Log in to the Workfrom network for best results, or join for free.
Julian Stewart
Julian Stewart Workfrom.co

Not Home Alone: Remote Working From Your Parents’ House

Photo credit: iStock.com/Highwaystarz-Photography

Working from home is one of the top perks job seekers crave, despite the fact it’s also one of the more difficult environments for the remote professional. There are numerous distractions which can quickly derail your productive workday if you aren’t prepared.

These problems can be compounded if you’re living with your parents. When you’re back in the familial home, your ability to get things done can be impeded by a number of factors: you may lack a proper workspace, have limited privacy, and face connectivity challenges you wouldn’t encounter in a dedicated office environment. But have faith — a combination of good communication practices and some industriousness on your part can ensure you’re able to meet your work obligations while you’re under mom and dad’s roof.

Make Some Space

When you work from your parents’ house, you may have far less control over your work environment. There’s no guarantee you’ll have a door you can close or an uncluttered desk where you can set up.

Do your best to work with what you have. Keep your setup to a minimum while finding small ways to personalize your work area. Consider buying a comfortable chair if there’s not one readily available. Perhaps you have a lap desk you can utilize? Or maybe you can co-opt a breakfast nook or a similarly cozy area as a new home office for yourself.

A Little Privacy

Let’s face it: you’re at home, which means your family will likely assume you are accessible to them. This means that you may have to deal with frequent interruptions at inopportune times.

Set mutually agreeable ground rules with family members about your availability. A simple agreement stating that you are off limits when the door is closed may set clear boundaries. But if you are working in a common space, such as the living room, you may need to resort to other methods of maintaining your focus such as noise-canceling headphones or even a simple “Do not disturb” placard.

Invest in Great WiFi

Odds are good that your parents are not as tech savvy as you. They probably don’t worry about having state-of-the-art internet access as long as they are able to check email and visit their favorite sites. As a remote professional, you are likely more demanding when it comes to your connectivity.

As long as your folks aren’t still using a 2400 baud modem, you can likely meet your need for speed by pitching in with your know-how. If their WiFi is less than ideal, offer to troubleshoot their setup. By simply updating software, replacing outdated cables, and talking to their ISP, you can ensure your parents are getting the most bang for their buck.

Consider pitching in financially, too. You can offer to cover the cost of upgraded service. This can be a true win-win for the household: you won’t be slowed down, and your folks may well appreciate your efforts to make their WiFi speeds the envy of the neighborhood.

Reception Matters

Even the best apps don’t eliminate the need for a simple phone call. If you are unfortunate enough to have poor service from your cell provider in your parents’ area, you may need to opt for a VoIP solution such as Skype or even a landline. Too many conversations beginning with “Can you hear me now?” aren’t going to reflect well on you professionally, no matter how others value your expertise.

It’s best to avoid using a shared line, but if you absolutely have no other choice than to use the family phone for business, make sure you communicate your needs well in advance. After all, you probably don’t want Mom telling your top client they need to wait until you’ve finished dinner before you can talk with them about their project.

Get Out and Explore

Establishing a good base from your parents’ place is important. But you’ll likely need other options. If only for your own sanity, get out of the house occasionally. Use Workfrom to help you locate the best coffee shops, coworking spaces, and other great spots for remote working.

Above all, when you need to work from the family home, be kind, be respectful, and you’ll find the situation goes more smoothly.


more stories on workfrom

The Freelancer’s Guide to Working on the Fly

Cowork like a boss at NXT Industries, Portland, Oregon

Cowork Like a Boss and Snag a Job in No Time

Five Ways to Stay Connected While Roaming Free