Many of the customers who use our Hosted PBX service are entrepreneurs starting out in a 1-2 person operation, working out of their homes or even their cars. They have created a virtual office for their business.
There are plenty of articles out there on creating a virtual office but there are not very many on what to do once you have done so. Working in the place you live can lead to unhappiness, burnout and tension at home. However, it can be an ideal situation if you properly balance life & work responsibilities.
Here are three tips for creating a work/life balance in your virtual office:
#1 - Create Boundaries
Set Up an Area Specifically for Work
Having a dedicated area will help you remember that there needs to be a separation between work and the rest of your life. Whether it’s an office in the house, a spare bedroom or a certain corner of the kitchen table, make sure that spot is where work takes place and nothing else.
Establish Work Hours
This is especially important if you have a family. While many of us tend to work longer than we planned at the office, it can be even worse when you are at home. Decide how many and what hours you will be working each day. Don't forget about weekends. If you are going to work on weekends great, but don't forget to set hours.
#2 - Stay Organized (At Work & Life)
Technology is really your biggest asset here. Your Blackberry can be your best friend and combined with the other elements of a virtual office (phone system, computer, fax, etc), can keep you organized instantly.
Create appointments on your calendar, make yourself weekly and daily to-do lists (check out TeuxDeux.com - No phone app yet but great list creator), keep your contacts in one place and oh yeah, don't forget about birthdays and anniversaries.
Whether you do this on your phone, computer or 1990's-style planner, organization is a huge factor in your professional and personal success.
#3 - Get the Hell Out
No really, get out of there! If you are working from home, take a walk, go to the store, get some lunch. Just like you would take a break in a physical office, you need to take breaks in your virtual office.
This also goes back to creating boundaries. Mental breaks are important and stepping away from work can be the best way to boost creativity. If you don't separate work space from non-work space, the lines can easily blur.
Working in a virtual office, whether it be from your home, car, or your friend's basement, can be a great experience. What are some of your personal tips and tricks for working at home?
Here are some other great articles on working from home: