For over the last five years I’ve worked primarily from home. My home office is “made to order” for what I do. I’ve deliberately created a space that has what I need, is furnished for what I do, and is a space that allows me to think, create, and meet client needs with the best possible service.
Your home office should do the same thing for you, your business, and your customers or clients. It should be a deliberate space for the equipment you need, the people who you see and for you to do your work in a way that satisfies your customers.
Here are some tips I’ve found to be helpful, and I’m sure you have your own to share:
1) Space. The size of your office should depend on the scope of what you plan to handle in-house rather then outsource. It should reflect the need to have customer meeting space, if that’s required, and be able to handle storage, products, etc. For some reason I do some of my best thinking walking around so my office space has some room for me to wander and think.
2) Traffic. I don’t think it’s wise to set up your home office in a hallway where there is traffic, near the kitchen, or near the living room. Anyplace where you will disturb your family—and they will disturb you—should not be an option if at all possible.
3) Quiet. Chose a quiet, brightly lit (my office has several windows) place to work. If you do not have a spare bedroom or den to convert into an office, try starting with a corner of a bedroom where you can shut the door, a partitioned-off section of your garage, or a portion of your basement or attic. Quiet is all important not just for you, but for your customers who will call you and not want to experience a noisy background.
4) Access. If possible, choose a room with an outside door and a separate bathroom so visitors or staff can come and go without disturbing the family. Cutting a door to the outside of an existing room is inexpensive compared to adding a whole new room to your house. My office is at the back of my house so I not only have my own door, but also clients can park in the back and not be sent through the house for a meeting.
5) Be creative. If need be, consider converting an appropriate section of your home to accommodate what might be the best office for you. Who says you must do your “living” in the living room, or the den could not make a perfect office? Take a careful and creative look at the space in your home and choose what best helps you work and serve your customers.
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