My husband emailed me with a simple question that I could not immediately answer. “A business partner needs to know what our hours of operation are. Do we have it posted anywhere?” I don’t know which is worse – the fact that I didn’t know the answer off the top of my head, or that both of us were clueless! This simple, yet dumbfounding question got me thinking – what are good hours of operation when you work from home? My knee-jerk reaction was to reply with the following:

  • in between diaper changes (we have a 2 year old)
  • when we can’t sleep
  • when the kids are shoveled off to school and the house turns quiet as a mouse
  • before HLN ends but not before the coffee is finished brewing
  • not during a new episode of RHOC
  • after the dishes are done and a load of laundry is in the wash

Obviously, I work from home. Our marketing agency is small (or a fancier word for small is agile…and I like the sound of that better, so I’ll go with agile). We do everything via internet so there’s no need to clock in at an office and leave at a certain time. It’s pretty awesome! We do have a satellite office, but my husband spends the majority of his time there when our toddler is home during the day. He keeps pretty normal office hours that are as flexible as we need them to be. Me, on the other hand, complete opposite!

If you work from home you can probably relate to my knee-jerk responses about what our hours of operation are. Simply put, when you work from home, your routine and schedule can be easily thrown off by the slightest stimuli…(like the fact that I just noticed how crooked the pictures in our dining room are – I’ll need to add that to my to-do list.)

What are good hours of operation when you work from home?

Based on our current schedule we seem to have adopted a 7am-3:30pm work schedule. This is because all of our younger kids are out of the house by 7am. Our 9 year old returns from school at 3:15pm, so I’ve learned once that happens I need to accept that nothing intensive will get done in the next hour or so while he’s home.boy sitting in chair at desk

If you have kids, here are a few things to consider when determining your home office hours of operation:

  1. Start your day before the kids wake up, but don’t jump into work until they leave for school
  2. Do all of your tasks that require a high level of concentration in the beginning of the day
  3. Leave the smaller tasks for the end of the day when your kids arrive home
  4. Keep an eye on the school holiday calendar – those days off can sneak up on you and your work schedule!

If you don’t have kids to consider, most likely your home office hours of operation range between 6am-5pm to maybe 7:30am-3:3pm. What ever schedule you land on, try to be as consistent as possible with it. Working from home is great, but can quickly become a full day of getting absolutely nothing done. From time to time it’s healthy to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

P.S. – Our “official” hours of operation are 7am-3:30pm 🙂

For advice for working from home effectively please read this recent Inc.com article: Get More Done: 18 Tips for Telecommuters

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