10 Tips for Setting Up Your Home Office as a Coach
As many people consider how to work from home, most of us don’t realize what we take for granted back at the office. After all, the spaces there are typically tailored for productivity and give us everything we need to do our job well.
Working from home might sound exciting but, once you consider the logistics behind it all, it can also become a bit daunting.
You will still be expected to perform at a high level and your workspace has a huge impact on that. We’ve done some research into how to best set up a home office to optimize for efficiency, comfort, and productivity, and we’ve narrowed our advice down into these 10 tips:
1. Think Hard About Your Location
The first thing you want to do once you decide on a home office is to pick an appropriate location within your house to host it.
You’ll want somewhere private and that gives you enough of a disconnect between the atmosphere there and the feeling of being at home.
You probably don’t want to pick a space that is high traffic or dual purpose. In other words, you want to look for an area of the house that you can permanently claim as your home office and not something temporary that you have to pack away at the end of each workday.
Not to mention that most of the furniture that folds away like this breaks after frequent use.
Another major consideration is what kind of uses your home office will see during work.
Will you be hosting clients there or holding meetings?
This might impact your choice and it makes the need for a professional, private space that much more important. You’ll also want to make sure that you have actual space to accommodate this goal.
2. Equip Your Home Office with Necessary Infrastructure
After you have selected your new home office you will want to make sure that it has everything you need in terms of outlets and Internet access points.
You’ll also want to look at lighting and maybe even soundproofing as well.
Whatever you can do to prepare your space to handle all of the needs of an office at home will go a long way towards making the transition to working from home easier.
We also recommend that you enlist the help of an expert if you need things like new electric outlets installed. You might even want to get someone to help you with the lights. This is an often under stressed but critically important area. Improper or poor lighting can give you headaches, particularly if you work in front of a computer screen for long periods of time.
3. Create a List of the Equipment/Software You Will Need
We recommend you make a budget for how much you want to spend but you might want to make a list of what you will need to buy first.
Most people make vague budgets that are hard to stick to once the true scope of the home office’s needs become clear. You will want to list each and every piece of equipment you will need including computers, phones, lamps, storage – you name it.
If it is something involved with your home office, it needs to be on the list. As far as software goes, it depends on your niche and what you need but we recommend writing it down in order to keep track of all of the moving parts that make up your home office.
4. Invest in Quality, Durable Pieces of Office Furniture
When you go out to buy your equipment and furniture, be sure to invest in durable, quality pieces.
You can shop around on the Internet for the best prices but we don’t think you should skimp on quality.
The reason for this is that you will need this equipment to perform without fail every single day. You don’t want to invest in something that is “penny wise but pound foolish” as the saying goes. We recommend that you shop for office-specific furniture and not attempt to use home furniture for office purposes. Office furniture tends to be built out of sturdier stuff and will weather damage more easily than furniture made for the home.
5. Buy a Comfortable Chair
Along with buying quality equipment for your office, you’ll also want to invest in durable, comfortable and ergonomic furniture and accessories.
Again, this is about maintaining peak productivity and one of the easiest ways to do that is to maintain your health.
Aches and pains from sitting for too long will hamper your ability to work for the long hours that might be required. You can avoid all of that with a quality piece of furniture that provides support for your back and neck.
6. Shop Around for Organizational Aids
Whether it is software or physical items, you will want to keep your space as organized and clean as possible.
Not only will this make your life easier when it comes to keeping track of things, but also it gives you a more professional atmosphere in which to work.
Atmosphere is more important than you might believe when it comes to work.
Having a clean, neat space often contributes to increased productivity as opposed to a cluttered, disheveled work area.
If you’re not a naturally organized person the best thing you could do for yourself would be to buy some things that help you with that.
Also, you will want to keep in mind the needs of your business.
For example, some businesses take appointments online but still maintain a physical calendar or datebook in addition. Also, some businesses use online invoicing systems but also still maintain a backup printed ledger.
These tools are meant as both backups and as quick references for critical business information you might need.
7. Purchase a Lockable Filing Cabinet
You need to keep your business information safe. We recommend that you buy a lockable filing cabinet to store all of the business’ key printed documents.
If you work with clients, you owe them this level of security and professionalism.
We know what you’re probably thinking: It’s a home office, who will be going through my stuff? But that’s not the point.
No one would be going through things that shouldn’t be allowed to do so in an office building. If your home office is on the same level, then it needs to play by the same rules.
8. Maintaining Hygiene and Safety
In the age of social distancing, if you have a customer-facing space in your home office, you need to take appropriate measures to make sure everything is cleaned and maintained according to accepted standards of hygiene.
While we’re not sure what the future of business will be like post-pandemic, it is quite certain that businesses will be tasked with keeping frequent-touch and highly trafficked areas clean as a matter of good practice.
9. Company Branding
We’ve gone through most of the substantive things you need to do to transform a room into a home office which gives us space to discuss other considerations like branding and marketing.
If you live stream your meetings or your space is frequently seen via digital media of some kind, you might want to consider branding your space appropriately.
Whether it is painting the walls in the company color or something bolder is up to your but, again, your goal is to create a space apart from your home.
Also, if you’re in business for yourself, consider it a passive marketing opportunity to get your name out there with logo wear and the like.
10. Stocking Supplies
An integral part of keeping your home office humming with productivity is making sure that you have all of the supplies you need. And when it comes to things that you use frequently and that run out, you need ot have them in abundance.
You shouldn’t waste time in the middle of the day looking for printer paper or ink. Plus, when you order in bulk, you often receive a cost savings that makes it worth your while to order as much as possible.
However, you organize your home office, the key element for you is that it is something you feel comfortable working in and that is conducive to your productivity.
Rules are great but they’re also just a guideline. For the concrete, money-saving tips we’ve offered – like buying office furniture – you’re not going to find a better way, but when it comes to tailoring your own space to suit your needs, don’t let any conventional thinking hold you back.
The world constantly changes. It’s only a problem if you stress and don’t have options. You are in control and you have options. And, we have the solutions for you. We’ve done the hard work for you. You just need to apply the information.
Between NESTA and the Spencer Institute, we have well over 25 courses, certifications, and business systems to help you build a totally customized career and business. You have the choice to add and combine the programs in any way which serves you and your clients best.
Our team is here to help you thrive during this crisis and provide our members with constant support during this unprecedented time. As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the coaching industry.