How to “Share” Your Home Office with Your Family During the Holidays

The holidays are a time for relaxing, getting together with family, and…working? According to a 2014 survey conducted by the marketing firm uSamp, as many as 57 percent of workers planned to work from home during the holidays. It shouldn’t be surprising, given that the survey also found that many workers frequently put in extra hours after arriving home at night. The trick over the holidays is learning how to balance your work and home life — and finding a way to share your work space.

Even if you regularly work from home, it’s different during the holidays. You are likely to have more people around, such as your spouse and children. A little planning and a few ground rules can help you avoid conflict, get your work done, and still enjoy some family time.

Start with Ground Rules

It’s easy for family members to interrupt your work flow “just for a minute,” and that minute can quickly become a slippery, unproductive slope. Make it clear that you’re working, and you need a certain amount of time to get that work done.

Setting aside a time during the day to take a break and do something with your family can help. This could be scheduling lunch with the kids or taking an afternoon break for a holiday snack. It’s a good way to come up for air and spend a little face time with your loved ones. Other than that, they need to understand you’re in work mode and should only be interrupted for emergencies. (It may be important to clarify what qualifies as an emergency as well.)

Define Your Workspace

If you work from home frequently, you probably have a designated workspace. If not, you need to create one. Finding a new place to settle in and work each day is distracting and tends to be unproductive.

It’s best to have a room with a door that closes so you can separate yourself completely from the noise and activity of your family. A sound machine with “white noise” could also help drown out some of the sounds and allow you to focus better.

But what if you don’t have a separate room you can use? Consider making a partition wall with a screen to help cut down on interruptions. If there are too many distracting sounds, noise-cancelling headphones or even a set of earbuds can help — and there’s no reason not to listen to a little holiday music while you’re working.

Setting boundaries for your family also means setting some boundaries for yourself, such as not working too long during your “time off.” Decide in advance how many hours you’re going to put in each day, and stick to it. Set timers to alert you when it’s time to take breaks or to end your day. After all, even though you have work to do, you also need to allow time in your schedule to enjoy the holiday with your family.

If you need help setting up the perfect office space in your home, CORT Furniture Rental can help. Whether you need to fill an entire room or just a corner, there’s something to fit your space and style.