Have you ever had to consider whether or not to mail a specific invoice because of a peanut butter stain on its corner? Ever found a cheerio in among your tax documents? Do you have bad dreams that involve small children, company manuals, and a shredder? If so, you must run a home business in a small home. Those who come home to work do so because of the ones that leave the peanut butter stains, rogue cheerio, and bad dreams. However, ways exist to maximize the home office space and eliminate the chances for the divorce of children and the family business.
First and foremost, the home business owner must consider the variety of space savers that will help him maximize his office space. Shelves save incredible amounts of space and cost relatively little for what they do. Remember that you do not need the mahogany bookcase you saw recently at Office Depot, but a simple set of pressboard shelves and metal brackets from the local hardware store will do the job. Put up your shelves, and move those important documents from underneath the desk to the shelves, well out of the reach of little fingers.
Create a kid zone in the office. You came home to work so you could spend time with your kids, and yet you will only create horrible memories for them and yourself if you constantly spend time screaming, “Don’t touch that!” Instead, set up a small area in the corner of the office with a sort of mini desk. Maybe your toddler wants to mimic you. Give them paper and crayons so they can work as you work at your desk. Make them respect the physical boundaries in the office. If you do not want them on your desk, tell them that and then discipline them when they violate those boundaries. One of the dearest pictures of John F. Kennedy and his son John Jr. has John Jr. as a child playing in the alcove under his father’s desk as his father meets with cabinet members in the office. John Jr. knew where he could play, and this created a sort of bond between father and son that remains famous to this day thanks to that picture. You do not have to ban your children from the office, but you do need to create boundaries.
Finally, if you do not already have one, create a home office. You should have one specific space that works as your home office. The kitchen table is not a desk, and the countertops are not shelves. You should not have a roaming office from the kitchen to the living room to the den. If you do not have a place for an office, make a place. Consider the corner of the garage or the corner of the laundry room. Find a place and make it the office until you can have a genuine home office.
The home business should not suffer because of the tiny administrative assistants or the cramped quarters. If you came home to spend time with your kids, then find a way to do both work and spend time with them. Do not ban them, but create boundaries. And then you can learn to both make a living and enjoy your children.