Two of the greatest challenges you will immediately face when working from home are the demands on your attention, and the lack of accountability. If you have a spouse at home, or kids during school break, they will simply not respect the sanctity of your office hours and work space.
The people closest to you will never think of you as being at work. They will always see you as being at home. Blocking out those distractions called family, and learning to say no to every request for your time while keeping peace in the home is much harder than you think.
And without the accountability of coworkers seeing what you are doing all the time, it is easy to get lost in personal projects, the basketball game, and household errands that will only take a minute. The only help you get with these challenges comes from within. Other challenges might even be bigger. Here are a few of those challenges, along with the tools available to deal with them:
Your Home Address Is Bad for Business
If you have the type of business that requires you to meet clients in person, it is obvious that your home is a poor choice. There are many office-share spaces available for meeting this need. But even if you never have to meet with clients in person, your home address is still unsuitable for doing business.
Besides the matter of credibility, your family lives there. The last thing you want to do is give out that information to every person in the world. You need to keep your family out of your business dealings.
A solution like iPostal1 Virtual Address allows you to have a real street address, not just a PO Box, as your business address. There, you can receive letters and packages. You can also get a business phone and fax.
The people working with you will feel confident that they are conducting a transaction with a real business. You get the benefit of keeping your business contact information separate from your personal contact information. Without such a solution in place, you will have a difficult time competing with traditionally established businesses in your field.
You Need a Real Office
Without a proper office, your family will not be the only ones mistaking you for being at home. You will too. It does not serve the creative process to sit alone all day in the dark. You need a real office with all the trappings.
That includes a proper desk and a proper desktop setup. Even if you are using a notebook, it should be connected to an external keyboard and monitor for proper ergonomics. You also need a decent chair, as you will be sitting in it several hours a day.
Proper lighting is often overlooked. There is a reason most office buildings are brightly lit with daylight bulbs. Working from home, one of the best things you can do is open the blinds and let the daylight flood the room. This also goes a long ways towards accountability. Though no one is looking in your window, the feeling that someone could be is a strong motivator for staying on track.
You Need Dedicated Services
To keep your personal and business computing separate, you need two different computers. If you are writing off business expenses on your taxes, the same is true for all of your services.
You need a separate broadband line for your office so that the rest of the family is not slowing your connection. You need a separate business phone number, and maybe even a separate smartphone. When you are at work, those personal devices shouldn’t be anywhere around. When you are with the family, those business devices should be locked away in the office.
More to the point, clients need to be clear about when they are dealing with you, the person, and you, the professional. Without a clear line of demarkation, they will never assume they are dealing with a professional.
Some challenges related to working from home can only be dealt with through personal fortitude. For others, there are digital mailbox services, a properly outfitted office space, and dedicated services and equipment.