Those of us who already own a home-based business are lucky. We already know the ins and outs of working from home. We use online technology like Zoom to conduct business meetings regularly and accessing files from cloud storage like Dropbox is old hat. So, for home-based businesses is it business as usual in the midst of social distancing caused by COVID-19?
I suppose some might expect me to say yes. After all, businesses like mine haven’t been forced to make drastic changes. I’m still working on the same new website builds I was working on last Wednesday. I’m using the same software, the same services and the same processes. And perhaps if I were an automaton, it would indeed be business as usual. But I’m not an automaton.
Life right now is anything but usual and just because some of us happen to own a home business, it doesn’t mean we aren’t being affected just as deeply as those who are suddenly forced to work from home.
To begin with, we know that it’s entirely possible that some of our clients may be hurt by shutdowns. Or our client’s clients. Meaning it could very well impact our own businesses as well. Depending on what type of services or products we offer, the changes around the world may already be directly impacting us. We aren’t magically protected just because we work from home.
We’re also dealing with many of the same things everyone else is. We may own a home business, but most of us shop at local grocery and big box stores just like everyone else. We are dealing with the same empty shelves due to panic hoarding, the same disruption to our lives as our children and grandchildren transition to schooling from home, and the same fear and uncertainty surrounding our health and the health of family members who are particularly at risk.
We, just like everyone else, are having a hard time focusing on the normal, everyday things.
We are watching the CDC updates, listening to news reports and feeling just as helpless. We are just as blown away by the drastic changes to our lives that have taken place in just one week, and are just as breathless as we become aware of the rising numbers of individuals testing positive as well as the rising death toll. We too are apprehensive about the probability of this causing financial implications so far reaching that we aren’t even able to imagine them at this point in time.
I guess that’s a long way of saying that the answer is ‘No.’
Owning a home business doesn’t mean we should expect ourselves to do business as usual. We need to understand that although we may be more equipped to have less disruption in the way we do business, we are still human and need to allow ourselves a bit of leeway to deal with all of the fears and uncertainties that this crisis is bringing.
If you find yourself scrolling social media for news and updates, or taking the time to watch your local CDC give video updates, don’t feel guilty. If you’re alone in your home office, find a way to reach out and connect with others via phone or electronic means. If you’re suddenly dealing with a full house outside the door of your home office, don’t worry if your client can hear the activity of others during a call.
We’re all in this together. Be kind and understanding, not only to one another, but also to yourself. Don’t expect it to be business as usual just because you own a home-based business.