Do you have structured office hours for your business? ⏰📷
Back in the day, when Luke and I started our business, we were hustling ALL the time, with little to no break- ever! We were in college AND we were engaged + planning a wedding, so it’s safe to say life was a little crazy… but we knew we needed to give this business everything we had if we wanted it to work out!! 👊🏼Because of Jesus, it did work out- we’re so thankful! We worked and worked, and if I’m honest, we definitely didn’t even try to balance things for a little while. We just knew it was a season and that someday, when our business took off, we wouldn’t have to work 24/7 anymore! 💖However, when things DID work and we DID start providing for ourselves, it was a lot harder than we thought to regain balance with our work & personal life!
Once we got married + were working together in our home office full time, we decided office hours NEEDED to happen.
So, our official office hours are now between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm! Luke + I start around 7:00-8:00 most days, but our official start time we’ve given ourselves is 9:00 am! ✨Yes, this means we actually get up and workout, shower & get ready for the day EVERY MORNING! We “show up” for work & treat it like a “real job,” even if it means walking downstairs to our office (😉), and that’s where we intentionally spend our days until it’s time to wrap things up for the day! 🙌🏻We feel that having legit office hours communicates to our clients that they’re working with a real, reliable business that they can reach during the workday. It also helps us take this job seriously, and the boundaries of office hours have helped our friends + family respect what we do even more! ☺️
So- what are a few important things to know about setting office hours for yourself as a business owner?! Let’s dive in! ⤵️
1. DIFFERENT PEOPLE NEED DIFFERENT OFFICE HOURS!
This is based a lot on your life stage/season, too! For example, I know a lot of mama’s who get their work done before their little one wakes up + during their naps. I know other mama’s who have a nanny 1-2 days a week and get all their work done on those days. We have other friends who do their work from noon to 8:00 pm because those are the hours that work best for them.
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU and pay attention to when you’re most productive… having office hours don’t mean those hours have to be the same 9-5 time block that we use!!! 💕
2. BE PUBLIC ABOUT YOUR OFFICE HOURS!
We list our office hours multiple places: on our Facebook page, on Google, in our email auto-signature, etc! In our email template that we use to welcome brides after they officially book with us, we establish our office hours yet again, so that they can expect when to hear back from us. This also sets expectations so that our clients don’t expect to hear back from us immediately if they email us at 9:00 pm at night! ✉️
Now, a note about that- there were seasons where 9:00 pm was a great time for me to be on email!!! However, since we didn’t want our clients to expect to be able to hear back from us outside of our office hours, I would simply write and draft emails at night, then schedule them to be sent the next morning once our office hours began. ✅
3. HAVE AN AUTORESPONDER!
We have an auto-responder set on our emails 24/7! It reiterates our office hours, gives people quick links to find the info they may be asking about (with links/info for inquiring brides, current brides, educational students, lifestyle clients, etc!) It also says that if you email us over the weekend, you will not hear back until Monday morning!! (Our Inquiry Form on our website also reiterates this when a client submits an inquiry!)
It’s also great to be able to update this as needed! For example, if I know I’m going to be out of the office for an afternoon (aka a hair appointment- ha!! 🙈💇🏼♀️), I’ll update our autoresponder so that people know when they can expect to hear back from us! 💌
4. PROTECT YOUR OFFICE HOURS!
We’ve had clients text us at all hours of the evening, on weekends, on holidays, and so forth! 🙈 If we ever receive a text outside of our office hours, we simply respond right away saying that we are SO happy to hear from them and that we cannot wait to respond/answer their question/etc. as SOON as we are back in the office at 9:00 am tomorrow morning! 💖
Likewise, if you NEED to get work done on a certain day, but a friend wants to grab lunch, offer to meet up over your lunch break or before or after “work!” Don’t be afraid to stick up for the boundaries that keep you sane- you have every right to do so!! Sometimes, we need to teach people how to respect our businesses & work time!
Lastly, PUT YOUR PHONE ON DO NOT DISTURB & STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA DURING YOUR OFFICE HOURS. No explanation needed 😉
5. KEEP YOUR OFFICE HOURS FLEXIBLE!
None of us got into running our own businesses to be chained to our desks for 8 hours a day, right?! So be flexible with your office hours! If you have a shoot at night, take off early so that you have some time to yourself. We take Friday’s fully off if we have a wedding on that Saturday!
Don’t be afraid to adjust your schedule based on what you and your family need- that’s the beauty of running your own business!! 😍 And having this structure and these boundaries ALLOWS you to do those things, too!
6. HAVE A DESIGNATED WORKSPACE!
I don’t know about you guys, but there is no way I’d be able to focus on important work if I was working from our couch! Every once in a while, I can do this, but I somehow always end back up at my desk. I think having a designated workspace really helps our brains get trained to know what we’re expected to do in that space! 💻 I do my best work at my desk, in our office, and at the end of the day, I get to leave work in that room and go about the rest of my night!
We hope these tips about office hours were helpful!! Do you need to implement office yours for yourself?! If you already have them, what office hours work for you?! Share with us below!! ⬇️⬇️