Much as I love freelancing, it has its drawbacks. One of these is clients thinking they have an inalienable right to call or email at all hours. With the latter, I just ignore them until the next day, when I feel more inclined to type up a civilised reply to their emailed query. Phoning outside office hours gives me the right hump, though.
At 19.55 this evening, my phone rang. I picked it up, half-expecting it to be a friend or family member, and was all set to say I'd call back after EastEnders. It was a potential client. My heart sank. It was pure luck I was actually at my desk instead of on the sofa, because I really was about to tune into Albert Square. Quick as a flash, I apologised for not being able to talk right now as it was outside working hours and I was cooking. I scrawled his number on the back of an envelope and promised to call back next morning. Then I hung up and legged it into the living room with 30 seconds to spare before the EE theme tune kicked in.
This was a typical intrusion. I am fed up of people thinking that just because I work from home it's ok to call after 6pm. 'Cos it bloody well isn't. Nor is it ok to call on Saturdays or Sundays. I may well be working in the evenings or at weekends - I try to avoid it as much as possible, but at least if I do it, it's my choice. And nobody's business but mine. My website's contact page clearly states that my working hours are 9am to 6pm. In the evening, like everybody else who has a busy working life, I want to relax and unwind. I do not want to talk business.
Working from home has its plusses - I can nip to the shops when I feel like it, book haircuts or other appointments to suit myself, even take a nap on a slack day. Of course, it has taken me forever to instil in friends and family that my being at home does not mean I'm not really working. And that it's not ok to pop in for coffee when passing unless they've checked beforehand that it's convenient. All that, though, pales into insignificance alongside clients real and potential who think it's fine to butt in on my private time.
Time to install a second line, methinks...