How to Get Work at Home Privacy

Working at home might seem like the ideal arrangement. But unexpected obstacles tend to crop up, including the assumption that because you're at home you're available for other home-based activities. In order to convince others to give you peace, quiet and privacy for working at home, you must first establish the mindset that work and home life are two distinct operating modes, and that you can't operate in both modes at the same time.


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    Keep strict working hours.
    • This doesn't mean that you shouldn't take advantage of the work-at-home flexibility to run errands or take the kids to the doctor. Sometimes doing these things during normal working hours saves you time overall. But stick to your set schedule as closely as possible, and plan a specific time window into the day (say, between noon and 2pm) for scheduling necessary errands.
    • Distractions are another common obstacle to working at home. The more religiously you keep your own work hours, the more likely others are to respect them. If you want others to respect your work time at home, you need to actually work. If your spouse or kids see you watching television or playing a video game, they're going to make the logical assumption that you're not "at work."
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    Set aside a separate workspace.
    • This helps establish a clear division for whether or not you're "at work." If you're in the workspace, you are not to be disturbed.
    • This only works if you respect your own boundaries. In other words, don't reach out to others for anything not work-related while in your workspace.
    • If you can't set aside separate office/workspace, create a small sign that says "Working!" and place it where others can see it. You could also put on a specific article of clothing--say, brightly colored socks or a hat--as a signal that you're working and should not be disturbed.
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    Turn off the telephone.
    • If you have to have the phone on for work calls, screen calls through caller ID or voice mail if necessary.
    • You can also use a separate line only for work calls. Turning this phone off when you're not actively working also helps keep work from creeping into your home life.
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    Ask politely.
    • If you want others to respect your work-at-home privacy, you might need to repeatedly and politely set boundaries until they finally "get" it. If your spouse, children or friends bother you while you're working, politely and gently ask them to get back to you later when you're not working--and then tell them when that will be.


  • There's another way of interpreting work-at-home privacy: Ethics or regulations might require you to keep certain documents and information private. The specific measures you must take will depend on the applicable regulations, but examples include having a safe or locking file cabinet for confidential documents, and password-protecting your computer system or confidential files.
  • If you make business calls from home and don't have a second line to use, consider blocking caller ID so others don't automatically get your home number.
  • Finally, don't conduct business meetings at home unless there's absolutely no way around it. Conducting meetings in coffee shops is often acceptable, and many establishments have a separate conference room for large meetings or to create a more professional atmosphere.

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Categories: Online and Home Businesses