How to Turn Your Home into an Efficient Work Space
If you’re just starting out, there’s a chance you’re still running your home business from your dining room table. And, while that might work out okay, having a well-planned office space in your house – just for you – can mean more efficiency and productivity for your new business.
Use these 6 ideas as a guide to set up a great work space for your home business.
Evaluate Your Space
Scope out the choices in your house for a space that can offer what you’ll need – an area with enough room to accommodate your basics, such as a desk (big enough for your laptop or PC), a printer/scanner, access/storage for any hard-copy files and any other items that you use on a regular basis. Other things to consider are whether it has proper lighting or the potential to create optimal light for work and an option for privacy (preferably a door).
Most importantly, find an area in your house that is, or can be turned into, a comfortable place – because, all said and done, if you don’t want to spend time there, you’ll be back at the dining room table and what you need to work will be in an unused office area!
Make It Connection-Ready
This means having sufficient outlets, heating and cooling vents (remember, if you’re not comfortable, you won’t work there!) and any connections you need for your business phone and internet service.
What you need to buy or need to install for the office space to run your home business is likely tax deductible. Consider checking with your accountant before you get started so you can make sure you’re keeping records accordingly.
Assess Furniture, Equipment For Space
You should look at the furniture and equipment you own now as well as any items you might want to add now or as your budget allows. Measure your current items and consider future purchases – you can go online to get measurements and ideas for furniture and office equipment.
Look at your specific work style and get what you need. For example, a “work table” may be more functional for you than a desk or get “task lighting” such as desk and floor lamps if you do a lot of close-up work.
Also take into account what you may need as your business grows, such as larger storage, more supplies and any additional seating, such as room for chairs, a small table or sofa.
Assess Your Computer & Software
Like your dining room table, your family’s computer may get the job done but it’s not necessarily the best choice for your new home business and office space. Besides needing a dedicated computer for your office use, you need to decide whether your PC or laptop has what you need in terms of speed, storage, functionality and data security.
Basic software apps to consider, if you don’t have already, include virus protection software, an office software suite that has spreadsheet, word processing and presentation functions, and accounting/invoicing software. If you’re not sure about industry-specific software, look for information with trade associations and groups, and industry publications.
Consider Business Internet, Phones
Assess your internet and phone services to see whether you have the reliability and capability to serve your new business needs. Do some research on internet speeds and levels of service plans offered by the provider in your area to small businesses.
Do the same for phone service. Whether you’re using a land line or cell phone, check out the options available in your area so you can better accommodate the needs of your home business. (You won’t want to use the same landline as your family.)
Create An Organized Office
An organized office of course is part of an efficient work space – being able to grab things you need (research or tools) because they’re in the right place is a big plus for time management and productivity. Be sure to keep it that way – consider building tidying up into your schedule, a clean-up at the end of your day will help prepare for the next day’s work.
Even if your space is tucked away from visitors and your mess is your own to see, the benefits of an organized office environment are worth the extra effort in your routine. Besides, you’ll especially appreciate the built-in efficiency it provides as you get more business.
Closely related: Starting Your Home Business: The First 9 Things You Should Do