For many people working at home offers an ideal solution to career/childcare issues.
Parents can ensure they are always there when the kids get back from school. But the dividing line between work and leisure is a fine one. And it gets crossed often.
It's easy, in a home environment to forget that a professional looking office or workspace that is designed to work in is important. It's especially so if clients are likely to come to your home for consultations or to collect products.
The home work space needs to be protected from daily life overspill. Make sure yours looks like it is an official designated work space. While you might find it comfortable to work perched on the end of your kitchen table your visitors mightn't take kindly to finding they have been leaning their elbow in last night's bolognaise spillage.
There are ten key areas that cause issues:
1. Children and Children Toy's
Yes, we know it keeps little Billy quiet to have his fleet of trucks out on the floor when you're working, but please remember to remove them if you have clients calling. Unless of course you sell toy trucks and want to demonstrate how much kids love 'em. Oh and keep children out of the office too.
2. Teenage Offspring
Make sure you train your teenage offspring to knock and wait patiently at the door when you have visitors to your home office. They can be prone to burst in requesting money or wanting to know what time dinner is. As they are genetically designed to be self-centered, teenagers won't automatically afford you or your client the courtesy you deserve. You have to instill it into them.
3. Family Photographs
In truth you don't really need these in your home office because you can have them everywhere else in your house. It's pretty standard for executives who want to put across a family person image to sit a few pictures of their loved ones on their desk. Usually they work away from home so it's nice to have the reminder there. You work from home so put your photo-collages and holiday pictures in another part of the house.
4. Food and Drink
Entrepreneurs need lunch too, no doubt about it. But eat in the kitchen or dining room of your home. Never eat in your home office or workspace however tempting it might be. Ok so there are occasions when you're pushed for time and you want to grab a sandwich pronto. Crumbs in your keyboard, ketchup spills on the desk do not put across a professional image. And the all pervading smell of a takeaway will not give your space the ambience you require.
It's a business environment, not a snack bar. And anyway, you work from home; it's not as if the kitchen's that far away. Coffee is acceptable and water, as you may wish to offer your client refreshments, but nothing else.
5. Your Beloved Pets
You love your dog or cat but your clients might not. In fact there are people who are afraid of animals but mightn't be comfortable saying so. And many people have allergies to pet hair and dander. Don't create awkward situations for your customers by allowing animals into the work space. Arguably you might get away with an aquarium, many corporate spaces include these and it's rare that you'll get a visitor who is either afraid or allergic to tropical fish.