(This post by Lori Twichell originally featured at www.cwahm.com)
Many times when people think about someone who works from home, they donâ€™t picture a professional working environment. Instead, they see us working from our bed or our living room in our jammies and having a much more relaxed schedule than what would happen in a regular office environment. (You can insert your laughter here.) This can give a perception that those of us who work from home are just doing this as a hobby or that we canâ€™t be as professional as someone in a big power office somewhere. It can also serve to undermine their opinion of your ability to do the job. Itâ€™s up to us to change that perspective in their minds. Summerâ€™s here. If your house is anything like mine, itâ€™s much harder to do that, but itâ€™s not impossible.
Have you ever had a house eruption? You know, when everythingâ€™s quiet and peaceful while youâ€™re working (usually on the phone) and then chaos explodes in the background? Mine usually involve some sort of children screaming and dogs barking all at once. With summer here and all the kids home from school, this is an inevitability in my house. It happened one time when I was on the phone doing business with Dondi Scumaci. If you donâ€™t know who Dondi is, sheâ€™s an international speaker and author specializing mentoring women in business. I began profusely and profoundly apologizing for the chaos, certain that I was offending my client. That was my mistake. Not the apology. You see, in that moment, I had shifted from professional Marketing Director to Mom. My client had become a guest in my home (even though she was on the phone) and I was treating her as such.
Dondi advised me to picture myself in a huge office with a big shiny marble desk and a wall of glass windows overlooking a city. This shifted my entire perspective. If my children were to burst into that shiny office with the marble desk, how would I explain it to a client on the phone? I would apologize, sure, but not from the perspective of a mom having a guest in her home. Iâ€™d apologize for the chaos in the background in the same way that I would if it were construction or some other noise in an office building thatâ€™s beyond my control. Instead of saying â€œIâ€™m so sorry my kids are home from school and (insert excuses here)â€¦â€ try â€œIâ€™m sorry for the noise. My kids are in the office with me today.â€ You may be surprised at the reception you get.
This also works when you need to share your schedule or pull together a conference call or meeting. You may be carpooling from 2-3 pm every day or fixing lunch for your kids, but clients donâ€™t need to know that. During those times, you have meetings. Or youâ€™ll be out of the office. Donâ€™t worry about sharing the details of why youâ€™re out or youâ€™re unavailable.
So next time you have a house eruption, picture that big shiny office with a view. Who knows? It might even help your stress level!
Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing . She is also the Marketing Director for Christian Work at Home Moms and JV Media Design. In her spare time, Lori is a managing partner with Radiant Lit and a professional book reviewer for Fiction Addict. Lori and her husband live in San Antonio, Texas with their three kids and two dogs.