Managing Office Politics at Home

Alyssa Gregory

One of the things I don’t miss about the corporate world is the never-ending office politics. Becoming my own boss definitely changed that, but despite the fact that we don’t tend to think of it this way, working from home is not without politics.

The “politics” part comes from the person-to-person dynamic that takes place in every relationship and has an influence on your working situation. And there’s no escaping it because it’s the relationships that matter regardless of who you are, where you work or what you do.

While the issues can vary from in-the-office politics, work-at-home politics can be just as sticky and hard to ignore.

The Issues

Politics when you work from home can pop up any time someone exerts power in order to influence your actions or opinions, even if it’s not deliberate. Some of the biggest culprits are:

  • Clients who continuously push the limits on the policies and guidelines you have in place
  • Kids who struggle with respecting your workspace
  • Family members who don’t support your business
  • Assumptions from others about what working from home really means
  • Relationships with colleagues and even competitors that impact your actions
  • Your own ability to honor your priorities and personal time

Staying Out of the Ring

Just like office politics, you have to be aware of the home office issues and have a plan for combating them in order to avoid being dragged into the drama. If you don’t deal with the politics, you can lose precious time trying to recover from the consequences.

Some ways to get past the politics include:

  • Be consistent across the board with your communication and expectations
  • Avoid nonconstructive complaining
  • Focus on open communication
  • Address issues immediately instead of waiting until things escalate
  • Align yourself with a home-office politics pro who can help you
  • Take measure to protect your time and energy

Most issues can be managed if you separate the relationship from the problem, and work to solve the problem while respecting the relationship. Although, just like office politics, it can take a lot of work.

What Are Your “Politics?”

Work-from-home politics can take many different shapes, and typically exacerbate some of our own internal challenges. My politics seem to rest squarely on time management and external work-from-home perception challenges. I have yet to get rid of these issues completely but have found that being aware of them and approaching them with a clear head makes them controllable.

Do you work from home and find that you still have politics to deal with? What are your biggest issues and how to you manage them?

Image credit: andysteel