There are so many advantages to working out of your home; wearing your pajamas to work, avoiding commute time in traffic, arranging your work around family commitments, and working whenever you want are just a few.
But working whenever does not equal 24/7. Your clients may think that because your office is in your home, you are available to answer calls and emails at all hours of the day and night and even on the weekends or holidays.
7 Tips to Make Sure You’re Not On the Clock All Day
1. Set up work hours and make sure your clients know what those hours are. If you don’t want to work on the weekends, but you are answering emails from your clients on the weekends you are sending them a mixed message. If a client is being persistent with multiple emails or phone calls, send them a message saying “I will take a look at/get back to you on this when I return to the office on [day/time]”.
2. Make sure your clients know just because you’re on the internet doesn’t mean you’re working. If you are friends with clients on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site and they see you are online, they may assume you are working. Let them know that’s not the case. Better yet, turn off the chat feature so that they do not when you are online.
3. Establish a response time for your calls and emails. Let your clients know that you will reply to all emails and calls within 24 hours. In most cases you have other clients and one client’s attention should not hinder work you’re doing for another client.
4. Perhaps give a personal email or phone number to clients in order for them to contact you in emergencies. This makes your client feel important and can be used to strengthen your business relationship with him or her.
5. Treat your office like a business. Close the door at the end of the day and don’t open it until the next business day.
6. Turn off your cell phone (or don’t answer any client calls) after hours. Consider getting a separate cell phone for work and personal use if you can’t help yourself from checking email or letting client calls go to voicemail.
7. When you’re on vacation, or out of the office for the day consider setting up an automated response to inform clients when you will be returning and when you’ll respond to their request.
Some freelancers want to make themselves available 24 hours day. Perhaps they feel guilty for taking time off during the day to run errands or attend a school function for their kids, but if getting called on the weekends or late at night is not okay with you, be sure to set up boundaries with your clients ahead of time.