Running A Home Office
Working at home will save a considerable amount of money and time. According to a Gallup poll the average American worker spend an average of 46 minutes commuting back and forth from work every day. Not commuting will save you stress, transportation costs and time.
Working at home has more and different distractions than working at an office. At an office you only have to worry about coworkers and customers interrupting you. At home you have family, roommates, pets, tv, books, video games, movies, the refrigerator and the couch to contend with as well.
Working at home can ruin your life/work balance. There is the ever present option of working. At 9pm this thought will occur – I could be working right now instead of watching this movie.
A home office is a tax deduction as long as you regularly use the office, use it exclusively for business and it is the principle place of business. You can write off your mortgage/rent, utilities, supplies, equipment and so on.
FIND THE BEST SPOT IN YOUR HOUSE
The best spot for a home office is a separate room in a quiet part of the house that has a door that shuts. You want to be able to create a sanctuary where can work without being bothered or distracted. If you don’t have a spare room you can use, physically partition off part of a room with blinds or room dividers.
This room is now your office and sanctuary. Treat it as a holy place that is not to be violated by others. Put up a sign that indicates when you are working and make it clear that you are only to be disturbed if the house is burning down.
Only use your office for work. Don’t play video games on your work computer. Every time you sit down, there will be temptation. Avoid temptation and distractions by only using your office for work.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Computer Equipment – What you need will vary greatly depending on your business. If you are just checking email, invoices and using spreadsheets then get the cheapest computer available. Designers, video editors and musicians will need something more robust. There is no bigger waste of money than a $2,000 MacBook Pro that is just used to check email and Facebook.
High-speed Internet – If you don’t have good Internet speed – upload and download – you’re going to be extremely frustrated.
Furniture – You will probably need at least a desk, chair and a place to store your files. Make sure you get a good, comfortable chair. Fatigue and many back and neck problems are caused by poorly made chairs. You can usually get free office furniture in good shape from craiglist.org or freecycle.org.
Headphones – If you can’t find quiet, create it. A pair of noise-canceling headphones can help you ignore those who don’t respect your need for quiet.
Business Phone – Have a separate phone line for your business. This makes it easy for customers to reach you. It also allows you to keep a better life/work balance by letting you leave the phone in the office during off hours.
USE A ROUTINE
Having a routine helps establish boundaries. Set your business hours. Tell everyone you know that these are your set business hours. Ask them to respect that time. Your friends and family should not contact you during these hours unless it is an emergency. You clients shouldn’t contact you outside of these hours unless it is an emergency.
Having a routine mentally prepares you to work. Do the same things every morning when you get ready. Act like you are going to a job. Take a shower, get dressed and eat breakfast. I take a walk around my neighborhood in the morning before working. When I get back to the house, I’m at work. When I’m done working I take another walk around the neighborhood. When I get back to the house I’m at home. It helps me establish boundaries between work and just being at home.
THANKS FOR READING
Thank you for reading Running A Home Office. I hope you found it helpful and informative. You can follow me on twitter.com/richardbeu.