Keeping Things Professional When You Work At Home

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Sometimes it’ s hard to be taken seriously when you work from home. The stereotype of the typical home office worker is someone who spends most of the day in a robe. Yet how much of that is reality?

Sure, there are days when I start writing early, get on a roll and look up to see it’ s noon or later and I haven’ t taken a shower. But most of the time I try to get ready before I sit down to work. It’ s too easy to spend the day in the pajamas.

It’ s not fair, but it’ s true that when you work from home you have to be more organized, more disciplined and more professional than your corporate counterpart.

If you answer the phone in a corporate office with co-workers talking in the background, it’ s fine. If you answer the phone in your home office with the dog barking, the baby screaming and the doorbell ringing, your professionalism takes a nosedive.

Here are a few simple things you can do to maintain your professionalism:

  • Check your voice mail message to make sure you are the only voice on it and that your message is clear. There shouldn’ t be any background noises.
  • Use a separate business line or your cell phone for your business. Some of my clients forward their business lines to their cell phones most of the time to avoid missing calls.
  • Make sure that the only people who answer your business phone are associated with your business. I’ ve found that toddlers and teenagers are the worst receptionists!
  • If your kids, dog, neighbors and anyone else in or near your home office is making noise when your phone rings, let your voice mail take the call. No one wants to miss an important call from a client but coming across as unprofessional may not be worth answering the phone and jeopardizing the good impression your client has of you.

Working from home has its fair share of challenges. Having to convince others that, although you don’t rent outside space you can still be professional, shouldn’t be one of them.

Article courtesy of SCORE and Lisa Kanarek, author of “Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life.”

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SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.