When you first start working from home, many (not all) of your family and friends truly won’t get it. I understand that your family and friends might be just as Intelligent as mine, but trust me; you will have to explain to many of these Einsteins, that you are Actually
Working. You will get phone calls with jokes about you still being in your pajama’s and many will make comments like “Boy aren’t you lucky to be Working From Home! – Hint Hint.” This is usually code for “Boy aren’t you lucky to have the opportunity to goof off!” Again you have to tactfully help your family members and friends understand that you are actually WORKING. My advise:
When you get a call, immediately check the Caller I.D. and yes I’m assuming that you have this feature. If not it’s a MUST for Virtual Workers. If it’s someone you can’t offend (Mom) or can’t convince to please stop talking (Mom), or someone you highly respect despite their faults (Mom), then simply DON’T answer. Trust me on this, once people see that you simply will NOT be disturbed (baring an emergency) it will start to sink in.
When you are able to talk to the family or friend who has constantly called, they will be miffed. Simply say “I was working, I work from home now.” Smile while you’re saying it. Trust me on this as well, the kindness will come through in your voice. In addition to being kind the statement is also concise and to the point. You don’t have to explain further to anyone how you make your living. Also trying to provide lengthy explanations will often times lead to an argument and hurt feelings on the part of one of you.
Set a definite lunch time, just as you would if you were in-office and stick to it. Imagine that you have to return to relieve someone or that another worker is waiting for you to get back to your computer so that they can go to lunch. This may actually be the case, most often, even virtual workers are still relied upon by in-office workers to provide back-up. Use your lunch hour to call family and friends who have tried to interrupt. Tell them simply that you have an hour for lunch and wanted to see how they are doing or return their call. Set a timer and when your hour is up, politely say, “I have to get back to work”. If they won’t hang up, you must show tough love, say: “If my manager calls I need to be working, you wouldn’t want to get me in trouble would you?” Put the onus on your family member or friend to show how much they respect and love you. This will work.
Don’t be discouraged if you vary from the script a time or two and give a lengthy excuse, that may inevitable lead to an argument. Just get back on track. Trust me, being concise is the key to let most people know you are serious. Continuing to do so will train the intelligent mind that this is now how you make your living and it must be respected.
For those who simply don’t get it. Voice mail is KING!!! When you do talk to them make sure to compare them to Einstein. Nobody likes to be viewed as “Too slow to get the point.” So say: “I know you’re no Einstein, but when I say I’m working, I’m working.” End the statement with a laugh though. Be brief, witty and kind. Smiling when speaking, keeping a routine and letting voice mail and caller I.D. work for you, will allow you to Work From Home Without Interruptions.