How to Deal with Visitors and Family If You Work at Home

The majority of the time, working from home offers unmatched convenience. You get to save time and money spent commuting to and from work, and spend more time with your family. Unfortunately, friends and family may not respect your home office as much as they would an external office. They may stop by without warning or expect you to leave your work at their convenience. Dealing with this at an early stage helps them understand and respect your house as both a home and a workplace.

Regular Hours

Establish regular work hours that you and others respect. If you are in employment, discuss your working hours with your employer and plan your day to your convenience. For example, wake up 2 hours earlier before the rest of the family and work until they wake up then join them for breakfast. The objective is to remain consistent in your schedule whether you choose the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule or you prefer a more unconventional schedule. Once those around you observe that you follow a schedule, they will respect and work around it.

Open Communication

Tell everyone that you work from home and share your schedule with those close to you. Ensure that they understand that you will not attend to them during working hours. In case visitors call requesting to visit, politely decline and ask them to come when your schedule allows you to break from work. Once you communicate openly, they are more likely to respect your work and schedule. Explain to your visitors and family that you will not entertain any interruptions during work hours and follow it up by being the first to obey your schedule even on slow days.

Use Signs

Hang signs around your work area and on your door to let family and visitors know when you are open to interruption. Additionally, put up a sign so your family knows when you are working. In case there are children at home who cannot read, use color-coded signs to help them understand. For example, red for no interruptions, orange for when you are on a break, and blue for when you are off work.

Network and Socialize

Working from home can easily isolate you from friends and family, giving them a reason to drop in and check on you. Plan to spend time with loved ones on a regular basis. For example, set aside weekends to visit close family or friends, or to take the kids out to play. Additionally, encourage friends and family to call in during breaks. For example, ask your mum to call in after a certain time so you can give her attention, and call her in case she forgets. Keeping in touch with friends and family reduces the frequency with which they disrupt you during your working hours. It also helps you break the boredom that comes from working alone, allowing you to focus on your work without entertaining their distractions during the rest of the week.


Working from home requires the support of friends and family. Once they understand that you take your work seriously, they’ll respect that and even encourage you to do the same and pay more attention to your work.

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