Running a business out of your home comes with a unique set of hurdles, like maintaining productivity, separating your personal and professional activities, and equipping yourself properly. One of the keys to overcoming these hurdles is creating a home office space that sets you up for success. Whether you are getting a new home or renovating your existing place, these five tips can help you get started out right.
1. Figure Out Your Workspace Needs
Begin by making a list of everything you will use your office space for. All of the design elements should flow from that list. Consider factors such as whether you will have clients coming to your office, what kind of phone system you require and how much space you need for storage. Ecwid points out that business basics, like a comfortable chair and appropriate desk, should keep you going strong for hours, going beyond aesthetics to meet ergonomic needs.
2. Keep Your Work and Personal Life Separate
Though you are working out of your home, keep your work-life and home life as separate as possible. There are some key reasons to do this. First, if you mix the two, it becomes easy for distractions to drag down your productivity or for work to completely consume your home life. As Psychology Today explains, the ability to multitask is really a myth, so ensure you have a space to focus on work.
Second, there are legal concerns. Mixing your personal and business finances can get you in hot water with the IRS. Plan on entirely separate accounts for your personal and professional finances.
Along the lines of separating personal and business assets, forming an LLC can help protect your personal assets from liability. If you need help navigating your state's laws but don't want to spend a lot of money on an attorney, consider using a formation service to set up your LLC.
Finally, it is vital to have private, secure storage for sensitive customer information. The last thing you want is for your company to get hacked and take a loss as a result. Be sure to follow protocols like proper password use and installing firewalls to keep sensitive data safe.
3. Set Ground Rules With Your Family
More family time can be a nice perk of working from home, but you need to set ground rules. Tell your family what hours you will be working and not to disturb you during those hours unless it cannot be avoided. Avoid working from areas of your home that are not designated workspaces. It will be easier for your family to separate your work time and family time if they don't have to guess when and where you are working.
4. Choose the Right Equipment
The guiding principles for your equipment selection should be function and comfort. You need to incorporate all the essentials to do your job, such as a phone system, computer, desk, chair, storage and office supplies. However, you also need to keep in mind that you will be spending a lot of time in your office space. Choose a comfortable, ergonomically correct workstation setup. If you have the budget and space, add some productivity boosters, such as a second monitor.
5. Decide If You Need To Move
If your current home cannot accommodate the changes you need to make to successfully set up a home office, you may need to work with a realtor to find a home that meets your needs. If budget is a potential barrier to relocating, ask about "as-is" properties. You will need to set aside some money to make needed repairs, but you can save some cash on the upfront cost by going this route. Make sure you review the seller's disclosures and have an inspection done.
Some "as-is" properties have hidden problems, such as structural damage, mold or pest infestations, that could significantly impact the cost of acquisition, so learn about what you could get into before going this route.
Your home office serves as your base of operations for everything you do for your business. Setting yourself up for success from the start with the right office in the right home will save you a lot of hassle down the road!
Guest Post by Tina Martin
All posts by Ronke (unless otherwise indicated)