Running a business from home allows you to save money on rent and other expenses. It also allows you to spend more time with your family. A problem with this option is that you may end up mixing work life and home life. The result could be chaotic. To prevent this, you need to ensure professionalism while running a business from home.
We have some useful tips for you to help you exude professionalism through your work. You can follow the best professional standards while working from home.
Tips to be Professional While Working at Home
1. Treat your home business like a full-time job
A problem most home businesses face is when the business owner treats the work like a part-time job or a freelance job. A business is a full-time job whether you run it from home or from an office. Treat the business seriously and consider it just like a full-time job.
Just as an office would have timings, you need to set timings for your work and follow it scrupulously. Dress up like you would while going to the office. Sit at your workspace at 9:00 am or whenever your office starts. Be at your desk until the end of office hours. Following this routine will help you treat your work professionally and not as a part-time job.
2. Have a designated workplace
Professionalism demands that you have a designated workplace or a home office. Do not work from different places. Have a proper workplace. If you don’t have a separate room, at least set a separate space in a room. Have a work table and a comfortable ergonomic chair. Keep all the things you need for work at that place.
Avoid sitting in a room that has a television. It is a guaranteed source of distraction. Don’t keep any leisure activities in your workplace. Spend the working hours at your workplace. Go to your bedroom or living room only after work hours. This is a professional approach to working from home.
3. Talk to your family members and ask for their support
You need the help and co-operation of your family members to make your home business work. They should understand that you are working from home and should not disturb you during work times. They should not assume because you are working from home, you would be free to do home-related work.
You should especially tell children not to disturb you during work hours. Do not allow pets into your workspace. This can become embarrassing during online video conference sessions. Set ground rules for your work and workspace. This will help your family members know what to do and what not to do.
4. Use a Virtual Receptionist’s services
Offices would have a receptionist who would first attend calls made by clients. Apart from receiving calls, they can also make phone calls. Getting an answering service from a virtual receptionist means that you always have someone to interact with a client for the first time; this is why choosing the right service is critical (e.g. don’t opt for free service!)
When you work from home, you can hire a virtual receptionist to work for your business. This is how the virtual receptionist would operate:
- The virtual receptionist would work for their home or office in another location.
- Clients would call the number listed as your office number. The virtual receptionist would attend the call and collect details.
- They would then either transfer the call (depending on the hardware setup available) or inform you of the caller, so you can call back.
- The virtual receptionist is a professional and will handle calls to project a good impression of your brand. They can also provide basic information about your company, products, etc.
- Apart from receiving calls, they can also help you with telemarketing services if you need them.
- They can schedule appointments for you and update your online appointment diary.
- They can even manage your emails if you want.
- The best part is that they work 24/7 round the year. This ensures no call gets missed.
5. Keep your business identity distinct
A mistake many home-based businesses do is to mix their home and business identities. For example, using your home address or personal email ID is not a good idea. Create a website for your business. Do not use your personal email ID. Create a separate email ID and also have distinct social media accounts for your business. Maintain your online presence as a company and do not mix your personal accounts and work accounts.
Have a separate phone number for your work. You cannot change your address but consider using a virtual address provided by a virtual office. Else, use a post box number. Separate your home and business. This is the best way to ensure professionalism in your work. Do not use your personal devices for work. Keep a separate computer and other devices for your business.
A bank account for your business is important. Do not use your personal account for your work. A separate bank account in the name of your business gives a message to clients that your business is professional. You should be able to open a free business account, so it will not cost you anything.
6. Keep your home clean and neat
Your home is your office, so keep it clean and neat. Ensure the home is cleaned every day. A clean workplace will help things be professional. In case any clients visit your home office, they should get a good impression. Arrange things in your workspace in an organized way. Avoid clutter, so your office is presentable.
In case you need to meet clients at home, keep a separate room. Ensure it is away from your house and they do not get to meet your family members. Ideally, you can meet clients on the patio or in a room earmarked for the purpose. You can even consider having meetings at shared workspaces or at a restaurant. This is more professional than inviting clients inside your home.
Running a business from home is a good idea. However, it comes with some caveats, which are typically related to your inability to separate work and personal life. The tips outlined in this article will help you to ensure that you don’t mix both.