Working From Home Part 2: Creating a Distraction-Free Work Environment

Posted on April 30, 2018

There are numerous reasons why working from home can be beneficial. However, to make sure your business and good reputation do not suffer, it’s wise to consider all possible problems you could encounter. In the last discussion we advised an honest self-evaluation as to whether or not you are truly disciplined enough to keep yourself on task without benefit of outside influence such as supervisors or even co-workers. In this installation, I’d like to review steps to creating a distraction-free work environment.

This is a concern that is less in your control, so the question here is: How will you deal with unexpected distractions so as not to negatively impact your business? Certainly, in any office environment there will be a certain amount of noise, interruptions and activity that can be distracting. The difference is, that in a home environment there is not the expectation of specific behavior nor any means to enforce.

For instance. My friend Renee recently started a small, home-based business. Her first client was her former employer. While she was a hard worker, very disciplined and conscientious she discovered that outside forces seemed to be undermining every effort. Friends and family would drop by or call frequently and if Renee didn’t drop everything to visit, they either didn’t take the hint or became insulted. Her day was chaotic and disorganized. She even suffered the embarrassment of a neighbor pounding on her window and shouting to get her attention while she was on a business call.

Obviously, these things would never happen if she were still working in the company office building. Friends, neighbors and family automatically respect the fact that it is not appropriate to socialize during work hours. However, these same people could not understand why their interruptions now were a problem?

There are any number of outside distractions that can affect your work. The important thing is how you respond.

In the above situation, I advised Renee to communicate clearly and calmly with those individuals who were so disrespectful of her profession and work hours. She needed to make sure they understood that just because she was working in her home, it did not mean she wasn’t working. After having these conversations, I suggested that anyone who broke the rules should be dealt with immediately and if the interruptions continued it would be best to simply ignore them. (Caller ID is great for this!)

Renee even went so far as to post a sign on her front door that read: Please respect my working hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. I will not answer the door during those hours. I’m happy to report this has worked.