I recently read a funny post by Dulwich Divorcee about how to achieve productivity while being a work from home mother. I thought I would do my take on this. I work from home and my hubby is a stay at home dad (SAHD) so this means that I spend most of my day on the phone. It is interesting
DO NOT under any circumstances, organise your house so your office and your playroom are next to each other. This may seem obvious but it is worth saying as I made this mistake.
DO fit a childgate to your office door and make sure that your door closes properly. My little one loves to open my door when I am on a call.
DO NOT allow the child/children in your office to play. Guaranteed when someone rings you won't be able to get them out again.
DO get used to explaining that the screaming/laughing/crying/farting/burping noise in the background is your child (even when it is sometimes actually your hubby)
DO make sure you have a mute button on the phone. Always check it is on if you are not talking.
DO take plenty of time-out to cuddle and play with the child, however ensure there is always a clear and fast route back to your office for when the phone rings (as it always does even if it hasn't rung all day!)
DO create "break" times where you won't answer the phone even if it rings. This is particularly important at lunch time where supervising child while preparing lunch and giving the hubby a break does not combine well with dashing back to your office to answer the phone. This will result in screaming child, burnt lunch and a grumpy hubby.
DO NOT mix up flexibility with unlimited hours. Homeworkers have less time off sick, are more productive and cost the company less than an office worker so you are already providing value for money. It is okay to finish work at 5pm. It is okay to take lunch. I personally start early but I always have and now the little one is up early it works for me.
DO NOT spend all day sat on your bum. Trust me, this leads to massive and rapid weight gain. Make sure you take some time each day to do something physical away from your desk. I learnt this the hard way.
DO invest in a good coffee maker. You might prefer to take the few minutes it takes to make a cup of tea but you will also be required to make one for the hubby and will also probably get roped into filling up the child's juice /snacks. Put your pot on at the start of the day and then it's even better than a coffee machine at work because it's actually nice.
DO NOT feel guilty for popping out to the shops or running errands. The advantage of working from home is you can do this at a time when everyone else is at work. See earlier point on increased productivity of home workers.
DO NOT allow your PA to schedule back to back conference calls. It is no fun sitting there writhing because you are desperate for the toilet because you listened to the point about the coffee pot and have had too much! Try and ensure there is always a 30 minute slot between calls to allow what is often called a "Bio Break". Remember, there is no such thing as popping to the loo and for a coffee when you work from home. The child will join you in the toilet. The hubby will collapse on you and regail you with stories of the hell the child has been putting him through (which incidentally you will have heard during your speaking bit on the last conf call!) and he will then decide he also needs a coffee.
DO use Twitter, Blogging, Facebook and any other social media to keep your sanity through the working day. Conf calls do not count as human interaction (trust me - listen to this it is remarkably accurate). It really helps to have people you can chat to on IM about the frustrations you are having with work (Instant Messaging is less public than the other forums!)
DO maintain as much anonymity as possible on these social media forums. You don't want them to lead to the sack.
DO NOT criticise work/people at work in a specific way that makes them or what you do identifiable on these social media forums. You really don't want the sack!
DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that your work colleagues are interested in the latest potty training antics or "funny" stories about your child. Even if they ask, keep it short and simple unless they have kids the same age and are asking you targeted questions! There is more of a tendency for you to do this because you are working from home so totally linked into every daily development (good) but you get little interaction with adults so can get a bit desperate to share (bad).
I think that about covers it for me. Do you have any more to add?