15 Sep Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Setting Up a Home Office
1) What Are Your Needs?
Before you start working from you you’ll want to figure out what and how much equipment, tools, technology, (also known as “Stuff”) you’ll need. If you are a writer you’ll need a computer, high speed internet and maybe a printer and a phone. In other words – not very much. For other professions such as a graphic designer or programmer your list might include large monitors, specialty tools or software you need to do your job. When you know what you need in order to work successfully you can start purchasing or acquiring your office needs. Not sure what you’ll need? Visit a mentor’s office or consider joining an online networking forum with others in your profession. These connections are not only valuable before you begin your work-from-home journey but will be beneficial to you long term as questions come up and as you grow your business.
2) Who is Responsible?
If you are a freelancer or own your own business everything about the establishment of your home office as well as troubleshooting as issues come up is your own responsibility. However if you are a work from home professional who is working remotely for a brick and mortar office you might want to have a discussion with your supervisor about some potential issues that might come up. These things might include- who is responsible for purchasing hardware and software? Will you get reimbursed at a later point or will it come out of your salary? Find out who is responsible to replace or repair something in your office. Determine if that is on you or if your employer take care of it. You might also want to discuss availability and hours. If you are working from home you might think that you can set your own hours but does your employer agree? Your boss or other team members might expect you to be at your desk for the same hours you would be if you were going into the office. This is really important to clarify. Time zone differences may be a factor if you live and work far away from your employers home base. Your boss may also give you the flexibility to complete your work but need you to attend a virtual meeting at a certain time each week.If you are also setting appointments or sessions with your clients using a booking platform like Book Like a Boss will help organize your calendar and ensure you don’t miss a meeting. Having a clear idea of the answers to some of the questions will help you as you set up your home office and prevent issues in the future.
3) Where Will You Work?
There have been many studies which show that having a dedicated space to work helps productivity. You should take a look around your home and determine what is the ideal space for you to turn into your work from home office. If you will be meeting clients you might want to consider a space that has its own entrance or is near your front door. Another factor to consider is light and sound. Does your spare bedroom face a busy street and will this be distracting to you? If you are someone who needs to be able to examine lots of text or small details the type of light a room gets via windows or light fixtures is a really important factor. Someone who needs to speak to clients on the phone should look for a space that has decent acoustics and a door to shut out ambient noise. The space that you choose to work in should be reflective of your professional needs.
4) What’s your style?
Happy workers perform at higher levels of productivity. After you have figured out what space you’ll be using and gone over the nitty-gritty with your employer you can think about what elements of your space will bring you joy and make you feel good. Art, plants, water feature- all of these are elements in an office that can perk you up, motivate you and make the space an overall more pleasant place to work. Many people enjoy having something on their desks that speaks to their personality like a toy or a fidget spinner. Having a good sound system to play your favorite music as you work might be an important feature for you. Adding your personality and style to your home office is one of the top perks of working remotely. You don’t need to follow an “office protocol” or worry about distracting colleagues down the hall. This is your space and how you style it, how loud you play your music and what gadgets you keep around is all up to you.
5) How will it function best?
When you are setting up your office space you need to think about how it will function best. You want to make sure that all the pieces will work together in a seamless fashion so you don’t waste time coming up with solutions as challenges arise. You want to implement a strategy and a physical layout that works well from day one. Something to think about is what tools you will be using all the time. If all of your work takes place on the computer, a desk that is near an outlet and a very comfortable and supportive desk chair are key. If your role requires you to print and file a lot of documents consider investing in a sturdy filing cabinet. Organize your system to work best for you. Keep spares on hand, such as power cords, printer cartridges or your profession specific equipment. Remember- there is no office supply closet to raid when supplies run low. Ensuring you have what you need, when you need it will save you time and energy in the long run and leave you more time to get work done.
The five questions listed above should help guide you as you establish your home office. Remember to keep functionality and your specific needs in mind. Research and explore your options before setting up your work space. You can always adapt and change as your business grows . Until then, have fun and good luck on this exciting new stage in your life!