Setting up your own office at home needn’t be expensive or difficult. Here are some tips for getting started.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a study of your own, your space has to be dual-purpose. You need a comfortable place to work productively that can also be used as a family space. Being able to rearrange furniture helps a lot, for example by using stacking chairs that can be tucked away when you need floor space.
Speaking of furniture, you’re also going to need a comfortable office chair to prevent strain to your back, arms and eyes as well as a desk at the right height.
What storage will you need?
You’ll need some storage space, although the amount you’ll need will depend on the type of business you run. If your business is little more than a laptop, you’ll be able to get away with some shelves for your paperwork or perhaps a filing cabinet. If you run an online store, the chances are you’ll need to store your stock outside your home as it will take up a lot of space. Or you can hand all of your warehousing, packing and shipping over to a fulfillment service. If you’re making handmade crafts, then you’ll need to create more space at home both to do the work itself and store your materials.
The amount of space you need for paperwork can be reduced considerably using technology. Many records can be stored and sent electronically, for example invoices and receipts. You may even find it better to keep your ‘to do’ list online too, using tools like Workflowy or Evernote. Not only does it help keep your desk free of paperwork, the mobile apps mean that you can look at your notes when you’re out and about.
In terms of equipment, a computer is an essential item and if you have an older home machine you need to make sure it’s up to the job. You don’t want to be waiting for hours for it to complete a task! You’ll also need a printer and if you can get one with an integral scanner that will save you space. With so many documents now stored online, you’ll also need to make sure everything is backed up regularly so that nothing is lost should the worst happen.
Don’t forget the cabling you’ll need to connect all these. Make sure the cables are tucked away to prevent trips and falls. Or even better, go wireless!
…but you’ll still need some papers
Sometimes you’ll need to use a pen and paper, so make sure you have these – as well as other basics like a stapler, paperclips and envelopes – close at hand so you don’t waste time looking for them.
Speaking to clients
Don’t worry, you don’t have to invite clients to meetings in your home unless you want to. Some will be happy to meet you in a local café and for more formal meetings you can find a virtual office to hire by the hour in most towns.
In terms of phones, mobile numbers tend not to be seen as unprofessional as they were a few years ago, so in most cases you won’t necessarily need a landline number just for your business. Smartphones are also very useful for keeping up with social media when you’re on the go.
As you can see, with a little preparation it’s easy to set up your home office!