You’ve Got Some Nerve Center

You haven't had a hard day at the office until you've worked from home. Sure, working in your pajamas is an alluring job perk, but ask anyone whose daily commute involves taking coffee from the kitchen to the den and you'll hear more than a few tales of woe. If you're thinking about working from home, or have a home-based business, here are some solutions to issues you are likely to confront.

Problem: The distinction between work time and personal time can become blurred, if not completely distorted. If a problem arises with the business, it's your problem, and it won't go away by simply “leaving the office” or “going home.” Let's face it, where's to go? Remember, even when you are relaxing at home, you are still – technically – at the office.

Solution:
Try to set up a clearly delineated work space for yourself. Stick to specific office hours if you can. Don't let your office “bleed” into every room of the house because it makes it all that much more difficult to shift out of “work mode.”

Problem: The idea that you have two roles at home – worker and family member – can pose problems for some. The worker part of you has phone calls to make to customers; the family member knows it would be good to start a load of laundry.

Solution:
Be clear with yourself about the need to separate the two roles and focus. Knowing that these conflicts are a natural part of working from home will help you make better choices about them. Try to concentrate on your business tasks for comfortable periods of uninterrupted time.

Problem: Family members, friends and business associates doubt your business commitment because you work in your pajamas.

Solution:
Just because you don't work in a traditional office building doesn't mean your business is a leisure pursuit. Do your best to create a serious professional image to your clients and remind those close to you of your dedication and need for respect.

Problem: Your house is full of built-in interruptions and distractions, whether they be children, pets, neighbors or even delivery people.

Solution:
To the best of your ability, create a private, distraction-proof work area. Define and set specific hours of “undisturbed time” and ask family members to respect those limitations on your time.

Problem: Working at home alone can feel isolating.

Solution:
Make sure to schedule networking meetings outside the home office. It's important to retain your contacts and can break up your day.

Just as owning your own business is different than being an employee; working from home is a completely different lifestyle. With the proper tools, you'll find the benefits far outweigh the challenges as long as you can find workable solutions.