If you’re one of the millions of people who have launched a home-based business, then you know there are some delightful advantages of this setup, including the most glorious of all: not having to waste precious hours of your life commuting to and from work.
However, you’ve doubtlessly discovered some other aspects as well that, frankly speaking, aren’t so fun and efficient. And on top of your list of concerns might be the fact that your home office is a bit too much home, and not enough office.
That is, you don’t have the space — or the space utilization — you need in order to be efficient, effective and productive. And unless you do something to resolve this situation, you may be forced (gasp!) to give up your home office, and head back to the cubicle jungle. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that help is at hand. According to Key Interiors, a leading office design company, here are three practical and affordable ways to turn your home office into a space worthy of the designation:
If you don’t need it, get rid of it.
Do you really need that giant 3-hole punch that you bought back in college, and haven’t used in years? What about that so-called “desk organizer” that has the capacity to hold 30 pens — which is 29 more than you typically need to store? Basically, everything that you keep in your home office has to earn the right to be there. It’s survival of the fittest. Anything that you don’t need — i.e. haven’t used in a few months — should be either moved to storage, or maybe sold on eBay. Yes, it may be difficult to get rid of some items that you have a sentimental connection with, but your business success could be on the line here. Think with your head, not your heart.
Set and enforce ground rules.
If you live with others, then setting and enforcing ground rules — i.e. do’s and don’ts — as far as your home office is concerned is absolutely essential. People need to appreciate and respect the fact that you aren’t just dabbling in a hobby when you’re (for example) on a call or typing away at your computer. You’re earning a living. That means people in your household need to dial things down, save their mundane requests for later (is finding the remote control really that urgent?), and be part of your home office solution.
Don’t skimp on ergonomic office furniture.
So, you don’t have the office furniture budget of a big enterprise. But that doesn’t mean you should be toiling away at an old desk that even a high school student wouldn’t put up with. If you want to be professional and productive, you need tools to help you do that — and office furniture is part of the deal. And don’t worry about needing to spend a small fortune. For a few hundred dollars, you can get something functional and stylish, and build from there as your business (and your budget!) grows.
The Bottom Line
People who have never worked from home often have a rather idealistic — therefore unrealistic — idea of what it’s like. No, it’s not about being able to work in your pajamas, or never being more than 10 seconds away from a fridge full of healthy selections (or maybe unhealthy ones!). It’s about achieving work-life balance; either by choice, or sometimes by necessity of there are little ones or sometimes elderly people to take care of.
The above tips will help ensure that your home office is precisely that — a legitimate office in your home — that enables you to stay productive, efficient and successful for years to come. Now, if someone could just do something about that incessantly barking dog…