Working from home sounded the ideal way to achieve a work/life balance. You imagined a blissful future full of school runs, shared lunches and story-telling after supper. Now, a few months in you are dreaming of sending your children to a holiday camp in the Outer Hebrides, and your partner on a mini-break to Mars.
Instead of the best of both worlds, you seem to be getting the worst. The children interrupt constantly, your partner wants you to return library books, and your boss is chasing you for that report due yesterday. But don’t beg your boss to give you back your old desk just yet. Instead, write a set of rules and post them right in the middle of the family notice board.
As you know, I recently started working from home. To make this work for all of us, please observe the following rules.
I work the following hours (fill in as appropriate).
During these hours, I am not available to collect dry cleaning or help with Brownie badges.
The less you interrupt me during work hours, the more likely I am to do these things later.
Interruptions are permissible in case of emergency only.
To clarify: a broken leg or a burst pipe are emergencies. The cat being sick or arguments over whose turn it is on the trampoline are not.
Penalty chores will be issued for non-emergency interruptions.
My work stationery is for work only. Yes, even the lime green Post-its you have been coveting.
It is not for craft projects, shopping lists or doing homework.
You will find an alternative supply of stationery in the dresser drawer. Transgressions will be paid for in pocket money and/or beer money.
If you are hungry, there is food in the fridge.
If you can’t find it, keep looking for it. Start where you last saw it.
If you are bored, find something to do. Otherwise I will find you something to do!
Outside work hours I will be there for you.
I will not keep working “just another five minutes” until you start to forget what I look like, and the house is in darkness.
If you stick to the rules, so will I, and we will all be happier for it.
Your loving Mum or Dad x