Many of our clients work from home. One of our clients who does is Pat Weber, who is a “Personal Coach for the Sales Reluctant”.
We’ve had the pleasure of both working on her beautiful home in Williamsburg as a contractor as well as being entertained there as a guest.
When it comes to working from home, she knows her stuff! I asked her if we could post this great article she wrote on her blog. We were thrilled when she consented! So, here it is:
It had to happen. Someone did ask, “I work from home. How do I get people to understand it is WORK time?”
This is a common problem with working from the home office: how to get people to understand it is work time. But what if you have talked and explained with little to no results.
I found something that worked for some of my salespeople who worked in a bull pen: devise a signal that makes it so clear that you do not want to be disturbed. One of my salesman put a traffic light on his desk that he found in a novelty store. The red, yellow and green lights said it all. One of my coaching clients had a payroll clerk who couldn’t get employees to leave her to her work – even on pay day! She devised a sign that she flipped over as needed: one side said Knock lightly; the other said, DON’T even think about bothering me. In any cases where we create a signal, discussion and agreement with people was crucial before the new actions took affect.
Would it be any help if you could get your spouse to help you with setting some ground rules for him and the rest of your family? Often times getting people to be part of the process is enough of a kick-in-the-pants because THEY created the rules with you.
Have you tried a Family Summit where you bring in all family members to participate in a planning of how to make your work life and their life better with some Work Day rules? This would mean that you are clear on hours of work, what to expect when you take a break, agreed upon signals, etc
What are you doing that might be rewarding unwanted behavior? This may sound silly. When I was traveling the world doing management training we often talked about this issue. Here’s an example. What is one of the first things that happens when you bring a puppy home? House breaking. The puppy pees on the floor. #1- you ignore it – the pee continues. #2- you pay attention and take the puppy outside the moment you catch them in the unwanted behavior. Could it be that some of your family members are getting rewarded either by you ignoring them (eg, they LIKE being ignored) or maybe you are ALWAYS paying attention to them in some way, good or bad, when they interrupt you? We sometimes reward unacceptable behavior unknowingly.
Is the location of your office wrong? If it is near the family room or living room it’s inviting, even with a door, to be fair game to come in and break your privacy. If you have a door, is it shut?
Have you talked with other people in your community who might work at home to get some ideas? As an introvert, if you are, it’s so tempting to work in complete isolation with just the ideas bouncing around our heads, we often forget to get an outside opinion.
Bottom line: You want to find a way to get the family involved in the boundaries YOU want so you can reward them at the end of YOUR workday for respecting you.
If you work from home, would you let us know how you are able to successfully minimize family interruptions?
Patricia Weber is the Courage Coach for the Reluctant Marketer, and a nationally recognized authority for the introvert and. She is an award winning – top selling salesperson and sales manager, recipient of Peninsula Womens Network, Networker of the Year Award, TWICE. Her services help her clients in sales, leadership, learning to speak with more confidence, deliver effective presentations, and increase sales and networking results by 100+%. You can find her blog at http://www.patricia-weber.com and her ebooks on Amazon for Kindle at http://amazon.com/author/patriciaweber