Working from home is a must for many entrepreneurs or freelancers, but creating a constructive work environment at home is essential – and more difficult than many expect.
Life’s distractions have a way of butting in, whether that means you find yourself doing laundry instead of creating a document, or watching daytime TV instead of replying to emails. Work and home time blur together, meaning that you may do the dishes in the middle of the day but write client presentations at 10pm. This is a particular problem for those with families – you don’t want to be work in a cluttered living/kitchen area while the kids race about and your partner wants to spend time together as a family.
One of the first questions to ask yourself when designing a home office is whether you will have to hold any meetings. Many people feel unsafe bringing clients to their home, so finding a cheap virtual office service may be one of the first steps to getting your home office in order and keeping the clutter under control.
Virtual offices eliminate the need for many trappings of a home office, meaning you can concentrate your limited space on what matters. Virtual office services assign a professional business address, protecting your family’s privacy and making you look bigger than you are; this often comes along with a mail forwarding service to have any business mail forwarded on to your own address. Another benefit is telephone answering – a small business owner may not be able to pay for a
full-time receptionist, let alone having a separate business mobile phone line. Instead, a virtual receptionist may be used, who can answer all calls with their company name. The virtual receptionist can then put the call through to them if necessary.
After you know what you won’t need (another phone line, a professional meeting space), you can focus on what you will need to have in the home. Some further tips for creating a successfully de-cluttered home office include keeping the design simple and giving it a light feel. Use neutral colours and consider adding storage units to one wall; this allows one area to become a feature where the eye is drawn, as well as providing a functional aspect where you can arrange filing and keep clutter to a minimum in the rest of the space.
The biggest design tip for keeping your home office under control is understanding what you don’t actually need – after this, the rest is down to corralling your things in a proscribed area and arranging a system that will keep it organized. After this, it’s smooth sailing to business success and,
someday, a business office of your own outside the home.