And making your home office the engine room of your working life has many advantages: minimal overheads, an improved work/life balance, flexibility with family commitments, and no commute.
But failing to properly separate working life from home life can spell unhappiness and can impact the quality of your life, and those around you, in a bad way.
Here are six ways you can best maximise your home office so you get all the benefits of working from home and not suffer any of this drawbacks.
Make it a Dedicated Space
Regardless of whether your house is big or small, you need to have a dedicated space for your home office for it to function effectively. That means appropriating a spot in your kitchen table is not a long-term solution.
It’s also essential that you have a pleasant time in your work area, especially as you’ll be spending time there for at least eight hours each of day of the work week.
This dedicated area can be an entire room with a door that you can close, or a custom-made “office in a cupboard” that you can put away at the end of the day, or a small desk in your living space.
Whatever you choose, having a dedicated space for work is important for practical reasons and for state of your mind. It means you have the space available to work in every morning and any time you need to.
To make your home office work efficiently, organisation is important, especially if it is a shared space.
The best place to start is to organise the major items such as your computer and paper files. But don’t forget to assign a space for pens, stationery, technology, chargers, invoices and receipts. Keep in mind this motto: “Everything in its place and a space for everything.”
Use in-trays, out trays, filing cabinets, filing boxes, whatever works best for you – organise! And make it an ongoing thing. This means keeping up with the organisation daily to prevent you from creating a mess. You don’t want your home office to become a horrible mess that is gradually advancing through your home.
Keep an Office Structure
Working from home doesn’t mean you should ignore office structure – that thing that makes any office run smoothly.
Invest in equipment if it will help you work quicker and easier. These pieces of equipment can be a computer, desk, dedicated phone, Internet, sufficient lighting, all kinds of work software, virtual assistant, or file backups.
Setting up systems and processes are essential for all businesses, including startups, which is exactly what most home businesses are. As you build your business up, take time to set up and polish your good habits.
In addition, ensure to create an ergonomic setup. Working with a laptop on the couch day in day out can only lead to costly physio bills and harm your profit margins.
Leave your House once in a while
There are many wonderful benefits to working from home but one of the major disadvantages is the feeling of isolation that can crop up quickly.
So go out to take a daily walk, make appointments to meet with customers or clients, call a customer or maybe a colleague, or go to a café so you don’t feel out of touch.
Signing up with a local networking group or business association can also be good for your social life. You can grow your business through these incidental social interactions.
Separate Home from Office
As stated above, it is important to have a dedicated space for your home office. But perhaps the most important factor in ensuring you have an effective home office is having a line separating - the home and the home office. Without delineating home from work – even mentally – workaholics frequently have a hard time switching off and procrastinators can struggle to switch on.
Schedule work times that is ideal for you and establish healthy work routines. Even as simple as going out to walk before you start your work day can help create a mental shift between home (down time) and office (work time).
These lines are intended for your, and also for your friends or family members who live in the same house. It lets them know when you are working and what help they can offer you.
Aim at the Bigger Business Picture
Making your home office effective and efficient is just one part of your bigger business plan.
Ultimately the success of your home business will depend upon your knowledge and expertise in whatever work you do as well as your ability to sign up new customers or business continuously. This means you need to make time for business development, good sales and marketing and lead generation.
It is great to work from home. But being honest and open with yourself will allow you to continue to promote productivity as well as live harmoniously with the people who live with you.
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