When people say they’re working from home, they’re generally referring to one of two very different things.
On the one hand, it’s a phrase that’s used by many people as a euphemism for taking a day off on leave.
It’s especially common among that breed of person who never admits to being sick, let alone takes a day off for it. (How lazy – why in my day, Sonny Jim Crockett – scoff!) Sure, they might have a bad case of the flu or an insufferable migraine and can hardly get out of bed, but they’ll still get that spreadsheet together by noon – just from home!
On the other hand, it’s also used to describe the practice of conducting a full day’s work from a home-based office.
If your business is based in your home office or your garage, this can create a slight dilemma for you. You tell your family or housemates you’re doing the latter. What they think you’ve said is you’re doing the former.
This leads them to make all sorts of requests that would sound utterly bizarre in any other work environment.
Can you do the vacuuming? Can you iron my shirts? Can you stop by the shops and pick up a bottle of milk?
Of course, it would sound bizarre to ask someone to vacuum the house while they’re working in an inner-city office. And could you imagine asking someone working on a construction site to also try to do some ironing while they lay down bricks?
What you need to do, dear home-based office worker, is to treat your home office or garage like it’s any other work environment.
You will commence work at 9AM! You will work continuously until midday! You will enjoy 45 minutes break at lunchtime! You will then work continuously to five!
But what you also need to do is put your foot down when your cohabitants ask you to do things during your work hours. After all, they’re not going to walk the dog, do the dishes or mow the lawn in their workplace during their work hours, now are they?!
No, they’ll do it outside their work hours, when they get home! Well, why should you do things any different?!
So Old Taskmaster says this: It’s time to lay down the law! After all, you’re already working hard and earning a living! It doesn’t matter where! It’s not like you’re taking a day off sick or something!
And if they don’t like it, perhaps they need to take the schnauzer into their office for a walk – oh and would it kill them to leave their shop to pick up a loaf of bread?
Get it done – in your home office!