Whether telecommuting or self-employed, many people today are taking advantage of home offices. According to U.S. Census data, 13.4 million people telecommute at least one day a week, while data collected by the IRS shows a whopping growth of 10.7 million people who declare themselves self-employed. While a home office isn’t necessarily a “must-have” for those who work from home, the benefits of a dedicated working space can’t be denied.
Whether you’re setting up your home office for the first time or looking to update your space, first and foremost, you must respect the room. This goes for your children, your husband and also yourself. Post a note on your office door when you’re working and don’t wish to be disturbed, and be sure that your husband and children respect your working hours. While it can be tempting for them to interrupt you, explain that you’ll save time and return to them more quickly if you can finish your work uninterrupted.
The same goes for your time in your office. Don’t use your office for other purposes – this is not the place to work on your scrapbooking or catch up on your Netflix queue.
Once you’ve established your office as a work-only space, it’s time to gather all the right equipment. You should have a wide desk that provides ample space for work. Your computer should be updated with the latest anti-virus software and again, should be devoted to office work only. That way there’s no worry that the latest Facebook virus will wipe out all your hard work. Choose a comfortable desk chair with solid back support, and be sure you have plenty of storage area for filing important documents and receipts. This will save you from digging through piles of paper come tax time. Make a list of the office supplies you’ll need like scissors, a stapler and sticky notes, and purchase a second set to be dedicated for your office. This will keep you from having to leave and help you move through your tasks more quickly.
No matter how you choose to run your home office, the key is remembering your professionalism. Even if you have the luxury of teleconferencing in your pajamas, when you respect your business you’ll always be taken as a professional.