March is always a fun and exciting month for us, its spring break, my daughter’s birthday, my mom’s birthday, and my father-in-law’s birthday not to mention all the craziness of SXSW, spring fever, and wanting to play on the lake every day! With all these exciting events going on we always have an endless stream of family and friends coming to visit in March. But as you can probably guess having houseguests can wreak havoc on your work schedule when you work-at-home.
When you have a regular 9-to-5 job where you leave the house every day, you have definite boundaries for work and home. But when you work from home those boundaries become unclear for both you and your houseguests.
So to enjoy your guests and still get your work done, here are some tips on working at home while entertaining houseguests.
1. Plan Ahead
By doing a little pre-planning, you can still enjoy your guests and get your work done. For me, this includes doing more work the week before I have houseguests and creatively planning my work times when my guests are present. I also like to delegate some of my normal housekeeping duties to my husband and have him entertain while I am busy completing my work. Remember to leave everything that your guest will need in their bedroom or guest bathroom (clean towels, washcloths, soap, toothpaste, hairdryer, cotton balls, Q-tips, and extra blankets) this way guests won’t have to ask you for these items.
Let your guests know that you’re happy they’re spending time with you but that you still have work obligations. Create a schedule and let them know what times you’ll be working and what times you’ll be able to play. If noise is an issue, try working at a local library or quiet café where you’ll be able to get some work done. By clearly establishing work times and playtimes with your guests you’ll be able to balance the two, and your guests won’t feel as if they are a burden.
3. Schedule Meals
Before your guests arrive, make a schedule of meals that you’ll be making for each day. For me, this usually consists of eating dinner out a couple of times, ordering take-out such as pizza, and getting my husband to pick up breakfast tacos from our favorite local taco stand. I also stock up on fruit, yogurt, bagels, and cereal for breakfast, and sandwich supplies for lunch – this way guests can help themselves to these meals when they’re ready. Also make sure to have plenty of beverages (milk, coffee, juice, sodas, tea, wine, etc.) you don’t want to be needlessly running to the grocery store.
4. Offer Alternatives
If it’s your guest’s first time being to your town, give them a list of fun activities to do in the area, along with maps and directions. If they’ve been there before giving them a list of some local events that are going on. Rent some movies, put out board games, cards, puzzles, and magazines to keep guests occupied if they don’t feel like venturing out. By offering alternatives, you won’t feel obligated to entertain when you need to be working.
Know that you don’t have to plan an activity for every minute of the day. So often when I go on vacation, I get back, and I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. Leave time for your guests to sleep in late, read books, watch movies, take walks, nap, and relax. Often our own perception of what we should be doing as a hostess is not our guest’s expectations. Leave plenty of time for rest and relaxation.
6. Say Not This Time
If you have a heavy workload and having houseguests increases your stress level and decreases your productivity — then politely tell them that right now isn’t a good time for a visit. Look at your calendar and suggest alternative dates that work better with your work schedule.
Juggling your work schedule with daily home life can be a challenge, but with a little planning and communication, you can enjoy your houseguests and get work done.
Do you have a tip for working at home while entertaining houseguests? I’d love to hear your ideas!