Getting family to understand I *work* from home.

Avatar for demecafe
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Getting family to understand I *work* from home.
2
Wed, 11-27-2013 - 2:18pm

Hi, Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get my friends and family to understand that yes, I am home, but no, I can't drop everything to do x,y,z.

Or am I the only one to experience this?! It's maddening! I have set hours I work. It doesn't change and has been this way for over a year. I'm at a loss.


demecafe

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2006
Wed, 11-27-2013 - 6:40pm

You need to lay out the rules very clearly and stick to them. If you can reach everyone by email, that would be ideal. You would then be able to explain the rules once and send them to everyone.

Most of my friends understand that I work from home and have a schedule that I must keep. They have been very considerate about not expecting me to leave my work during what they know to be my working hours. Family was another matter. My SIL and an aunt were very disrespectful of my work schedule and deliberately came to my house or called me just because I dared to say "no" to something they wanted because I was working. Everyone else was somewhere in between the two extremes.

Here is what worked for me. For the few people who were the real problem, I sent them the following information: Here are my rules: No personal phone calls or visits during working hours unless it is an emergency. If you call me or visit me during working hours for something that is not an emergency, after that I will block your calls and not answer the door if you come to my house. Period. No exceptions. (SIL and aunt are still blocked--everyone else got the message after a couple of weeks). If you come to my house while I am working, I will not answer the door (I can see the front walk from my office window, so I don't even need to get out of my chair). I don't care how long or loudly you bang on the door. I will not answer. (I do answer the door for deliveries and repair persons and the like who have an appointment.) If you really need to contact me, send me an email and I will read I when I have time. Otherwise, please respect my working hours as you would for anyone who works in an office. When I am working I am not free to go out to lunch with you, pick up your kids, babysit your kids, go shopping for you or with you, drive you anywhere or pick you up, wait at your house for the plumber or anyone else, or anything else it might occur to you to ask me to do. If you wouldn't ask someone who works in an office to do it, then don't ask me to do it during my working hours.

For everyone else (you know, the friends and relatives with good social skills who were able to understand that I was working and were respectful of my boundaries), I just sent a little note with my working hours and letting them know I would be happy to get together with them after work and that they should feel free to call if there was an emergency or email any time but that I would probably not be able to read emails right away. It took a few weeks, but eventually everyone but the problem SIL and aunt learned to respect my working hours.

A very few of them were very miffed and distanced themselves from me, but I figure they were probably not very good friends to begin with if they were so disrespectful. They don't pester their friends who work in offices but seemed to be incapable of understanding that my working hours were just as real as if I worked in an office.

The key is that you have to be firm. Do not answer the door after you have explained that you will not answer if they come during working hours. Even if they pound on the door for an hour, do not answer the door. Use caller ID to screen your calls and let them go to voice mail. After a while, nearly everyone will get the message and your life will get easier. But you absolutely have to be firm. If you start making exceptions or try to keep explaining or apologize for working or any other sign of weakness, you are lost. You must be firm and stick to your rules.

Good luck to you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2006
Wed, 11-27-2013 - 6:40pm

Sorry.  Double post.