Creating a home office that’s comfortable and efficient for you takes a bit of thought and planning. Like, where should I put my computer table to prevent window glare? What is the best ergonomic chair? Where should I set my printer to keep the pages from falling on the floor? Lots of decisions, big and small, for you to make to ensure you’re comfortable and able to work efficiently.
But what about when clients, customers, or fellow professionals come to visit? What about video conferencing? Suddenly it’s a whole new ballgame with lots more details to consider.
The first step is to have a plan. Creating a kind of blueprint for what you want to achieve with your home office before you buy the first thing is key to making sure you’re happy with the finished product.
The Nature of Your Business
A lot is going to depend on what your business is and what you expect from your home office. If you’re an attorney, for instance, you’ll want your space to exude professionalism with rich leather and plush carpets. If you’re a graphic designer, then some funky artwork on the walls and colorful lighting might suit your style.
Get Rid of Clutter
Clutter conveys a sense of disorganization, and that’s the last thing you want your clients to think about you and your business. Remove everything that isn’t necessary, like files, books, and papers, that you don’t need to use daily. The more files and documents you can store in the cloud, the less paperwork will accumulate. Invest in filing cabinets and shelving that suits the mood and style of your office for things you’ll need to access regularly.
Lighting is an important part of office decor. It’s not just essential for keeping everything properly lit and in view, but it also can convey mood and atmosphere. Natural lighting is always best, so if you can position your desk to take full advantage of that, it can be best for you and those you interact with there.
Proper air flow and UV filters for your HVAC system cut down on the chance for bacteria and viruses to move through the air. You should also keep paper, disposable masks for any visitor that could be immune compromised. And a pump jar of hand sanitizer by the door and another on your desk are also imperative to keep germs at bay.
You can also cut back on in-person contact by taking advantage of tools that automate a lot of your services. For example, an invoicing system that will send invoices to your clients automatically and even collect payments for you means the whole process can be done without having to compromise safety.
Video Conferencing Considerations
Proper lighting is critical for video conferencing. You can either look your best or pale, sickly, and even downright scary if the light is poor. Invest in a ring light that can change hues from warm to bright, and practice using it in different modes before your first call.
Then the background needs to be taken into account. Clear away anything that can be distracting, though it can be nice to have some small objects that speak to your business, like books or artwork.
Improvements as an Investment
Any improvements to your home office can mean increasing the value of your home. Home offices add a great deal to the appraised value of your home since more and more buyers are looking for home offices when they’re house hunting.
Be sure and take before and after photos, and hold on to your receipts to quantify your investments when it’s time to sell your home.
Protect your investment by structuring your business as an LLC. A limited liability business structure separates your personal finances from your business ones, thereby shielding your personal assets like your home, car, and savings. An LLC is a structure you can set up yourself by using an online formation service, saving yourself attorney fees.
Making a home office that works for both you and your clients means taking safety into account, as well as comfort and design. And the beauty of it is you’ll even make your home more valuable. It’s definitely a winning plan all the way around.