Business in the Front, Party in the Back

Business in the Front, Party in the BackBy Angelo DiGangi

So you’ve decided to host a holiday gathering in your home this year. That sounds like fun! But if you’re wondering how you’ll keep your home business running in spite of the festive chaos that ensues when family and friends come to town, you’re not alone.

These days, many people telecommute from their home office and require both living and working space, particularly during the holiday season. It is possible, with some planning, to harmoniously do both within the four walls of your house – even if yours is a modest abode.

Let Guests Know That You Work From Home and Where Your Office Is

Perhaps the most important part of preparing for houseguests to swarm around your business space is to let them know in advance that you work from home and that certain areas of your home – as well as certain computers, telephones or other pieces of equipment – are for business only.

You can also try to block off your home office space. If your office is in a separate room, you might be able to close the door to keep your friends and relatives out. But if your work space is in an area where other people will have access to it, such as a corner of the living room or dining room, try these tips:

  • Put up a room divider to separate your office from the rest of the space.
  • Turn bookshelves, cabinets or other home furniture so that it creates a “nook,” separating your work space from the rest of the room.

Pack Up Whatever You Can

If overnight guests are staying on your office futon or a holiday party will engulf all the rooms of your house, you might want to pack up as much of your business as you can. Items you stow away while your visitors are around might include the following:

  • Important or confidential documents
  • Anything children might find interesting, such as pens, markers, stickers and other items that attract attention
  • Printers or other bulky equipment that might get bumped or broken
  • Wires or anything along the floor that guests could stumble over

Build an Office To Go

You will probably have to answer a call, check an email or do something business-related at some point during the holiday festivities. Why not be prepared to conduct business wherever you are? Try these tips if your usual office space is not particularly quiet.

  • If you normally work on a desktop computer, try using a tablet or laptop to move around the house – or to a coffee shop or other quiet area – with ease.
  • If you work from home by choice and have the opportunity to work from a traditional office during the holidays, take advantage of the situation and become a commuter again, at least temporarily.
  • Let clients know to call you on your cell phone rather than an office phone or to send text messages if you’ll be away from your usual email access.


Don’t get worked up over the holiday season just because someone places a plate of shortbread cookies on your computer desk. You and your guests will have a much better time if you learn to roll with the punches.

Since 1994, Angelo DiGangi has been a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago area, providing DIY advice on homes, as well as home offices. Angelo is also a contributor to Home Depot’s Home com website. For home offices, Angelo provides tips on essential home office furniture such as bookcases, room dividers and computer desks.

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