A home office is a pathway to greater independence, financial freedom and improved work and life balance for some people. All it takes to design a home office at some residences is a spare bedroom, a large walk-in closet or a finished basement. That’s the space design part. Actually making a home office pay off personally, time wise and financially is not always as easy as it might seem.
Home office disasters are not an illusion
In fact, if you’re not fully ready to work out of a home office, working from home could prove disastrous. It could also set up a regretful situation between your children, spouse, extended family and you. That’s why clear personal goals and well defined personal and work boundaries are key to win while working out of a home office. Without clear boundaries, here are just a few disasters that could strike after you start working from a home office:
- Falling behind in work to the point that you put your employment in jeopardy (Run too many personal errands and you could struggle to keep up with work projects.)
- Growing utility bills (Run the air conditioner or heater all day and you could see your utility bills rise.)
- Poor health (Working out of a home office could make it too tempting to snack or munch on unhealthy, sugary foods.)
- Lower mental clarity (A home office could prevent you from having to worry about a supervisor standing over your shoulder watching what you’re working on – this alone could find you watching television, checking personal emails and answering the phone, all while you try to focus on work.)
- Slower working ability (If your home office technology is outdated, it could take you longer to finish routine assignments.)
- Less respect (Working from home could create the perception that you’re not fully invested in your work. This could affect your performance ratings. It could also tempt relatives, friends and neighbors to ask you to run their personal errands.)
Clarity of purpose is a must for home office success
Similar to how you could be excited about getting hired to work a new job only to discover that you are not a good fit for your new employer or the work that you’re now doing, you could set up a home office and find out that it was one of the worst working decisions that you’ve ever made. Clarity of purpose can help you to know if a home office is right for you.
Clear boundaries like established and clearly communicated work hours and allowed numbers of personal distractions are crucial. Boundaries need to be established and clearly communicated before you start working from home.
Without these boundaries, you could end up running errands for relatives, neighbors and friends. This is because people might assume that you’re not really working simply because you are not commuting to an offsite business location.
On your own part, you could assume that you’re able to look after your young children while you work from home if you don’t set up clear boundaries. You could also end up working 60 or more hours a week, constantly coming up with one task after another that you really ought to complete before you call it a day.