Having a home office brings advantages that go beyond work time flexibility and savings on the gas and rent money. Still, running a successful business from home depends on creating a space that supports your routines in a non-traditional work environment. Here are a few tips to help you set up a productive home HQ.
List out the essentials
Before you claim a corner in your home and call it an office, you need an elaborate list of your basic requirements. In a certain way, this list will describe the nature of your work by including items like a desk, computer, printer, filing cabinets, draw boards, etc. For example, the setup will be different for an accounting business and a graphic designer who needs a drafting table and appropriate lighting. A consultant is more likely to need a few locking, fireproof cabinets for storing sensitive documents, as well as space for meeting clients, and preferably an independent entrance.
Choose an optimal area
Once your list of most essential needs is complete, you’ll have an easier task choosing the space. In an ideal scenario, you’ll build your office in a quiet area with a sufficient level of privacy. This is especially critical if you share the room with a partner, children, or roommates. A spare room with a door can filter the noises form the rest of the home, especially if then nature of your work requires frequent phone calls. If you’ll be meeting clients, a room near the entrance would be more practical.
Introduce proper lighting
If possible, choose a space that receives plenty of natural light. Additional overhead lights that fill most of the area will provide direct lighting in less than ideal lighting conditions, depending on the nature of your work, add task lighting, whether in the shape of desk or floor lamps. As your computer screen is concerned, make sure it’s oriented to avoid glare that negatively impacts the eye strain.
Invest in quality equipment
Starting up a home office highly depends on having the proper equipment. However, there’ve been many cases when inexperienced startup owners skimped on the essential equipment, only to deplete their budget on secondary items, such as décor. Make your money work for you by investing in a functional desk, a comfortable chair with back support, a powerful computer with sufficient memory, fast internet connection, and other niche-specific tools or software.
Insure the building
Your home is probably your most valuable asset, but when you use it for work as well, you’re literally putting all the eggs in one basket. As the importance of your property doubles, you need to evaluate your current insurance policy and see if it covers the rooms and spaces used as a home office. A comprehensive building insurance package includes a range of scenarios, from damage to your building as a result of an attempted break-in, over various elemental disasters, to providing temporary accommodation for you – and your home office if your home becomes unfit for living as a result of an insured event.
Set up office hours
While flexibility is one of the principal benefits of working for yourself at home, you still need to establish a work schedule. It will allow you to remain focused and, more importantly, separate your private time from work hours. Also, keeping standard office hours lets your clients know when you’re available. You may suddenly get creative in the middle of the night, but your clients are more likely to call on you at traditional work hours. Finally, having fixed office hours protects you from distractions, as well as unsolicited visits from friends and family.
Re-evaluate your chair
According to some medical studies, when it comes to modern workplace practices, sitting is no less dangerous than smoking. Luckily, there are many non-sitting options for today’s office employees. Whether you prefer a regular standing desk or a more extreme treadmill desk, the key is to find what works for you. A desk converter can transform your standard desk into a standing one, which is probably what most health-savvy people will go for. A kitchen counter makes for a great $0 standing desk, just make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Separate professional from private
For professionals who work for home, it’s only to easy to have their personal life spilling over into the business life. A separate business bank account is the first step in separating your business expenses from your personal finance. Continue the practice by storing personal checks, records, and even mail separately from your office papers. A full separation in this area can also help you with the tax issues. The more you can prove that the office is completely separate area, the better your odds in the revenue service books.
The money you save not renting a downtown office can be a valuable boost to your startup efforts. However, to get the most out of your working day, make sure to create a functional home office that will help you eliminate distractions and maintain the professional look in the eyes of your clients and partners.