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When you’ve decided to work from home, what you need is an office that has a no-fuss setup. It should look professional and be a place where important work gets done. Even though it’s based in your home, it must be designed in a way that still makes you look like a professional person who’s serious about their business or profession.
Here are some tips on how to create a home office for a pro.
Take Over the Spare Bedroom
Use what you’ve got. Strip out the existing bedroom furniture to get the room back to bare essentials. To save money, use the existing carpeting if you possibly can. Look for either a second-hand office desk being sold on Craigslist or companies that sell office furniture bought for a steal from companies that have gone out of business.
Where it’s not possible to cheaply run a phone line up to the bedroom (or you’d want a second landline and it’ll cost too much), automatically redirect phone calls to a second smartphone that’s used exclusively for business. When out of hours, you can turn off the redirection. Alternatively, operate from your business smartphone all the time.
Create a Minimalist Environment to Maximize Space
Any bedroom used as a home office is going to feel unprofessional and cramped when full. Choose a minimalist approach to limit what items are brought into the office. Go almost entirely digital. Avoid buying any of the typical office items that you see because as a home office, you simply do not have the space for them.
Create an organized environment with plenty of floor space. If it feels even slightly cramped to you, imagine what it will feel like with a visitor when two people are in there, seated, and trying to avoid feeling like they’re spending time in a storage closet.
Use colors well to create additional light and a feeling of spaciousness. Add mirrors and extra light sources to brighten the place up. Make less feel like more.
Use Quality Technology and Equipment to Avoid Downtime
While saving money is important, focus on a few select pieces of technology and equipment.
If you don’t have a laptop right now, buy one that is suitable for your needs. If you only work on one document at a time with a handful of web pages open concurrently and have no plans to complete video editing on the computer, then a Pentium N-class laptop is probably fast enough. Or, one with an Intel i3 Core processor. Clients don’t care what PC you’re using.
Don’t buy a combined photocopier/printer/fax machine if it’s not needed. A laser printer with a modest footprint is likely to be better and with greater reliability (HP has their LaserJet brand, which is excellent).
Avoid getting a large phone if you have a landline in the office. Keep the personal trinkets and mementos off the desk. Maybe add them to a set of shelves instead? No filing trays either. With less wasted space, a smaller desk is going to be enough.
Skip a Receptionist. Get a Driveway Alarm
There’s no money for a receptionist. But you still need to know when a prospective or current client has just pulled up on your driveway. Fortunately, rather than having to look out the window to check if they’ve pulled up yet, there are alarms for driveways that can provide an audible alert.
With a driveway alarm, you never have to miss someone at the front door because you stepped out into the garden.
When setting up a home office correctly, it can look every bit as professional. Just ensure that you don’t overfill it with the usual office items; you don’t need anywhere near as much as you think.
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