Each year, an increasing number of women work from home. Many of these women have families and work from a home office. If you have found yourself heading towards working from a home office, there are some important home office rules that you need to bear in mind. By utilizing the rules, you will establish an efficient home office that permits you the ability to meet your professional objectives.
Home Office is for Business Only
One of the most fundamental rules you need to establish for your home office is that the space is for business purposes only. If you take the tact that a home office is primarily for business purposes, you put yourself on a slippery slope. In little time, you will find your home office being used for an array of other purposes.
This process will lessen the professionalism of the space and also result in the introduction of things in the office that prove distracting. There are important legal reasons for this demarcation which are discussed and analyzed in a moment.
Keep Business and Personal Well Defined
On a related note, if you are going to begin working from home, you need to make a clear delineation between work and personal activities. As mentioned before, the home office needs to be a designated area for work and work alone. Conversely, the remainder of your home needs to be reserved for family and personal activities only.
In addition to the emotional benefits derived from this allocation of space, there are important legal reasons behind this rule as well. By setting up a specific space in your residence to be used for income generating purposes, you’ve the ability to take an appropriate tax deduction each year for the costs associated with that space.
This includes tax deduction associated with the proportional cost of the lease or home mortgage attributed to the space occupied by the home office. You jeopardize this deduction if you mix work and personal throughout the residence.
Establish a Specific Work Schedule
Certainly, one of the benefits associated with working from home is a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to your schedule. What working from home doesn’t mean is not having a schedule at all. You need a schedule to set parameters for your own efforts. You also need a schedule to let other people in your home know when you will be unavailable because you are at work.
Consider making a work schedule a week at a time. If you do a work schedule on a daily basis, you limit your ability to plan ahead and will find a lack of consistency in your work time. If you plan for a month, you unnecessary inflexibility into your life.
A middle of the road approach to scheduling makes the most sense. That is best represented by scheduling your work time by the week.
Included in the work schedule can be times for breaks. For example, you can incorporate a lunch break into the schedule. Scheduling breaks in this manner is more for other people in your home than it is for you. By scheduling breaks, other people in your home will have a better idea of when you will be available to see them.
Finally, consider taking full days off from work. If you schedule time everyday to work in your home office, which some people do, you may end up feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. Having a solid day off, or even two in a row, is a good way to rejuvenate and enjoy other activities beyond work.
Generally Keep Others Out of Your Home Office
As a matter of general practice, keep other family members out of your home office. As has been mentioned, the home office is for work. There can be some limited exceptions to this rule.
First, you might consider “hiring” one of your children to tend to some tasks associated with your home office. For example, one of your children could be “employed” by you to make copies. Another could be assigned to doing some basic cleaning. These tasks could be rotated between your kids.
Second, if someone in your home has a homework assignment, or has his or her own work project, granting them limited access to your home office when you are not using it is acceptable. You just need to spell out that your home office is not some kind of secondary TV room or entertainment center. It is a professional space for professional purposes.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.