Stress due to the Lack of Work Space Respect
For some background on me, it’s important for my example to make sense.
I was born later in my parents life. They were both in my mid 40’s when I was born. I continued living with my parents after High-school to help with my Elderly Grandmother who was in her 90’s, my Mother had a stroke when I was around 4, and did not have the equilibrium to do everything by herself. My Grandmother passed away when I was 20, and my Mother a year later. At that point my Father was in his mid 60’s and I decided to stay with him so he would not be alone.
Luckily my father is still alive and well and my Sister now lives with him.
This led to…
“You’re just playing on your computer, you can take time to help me”
This was a common phrase heard in my house when I was growing up, and it continued when I became an adult.
It is true, during my teenage years I was mainly playing on my computer. I could and did stop my games to go help out when needed. This, however, set a bad precedent for later in life.
I have worked as a Freelancer out of a home office for the majority of my adult life. The aforementioned attitude stayed however. Even though I was making a very good living many of my family members tended to view it as just playing on a computer. In fact until I finally moved out when I started my family, it was impossible for me to make them understand what I did was real work. I had a real job and I could not be constantly interrupted during work hours.
Most of the time they aren’t trying to be rude.
The problem seems to be when you work from home, people just don’t make the separation between work time and non work time. You are at home so of course you are available to do x y or z. I honestly feel this is just a Generational mindset.
I have noticed people in younger generations tend to have an easier time understanding that what happens in a home office requires the same level of quiet and respect that working in a real office environment does.
What can you do to help the issue?
Well here are some of my tips for maintaining a work environment that is both peaceful and accessible
First, Have some indication of when you are not suppose to be bothered. This can be handled a number of ways.
- Set Hours
- A Closed Door
- A Red Light on your Headset.
Just some indication that you are working and should not be bothered unless it is an emergency.
Second, set expectations. Let the people who are in your house know what you need when you are working.
- A Quiet Peaceful work space
- No non-emergency interruptions when you are busy
- Why what you are doing might not look like work
Depending on your profession you may do some things that do not look like, or are not work. For example I know if I get stuck on a problem I may play a quick game of Faster Than Light just to clear my mind out and let me work on the problem. This doesn’t mean I am not working and does not mean I can be interrupted. I am actually working on a problem. Some of the most clever code I have written for difficult problems has come to me when I was taking a quick mental break.
At the end of the day your work arraignment just may not work. That will really come down to how well you communicate your needs and how much respect the people around you have for your work.
I have been very lucky that my Wife supports my working at home completely and does everything she can to make sure I have what I need. The kids are learning still, yet they already knew when I am on phone calls they have to be very quiet if they want to come in my office.