The home office often straddles two worlds – the home and office – without ever committing to either. But if you want to be productive, you’ll need a professional looking and feeling home workspace.
The temptation with a home office is to over personalise it, making it reflect your living space rather than your working space. But this won’t help you get in the right mind-set and can affect your focus when trying to complete important tasks.
While we’re not suggesting you paint it white, put up partitions and stick in dull overhead lights, there are a few ways to make your home office more professional.
1. Get a messaging service
Firstly, you need to get a separate phone line for your home office to the one you use at home. This will prevent awkward situations whereby your 5 year old answers the phone to your most important client.
But for a truly professional home office it is worth using a messaging service. This can give anyone phoning you, when you’re unable to answer, the impression that you’re based in an office building.
2. Ditch the home comforts
Some little home comforts are acceptable – like cushions, photos and your own music. But things like TVs and sofas can distract you from the job at hand.
A good rule of thumb is to look at what’s in your home office and judge whether you’d be happy to take it in to an office with other people. If it feels too personal or luxurious then it probably has no place in your home office either. This includes your dressing gown.
3. Use the right equipment
A laptop on a dining table is not a home office. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job otherwise you’ll end up with back ache or broken equipment.
Make sure that your chair is a proper office chair, you’ve got eye-level monitors for your computer, and that the desk is an actual desk with storage.
And don’t be tempted by cheaper ‘consumer’ versions of office items. If you’re going to be printing reams of paper, get an office printer, not just the cheapest one from Amazon, otherwise you’ll be spending hours trying to fix it.
4. Keep it well stocked
If you run out of paper in an office, your pen stops working or you run out of staples, you can just go to the stationary cupboard. But at home, it could mean a trip to the shops.
These ‘quick trips’ might feel like a welcome break from work but they’re distracting and cost you time and money. Order your stationary from an office supplier and buy in bulk to not only save time but also money.
5. Stay organised
The office filing cabinet is there for a reason. Offices create huge amount of paper that need to go somewhere. Even if you’re trying to go paperless.
Get plenty of storage and a system on your desk for important documents, so that nothing gets lost.
6. Keep it family free
If your family are at home when you’re working, don’t let them in your office during working hours.
Firstly, this helps create a separate working space. Secondly, it means that kids won’t start drawing on your quarterly report or spill their juice over your expensive printer.
The same goes for pets – try and keep them out of the office space as they can be a distraction.
Of course the ultimate in professionalism, if you work from home, is to appear to your clients that you operate from a prestigious city address such as those offered when you sign up for a virtual office from Velocity Virtual. With professional call answering services, mail forwarding and the option to take a day office or book discounted meeting rooms, a virtual office gives you instant business credibility.
Posted by The Secret Businessman