How do you successfully and efficiently operate a home business when you have to deal with children around the house? It’s not easy and the worst place it can to deal with is inside your own conscience. Do you ever feel like you are neglecting your kids when you are working at home? Never? Really? Well, some people do and most people shouldn’t. Your home happens to be your office and it should be treated no differently than if you had to make the trek through traffic jams to an office every day.
Would your kid make that journey to your home office to ask you to make them a sandwich? No, of course not. And kids should know better than to barge in on your while you are working and ask you to make a sandwich. In an ideal world, your five year old would know how to make his own sandwich, but the world of a home business is anything but ideal when you have family obligations.
One way to go about integrating family life and business life in your home office is to give the kids a job. Let them file papers or answer the phone if they are old enough to do so professionally. Inviting into your home office is a way of showing them that the barrier between your office and the hall is similar to Les Nesmann’s invisible office walls on WKRP in Cincinnati. By showing your kids what your business is still a business by letting them take part, they will grow knowing that when you are working in your home office, it’s no different than what mom or dad is doing out in the world. You can even take this further.
You don’t really want to incorporate yourself in most cases of home business, but create a pretend corporation in which you assign titles to the kids. Make one child your Vice-President in Charge of Organization and invite them to help you organize your home office and keep it organized. At the end of the day, their job is to put the pencils back into the pencil holder, file some papers left on the desk into your input basket, take out the trash and anything else that falls under their title. An older kid could take on the title of Treasurer and help you log all the information that goes into tax time affairs like logging your computer usage, keeping a log of phone calls and an index of the money you continually spend on office and business expenses.
You have to know when to say enough is enough when you operate a home business with kids, however. There will be times when your business needs are so elemental to continued success that anything less than a bona fide health or safety emergency is not a good enough excuse for intrusion into your business world. Deadlines are just one example; if you’ve got a deadline of 5:00 PM this afternoon and the kid comes in wanting a sandwich at 4:30 PM, then you need to take five minutes no to make the sandwich, but to lay down the law that you are NOT to be disturbed except for emergencies. A spouse or older child should already have been informed of the urgency of the deadline and the kid should have already gone to the spouse or older sibling. You can invite your children into the world of your home business, but part of that invitation means knowing when to stay away.