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20-40-60 Etiquette: Should I set work rules?
Your clients will respect your hours and if you don't have time to talk when they call, either let the call go to voice mail or answer and tell them when you will call them back and do so. You might send out an email stating your available hours. Also, have some cards printed listing your “at-home” work hours and hand them out to clients and friends.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Linda Miller, author of NewsOK's “Fashion Matters” blog: It is possible to bring private and professional life together in a home working environment. Try to set regular business hours, say from 9 to 6 or 8 to 5 and let your clients know. There may be times when those hours are stretched, just like if you were in an office. When talking with clients, politely inform or remind them of when you are available to take their calls. Include your hours on any emails. People I know who work from home full-time say a designated work area and regular hours are a must. Some are casual about their morning routines; others get ready for work just like they did when they had to be at a downtown office at 8:30.
For me, one of the perks of working part-time from home is being able to blog or write any time of the day or night. I like that flexibility if I need it. With tablets, smartphones and emails, it is easy to let business creep into your personal time. That goes for all of us, whether we're in a home office or an office building.
Callie Gordon is 20-something; Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s; and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. You'll also find a guest answer. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com. For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to blog.newsok.com/partiesextra.