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deborah.britton@yahoo.com

Home Based Office Hours

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I didn't know how to title this correctly. My question is, when you have clients and you are performing tasks and doing projects, do you give these clients a time that your home office is open? For example, on a daily basis, your home office is open from 10 am to 6pm.

 

I hope I worded this correctly.

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Hi Debby,

 

When I first started out I didn't offer hours but would tell a client they could anticipate a reply email within 24 hours on business weekdays. During those years my child was a toddler and I worked as his schedule permitted. That may have been at 8pm on one day and 10am during naptime the next. Fast forward 13 years, I now set office hours of 9am-4pm weekdays [this is for my benefit to keep me disciplined] and continue to tell clients they can anticipate an email reply within 24 hours. I seldom have someone phone me out of the blue and I always schedule phone appointments/consultations.

 

As long you meet the deadline that you promised you are free to work whenever (and wherever) you choose.

 

~Ruth

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Ruth, just what I needed to know. This answer says it all. I am currently volunteering for a client doing work from home. This is what lead me to become a Virtual Assistant. It is "Great." I get to work from home without commuting. With this client I find myself doing staggering hours. I can be doing a task for her in the early AM or the late PM. I want to come up with a more stable plan.

 

Thanks for the reply!

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I really don't have office hours. I just work when I need to. One client, that I have had for a long time, will call me after "typical" office hours sometimes, but not very often at all.

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I have office hours on my contract that state 10:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.

 

However, that does not mean that they can expect me to answer their emails constantly all day long. I do often tell clients that I have a schedule where I check my emails once in the morning and once before my business day is over.

 

Ultimately, I work all different hours, sometimes on the weekends, sometimes at 2 in the morning. But I try my best to only communicate with my clients during my business hours. Once I made the mistake of emailing a client back on the weekends and then they assumed I was always around on the weekends.

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Danielle, this is what I need to do. I want to be able to communicate with clients during certain office hours. I want to check emails, like you mentioned, twice a day. I am looking for structure. Although, I will work on projects at anytime of the day or night as I see fit, I do want to set some guidelines with communication. Very Important! I found myself sending and replying to emails too frequently. I was spending more time with emails than anything else.

 

Thank you, Danielle!

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I found myself sending and replying to emails too frequently. I was spending more time with emails than anything else.

 

Debby,

 

I use Outlook for my emails and love the Delay Send feature. I can answer emails at any time of day and schedule them to send out during my office hours. Check to see if your email service has this feature.

 

FYI: Depending on how you state how you operate, email correspondence can be part of your billable time.

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Guest AmandaWaldenVA

My office hours are 8.30am - 6.00pm, unfortunately I can't help but respond to emails whatever time they come in!

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Because my clients are from across the U.S. and often travel, it's difficult to have regular office hours. I have tried to "train" them to set appointments for calls (unless something is urgent) and that works out pretty well. I do answer emails at all sorts of hours but that just fits in my schedule. LOL

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Hmmm, I never knew there was a delay send feature in outlook, I'll have to look up how to use that! I'm a night owl so work late into evenings and it would be better if my client emails were going out at 8am instead of 2am so I don't look like a work freak ;)

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Hmmm, I never knew there was a delay send feature in outlook, I'll have to look up how to use that! I'm a night owl so work late into evenings and it would be better if my client emails were going out at 8am instead of 2am so I don't look like a work freak ;)

 

When you have a new message open look under Options > Delivery Options.

 

~Ruth

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