The Rise of Home-Based Business Could Be the Demise of Home-Life Organization

by Nancy Borg

For many, working from home is a dream-come-true. The reality, however, is often chaotic and messy. Here's why you need clearly defined boundaries and a keen ability to organize your life when you work from home.

Did you know that a new home- business is born every 11 seconds? Recent polls reveal that there are more people working from home than ever before. It is the indeed the face of the new economy. The landscape has been altered by tighter budgets, down-sizing both professionally and personally, and more role reversals within families in decades. Even more astonishing, it was reported that in 2009, 24% of people who work outside their home do 80% of their work at home. The ramifications of this new dynamic can be daunting and turn the average household into a more unruly one, at best.

Life, for all of us, has changed dramatically. The "stay at home" mom may be a working mom as well, and the dad/husband perhaps now needs to create a new workplace for himself within the home. Dual income families are rising, and adapting to these multiple roles can be problematic if not organized and managed well. It is increasingly harder to draw the line and separate work-life from home- life.

Creating the optimum workplace within the home (if not already designated) poses significant trouble. The influx of mail can potentially double, and sorting it can be overwhelming, time consuming, or maybe even unmanageable. If not attended to in a timely fashion, the paper piles can take over, invade many more horizontal surfaces and clutter the home. The home worker could become the new home wrecker. The need to organize is critical.

Juggling and managing the responsibilities of working at home, and parenting simultaneously, can present a multitude of challenges. Time-management is paramount and essential for the family's healthy functionality. Having one or more family members working from home demands a more heightened sense of organization. The prior spousal roles may be irrelevant and may need to be re-defined. Setting parameters, finite scheduling, cooperation, and sharing responsibilities are key components for succeeding in this effort. Mealtimes can be a nightmare. It is complicated for sure, stressful, and maybe even messy.

The luxury of being home and surrounded by your family can be arguably both a good and bad temptation. Can you escape into a work zone when you can hear the kids screaming, playing or laughing in the background? How does this affect one's ultimate productivity? Is it possible to create an isolated professional environment within the home? Can you enforce and maintain a virtual "DO NOT DISTURB" sign all day amidst the household chaos?

My guess is, no. Moreover, it is more likely to get distracted with other non-work related tasks. Since you are home 24/7, you might be inclined to multi-task and engage in other things that need your attention around the house, and impose a respite from a tough day. To be invisible in your own home, while working, is difficult, if not impossible.

And how about knowing you are only steps away from the kitchen, you find yourself wandering there and glaring into the fridge multiple times a day? Snacking throughout the day is an appealing distraction, although there are detrimental consequences if abused, but that's for another article. Whatever the case, it's an opportunity to balance your work, family and lifestyle with a keener sense of time-management. Prioritizing is the first step and then you can implement a well-oiled system that works for you and your family.

For some of us, working out of the home is a welcomed escape, but for others, it's not always a choice. In light of the economic climate, you are lucky to be just working anywhere at all, albeit your home. Those who have always done this, no biggie, but for the demographic that have since returned back home to their new workplace....this is clearly a new America.

On the brighter side, the increasing trend of home-base businesses may impede on the overall home-life organization, but if the worst interference means a gentle hug, a kiss, or a passing smile in the middle of a hectic day, it's not too shabby. Find the happy in that.

Nancy Borg is a Professional Organizer for the Home and Small-Office. Nancy is a proud member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) servicing Nassau and Suffolk County. For further information, visit the website at www.movethemess.com or call 516-458-0324 for a free consultation.

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