One of the greatest perks of working from home is that you can do your job “as is”: without getting dressed up or having to worry too much about your appearance or workspace.
But occasionally, depending on your line of business, you might be required to invite a client into your workplace. This can be a delicate situation since your workspace is part of your private home.
Here are a few tips on making a client visit to your home as professional and comfortable as possible for all involved.
First, the obvious: dress the part. Yes, you are at home. But that fact makes it especially important to project an image of professionalism to your client. You’ll feel more self-assured and they’ll be more confident about your occupational capabilities.
Now, to prepare your workspace.
If at all possible, ask your family to leave the house for the duration of your meeting, or at least retire to a different part of the house. Professionals who have more frequent in-home client visits might even consider soundproofing their workspace to minimize disruptions to their family life.
If you have a separate office space, keep in mind the path your client will take to arrive there. Don’t lead your customer through a messy family room or a kitchen full of dirty dishes. Make sure you convey “tidy professionalism” in every part of the home that your client might see – this includes the bathroom.
Don’t have a dedicated office space? That’s OK. Most experts recommend meeting in the dining room in such a circumstance. It’s a relatively “public” area of the home and offers a large work surface, suitable to use as a conference table or desk. Of course, you’ll want to tidy the room and ensure that there’s adequate lighting. And be sure to clear the room of any personal items such as family photos.
Bringing your work life into your home space doesn’t have to be awkward or stressful for you or for your business contacts. Just maintain an appropriate level of professionalism in your home and the way you present yourself, and soon enough it will begin to feel natural to invite colleagues into your home office.