from home can raise productivity. As someone who has worked from home for a while now, my advice is that it’s not as easy as just switching the laptop on and going for it. If you are working from home for any sustained period of time, you will need to set a routine, discipline yourself and put some strict rules in place. If you can manage to do that, then working from home could work for you.
This article was written by our guest blogger Jemma to coincide with National Work from Home Week. She is part of the Coupon Chili team. Coupon Chili regularly publishes coupons for RingCentral services and products. To learn more about RingCentral Office, click here.
Originally published Oct 07, 2013, updated Aug 07, 2020