There are a ton of benefits to having a home-based business. To name a few: being able to set up meetings and run errands on a more flexible schedule, the ability to maintain the kind of environment you want— everything from the paint on the walls to the thermostat, you avoid some major overhead that a small business housed elsewhere would usually incur, and the commute is pretty easy on the gas tank, too! But, be careful not to make the mistake of getting too comfy-cozy when working from home, lest you come across unprofessional. Here are some details to keep in mind:
- Set actual workday hours, communicate them to your clients and vendors, and stick to them! This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take meetings out, or run errands during those hours, but being consistent overall will eliminate a lot of confusion and runaround when people are trying to reach you.
- Get dressed for work. Even though you can hang out in your PJs all day doesn’t mean you should. Studies show that if you look ready for work you’ll be more likely to come to the table, office, or laptop with gusto and get your work done. Your focus will be easier to come by if you feel put together.
- Always answer your phone professionally. “Thank you for calling Business ABC, Inc. This is Margo, how may I help you?” -vs- “Hello?” or “Hey, Name of Caller (because I have Caller ID and I think I know that it’s you.)” Starting off the conversation with your company’s name reinforces your brand — as does asking how you may help the caller. Taking care to answer professionally also helps to instill your caller’s confidence – and the more confidence they have in you, the more likely they are to do business with you again and again.
- Don’t communicate your personal goings-on just because you are in a personal setting. If you just hopped out of bed, or out of the shower, or are actually still in your pajamas, your clients don’t need to know. Focus on projecting a professional atmosphere.
- Know that sound carries. Don’t let a noisy household carry over the phone…washer and dryer running, TV, children playing, dogs barking… Be sure to communicate your office hours to those sharing your home so that they can respect that time and give you the peace and quiet you need to manage your company effectively.
Projecting a professional image when you’re working from home will help make your “home, sweet home” a “business, sweet business!”