Communication with your family is one of the most important parts of working at home. Without it, expectations are not made clear and resentment can build. It’s something you should start out when you decide to work from home, and repeat as necessary.
A big part of the work at home talk involves getting everyone in your household to agree on how seriously to treat your work. If you’re going more for a hobby than a serious income your family should know this. But if your family will be relying on your income to get by they need to know to treat your work that seriously.
What About Housework?
Many work at home parents still try to do it all. Keep a perfect house as they run a business or work at their job. This is incredibly stressful and makes it harder to succeed at home.
A certain degree of chaos can make working at home much saner. Talk with your family about what you can tolerate in terms of mess. For example many families will want to stick with having dishes done promptly, but may be able to stand vacuuming less often.
Consider also the division of labor. Are the kids doing reasonable chores for their ages? Are both parents doing their share of housecleaning if both are working, even though one is at home more?
The Working Hours Challenge
Getting your working hours right can be one of the most difficult things to master. Quite a bit depends on the needs of your family. If you have a baby or toddler, odds are that your working hours will be scheduled by when baby is sleeping or your spouse can take over that job.
Older children can learn to respect your working hours to a degree. How insistent you should be depends on how many hours you need to work and the ages of your children. A 4 year old cannot be held to the same standards as a teen, obviously.
Whatever your working hours, leave plenty of time for family time. The big point for a lot of people about working at home is to have more time with family. If you lose that, why are you working at home?
One schedule that can work is to declare that from 5 in the evening until the kids go to bed is family time. Beyond that, make sure you include time for just you and your spouse, but the schedule you select can depend on your needs as a couple. Keep everyone off the computer at this time, and if you have a business phone, don’t answer it. Of course, if the kids have homework, let them do it, but try to have dedicated family time regularly.
Money is a big part of working at home. If you have a work at home job, there may be expectations from your family as to how much you earn and what the money will go towards.
But if you have a home business, the money talk can be even more important. How much can be risked? Any business involves some sort of expense, whether it is to join an opportunity, have a website hosted, or just buying business cards to hand out to people you meet.
If things go well with your business, how much should be reinvested versus being used for family or household expenses? Reinvesting in your business is vital to its growth but you may need the money for other things. Your financial priorities need to be clear.
While it is extremely important to discuss the needs you will have when you work at home right at the start, keeping up with the current needs of everyone in the family matters too. How often do needs really stay the same for more than a few months at a time?
Business picks up, slows down. Children change activities. Schools go on break. As needs change so should everyone’s expectations. Sometimes your family may have to cope with you working longer hours, even through family time because that’s the only way you can get your work done. Sometimes you will have the time to do extras.
Tell everyone that if they feel your schedule isn’t working for them to talk to you. See if the issue can be worked out. Not every problem is easy to solve but you can only make things better if you are aware the problem exists.
[tags]work at home,work at home talk,wahm,working at home,work at home support,family,communication[/tags]