Working from home has become a new reality for many people, and the business world has seen a huge rise in virtual home-based businesses. Now that people know that working from home isn’t just possible, but can make a great business model, it’s understandable that many people prefer to walk this path.
Setting up a business on your own is daunting, but certain principles can help you to succeed. Once you have your office set up and your business idea ironed out, then it’s time to start finding clients and making money. However, there is one aspect of setting up a home business that is easy to neglect. That is professionalism.
Why Professionalism Matters
It’s painfully easy to slip into bad habits when you work from home and allow your home life and your work life to mesh into one lump. This is a mistake, as it can interfere with your work-life balance. Without a clear divide between work and personal life, you end up barely managing either.
Maintaining a professional attitude towards your work is one way to make sure that you don’t fall into this trap. But, most importantly, your customers, clients, and employees will notice. Your employees will follow a bad example far more readily than a good one, so if you set the precedent for sloppy, unprofessional work, then that’s what they will deliver.
Your clients and customers will look unfavorably on an unprofessional business. Yes, working from home sometimes creates misconceptions about your level of professionalism, but it’s up to you to prove those conceptions right or wrong.
Working from home does allow more flexibility than working in an office setting, but there’s a difference between being flexible and letting your professionalism slide. Here are some ways to maintain a measure of professionalism.
How To Maintain Professionalism at Home
One obvious step is to watch what you wear. Working in your pajamas might be tempting, but it’s certainly not professional. Even if you don’t plan on holding any meetings in your PJs, it can still impact your working mind. What we wear reflects our attitude, to an extent. So, make the effort to get washed and dressed and it’ll be easier to get into the frame of mind that you need for work. While business attire is a good option, you can work in jeans and a t-shirt if you prefer. The important thing is actively getting ready for work.
Another important step is to stick to a schedule and a routine. You may be more flexible, but if you never set aside time to do your work, then it likely won’t get done. People have busy lives and it’s very easy to fill them up with other activities.
Another way to help you to separate your home life from your business life is to set up a virtual business address. This looks more professional to clients than a home address and helps to differentiate your business life from your home life.
Do you have tips to staying professional at home? If so tell us in the comments!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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