As a professional coach or trainer who runs their own business, home offices are not just an excuse to work in your pajamas – they are a money saver in more ways than one. They save you from having to pay for office space, spending gas money commuting, and eating out at lunch hour.
Not only does working from a home office save money, but it can even earn you money by raising the value of your home. Some buyers are happy to pay more for a house with an office.
In addition, coaches and trainers who choose to work from a home office might actually save money on their taxes. But to get this deduction, your home office has to be clearly demarcated from the rest of the household. A wall, a screen, or some form of partitioning will do.
One of the many blessings of the internet is that coaching and training entrepreneurs can easily work with their clients without meeting physically or having an office space.
Keep it Simple
Avoid cluttering your office with too many things. Using few pieces of furniture as possible will help make the space more pleasant to work with. Not having too much stuff on the desk or working surface helps, too. Store any excess files or things that you use less frequently in another storage area within the home.
Invest in a good surge protector to keep your computer from getting damaged by sudden power surges. Invest in backup storage disks to protect your information in case of any eventuality. Keep these in a different room just in case.
Equipment for Your Home Office
Don’t go out and buy a whole bunch of equipment at once. You might find that some of them are unnecessary. There are also some items that you can avoid buying by improvising with what is already in the home.
Here are some of the things that you might want to buy for your home office:
A comfortable desk and chair are necessary for you to be able to have a workstation. The chair needs to have good support for your back. Some people will prefer a standing desk for their backs. Think about your comfort, health, and safety when buying this. A filing cabinet is necessary to keep important information about your clients.
Headsets are important to create privacy during client calls. If you will be having client sessions while at your home office, you don’t want family members and guests hearing what your client is saying. You also want to have the freedom from holding your phone for too long. Your hands can be doing other things – like taking notes – while you are listening to your client.
A phone is a necessary part of a home office. It can be a landline or a mobile, but you need a phone that is purely for business. This helps you to keep your work and personal life private.
As someone who is running a home based business, your phone will be central to the success of your business. Get a reliable phone with a good connection so that client calls are not interrupted.
Nowadays you can buy a machine that works as a fax, a copier, and a scanner all in one. You might need one of these as well as a printer to scan a signature to documents, or to scan some information that you need to share with clients.
Inventive Use of Space
Some homes do not have a dedicated library or a room that can be set aside specifically for use as an office. This does not mean that you cannot have a home office. It only means that some creativity is needed.
A kitchen table might not be the best place because the kitchen surfaces are also used for food preparation. Having to move your desk so that meals can be prepared is an expensive and potentially expensive interruption.
Identify a space that is not part of commonly used living areas. One with minimum distraction. It needs to be a space that you can set aside exclusively for use as an office. It needs to be a space that has enough room for you to work. If you have to walk in and out of your office several times a day, then it might not be the best place for it.
Working in Small Spaces
It only takes a little creativity to work with small spaces to make a good home office. A closet can become a workspace if the clothes pole is removed.
Any room that is only used occasionally, like a guest room can be set aside for use as a home office. Dining areas that are not in use during the day are also ideal for a home office. Home libraries can be used as a home office during 9-5 hours and opened up to the rest of the family for use as a library for the rest of the time. Armoires can also be modified to serve as a home office.
Using shelves set up on the wall, you can keep your books, files, and printers without necessarily taking up extra space. Use a curtain to demarcate the office from the rest of the room.
Idle hallway space can be put to use to create offices. L shaped desks will make cramped spaces instantly roomier. Window niches that carve out little nooks can be harnessed to create offices in the living room. Floating desks can be built into the wall to save space. Custom built hanging desks are ideal for the situation.
You might find yourself hosting a client, business partner, or prospect in your home office, and you want to ensure that the visit goes as professionally as possible. Remember that clients might want privacy or they might feel uncomfortable about visiting while children are playing. Provide a seat, reading material, and most importantly privacy.
When the glare of the lights is too loud, your eyes will suffer and so will your work. Ambient light needs to be softer. Make use of lampshades and find ways of lighting up the space without creating dark shadows or harsh glares.
Position the desk and chair in a way that will not expose you to harsh sunlight. The sun should not be behind you. This means that your desk’s location will partially be determined by the placement of windows in the room.
Your home office does not have to meet all the requirements in your checklist right off the bat. Start off with what you have and improve on it as you go.
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