“Home is where the heart is.”

— Pliny the Elder

Home Based Office

Having a successful office in your home can save money, provide a tax advantage, and improve both you and your family’s quality of life. But there are also things to look out for, and with experience, we have discovered how to deal with the challenges of a home office. With some thought and planning to your specific situation, you can maximize your productivity and make it all work.

Even when we had offices away from home, we both had to deal with thoughts and distractions around family issues. Granted, having an office in our homes has not done away with this, but the distractions are welcome and we’re grateful we get to spend more time each day with our families, including the saved drive time of the commute. Of course there are always ‘little bugs’ to work out. It’s called ‘living life.’ Here are some tips.

If you can afford two phones, have one in your ‘work office space’ and the other in the family area. Fight the temptation to have two lines on the same phone set. Why? No doubt you have this scene in your mind where you quickly answer the ‘business line’ while making lunch in the kitchen. This is a slippery slope that will obstruct your ability to concentrate on business and also teaches family that your workspace is open to them as part of the family space. After all, if you can come into their space and ‘do business’, why do they need to respect your business space?

‘Working space’ and ‘family space’ ought to be, and are, different and separate things. You need the family space to relax in. Be mindful, as the distinction can all too easily slip away.

Establish and keep business hours. You need to know when you are working, your family needs to know when you are working, and most importantly, your clients and customers need to know when you are working. Also allow for, and honour, break times.

Get a mailbox outside of your home. This will give you a secure address for business, protect your home address and, again, separate business from home. If you think it’ll work in your situation, there are many reasons to have an office in your home.

I’ve got a sweet home office setup that is away from the family common areas, which enables me to be out of sight during the day. I have an open-door policy with my kids but if I close my door they know I’m on the phone or can’t be disturbed so they know to knock… quietly.