Being a work-at-home mom usually means a causal environment plenty of easy-going situations. Many of us wear our pajamas throughout the day, coloring or crafting with the kids as we accomplish our goals to conquer the world with our business savvy selves. We make friends all along the way. We eat lunch at our desks and we often times attend conference calls as our kids play at our feet.
On the flip side of this comfy work style, there is still a sense of professionalism that needs to be maintained. We tend to be friendlier and more comfortable with those we work with because we are comfortable with our work environment. This can open doors to trouble if we aren't careful to separate work from personal. In Colorado, we even find ourselves camping, hiking or generally enjoying the great outdoors both for business as well as pleasure. The lines of appropriate behavior can easily become blurred.
Sexual harassment shouldn't be a term that is used lightly. However, appropriate behavior and business related activities should go hand in hand. When did the line change between good behavior and sexual harassment at professional events? Working from home, sometimes it's easy to forget the level of professionalism that is excepted at various industry functions. Friends attend together, share ideas and then often times head back home to enjoy a recap over BBQ and beer.
It's important to remember the "rules of interaction" when it comes to participating in business related functions. Although you might be attending with close friends or long time colleagues, not everyone around you needs to hear your personal stories or be privy to topics you might share at home. It's easy to forget where we are and whom we are speaking with when we become comfortable around certain groups of people.
Some things to keep in mind about professionalism when working from home and appropriate behavior:
- Draw a line between personal conversations and business conversations. If you work with friends, make sure that when you are out in public, your friendship doesn't cloud the professionalism your business should display to others.
- Dress appropriately. Regardless of where an event is being held, remember to wear clothing that is professional. Business attire does not include micro-minis and excessive cleavage. If you want to be taken seriously, dress appropriately.
- Remember it's business, not happy hour. Many after hour business functions will include a happy hour or even an open bar. Don't take this as an opportunity to catch up on your wine tasting adventures. Keep a level head about your drinking.
There is a time and place for all levels of interaction business or otherwise. Make sure your choice of behavior fits the situations appropriately. Most importantly, don't tolerate inappropriate behavior either... it won't stop just because you turn your cheek or look the other way.