A typical week in my home office…
As I move into my fourth year of business, I’ve developed a schedule that works around my lifestyle. A typical work week “at Fletcher Prince” is not a typical work week for many people, but it works for me. I thought I would share what my work is like, and I would love to hear what your work week is like.
David and I (and most independent consultants we know) work out of our homes, and around the schedules of our families (which means I had to get a special permit from the County to work in my house!)
The nature of our wired business means that I rarely get a full day off, even on weekends and when I’m traveling on vacation, but so far, that’s been okay. And my son has been understanding when I need to put in a few hours here or there.
I try to be available during most business hours for my clients. As an independent consultant, I have to take the work that comes along when I can get it. But Monday’s a short day in Fairfax County schools, so I like to spend that afternoon spending quality time with my son, and I use my morning for errands or catching up on small projects. And there are a lot of school holidays and teacher planning days on Mondays. So that’s the reason why I almost never schedule meetings or video shoots on Mondays.
Tuesday through Friday, I’m generally on the clock from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Even if I don’t have a client project, I’m working on Fletcher Prince promotions, paperwork, or pro bono work. But closer to 4 p.m., I’m clocking out to spend time with my son. Being there for him is — for me — the best part of working at home.
Many Tuesdays, David and I meet and have a production meeting over lunch. He also has his own clients, so we don’t always meet. But if we’re working on a big project, we do try to have face time so we can work it all out and coordinate schedules and deadlines. But usually, he works in his home office in Bethesda and I work in mine in Falls Church, and we keep in touch by email and phone.
Then, to make up for the time in the afternoons that I spend with my son, I usually put in a few hours every Wednesday night. That’s also when I try to attend networking events.
Every other weekend is usually a crunch weekend for me (when my son’s with his dad). Remember in college when you were trying to finish a paper or cram for an exam? Those weekends often feel like that. A lot of work in a short period! I try to schedule projects that require intensive attention — like setting up blogs or editing video — on those weekends.
Working at home is convenient, especially if you are balancing the demands of family and work. And I love being able to work in a space that feels just right for me, with my paintings, and messy desk, and photos everywhere.
I wonder if working at home will become more of a trend, even for employees of other companies. My sister works for a major corporation. She travels a lot for her job, but when she’s not on travel, she works out of a home office, and she loves it.
There are some downsides to working out of your home. For me, I think the biggest downside is knowing when to quit. The work is always there (so is the laundry). Meetings can also be challenging, and I have to be more proactive about networking opportunities.
The biggest drawback for me about working at home is the isolation. Most days, I don’t mind having the quiet time to work. But sometimes, I do get lonely. I wish I had a dog or cat to keep me company sometimes. I play the radio when it feels too quiet.
That’s why I will make it a priority this year to attend the IPRA (Independent Public Relations Alliance) luncheons. Not only is it fun for me to touch base and eat lunch with a great bunch of people, but the speakers have also been terrific. I have also obtained some of my favorite clients through my connections with this organization.
If you work out of your home, what tips do you have for me? What have you found that works well for you?
- Working From Home: A Survivor’s Guide (mint.com)
- Tips on Managing Time While Working in a Home Office (brighthub.com)
- Seven things you need to know about working from home (theglobeandmail.com)