More and more individuals are working from home, either replacing their nine to five jobs or supplementing their family’s income. One of the best things you can do to improve your chances of successfully working at home is to establish a home office. A hope office makes your home business more professional, helps you stay organized and can provide you with tax deductions (be sure to check with your accountant as to what is and isn’t deductible.)
The type of office you’ll need will depend on the type of business you’ll be running. Here are just a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself prior to deciding on your office space: Will I be meeting with clients in my office? Will it be a multi-purpose room? Will it be a work area? These are all important questions you’ll want to consider as the answers to such questions will dictate how much office space you will require. If you have a business you run from your computer, you won’t need as much work space say, as someone who is doing craft production or a product distribution business.
Begin by eliminating anything that isn’t directly connected to your business (unless of course it’s going to be a multi-purpose room). For getting your work done, you’ll want to have as few distractions as possible. Removing all the unnecessary items from the room will also help reduce unwanted clutter. Simply move these items to another room or box them up and store them elsewhere.
The workspace is often the most difficult to keep organized, but if you have a handle on the paperwork, it helps reduce one area of clutter. There are quite a few filing system options available, everything from the traditional filing cabinets, to hanging file folder systems that can be attached to the back of a door.
Sort through the papers in your office decide what needs to be kept and what can be discarded. If you are unsure about any documents, set aside another folder or tray and place it in there and go back to it again later and review to see if you are going to be needing it or not. If so, file it in the appropriate place, if not, dispose of it. Paperwork can quickly overwhelm you if you don’t maintain it on a daily basis.
Consider a color-coded system, one color for invoices, another for expenses, and other for tax-deductible and so on. Then simply place the papers or receipts in the appropriate colored folder. Makes things much easier to handle and maintain.
Make sure your workspace is large enough and comfortable. Whether you’ll be standing working or sitting down working, it’s important to make sure the surface you will be working on is at the correct height. Doing so will prevent back strain and will allow you to work for longer periods of time thus being more productive.
Now that the files are taken care of make sure your desk workspace is as well. Use desk organizers to keep items you may need frequently close by and drawer organizers to keep everything in your drawers tucked away nice and neat and easy to find when you need it.
If you have a desktop computer make sure you give yourself enough space for each item including keyboard, monitors, printers and any other hardware you may need. Short on desk space? Try using a laptop rather than a desktop computer system or for the other hardware such as scanners, faxes, copiers, etc. look at the new, space saving all in one units.
It is also important to keep your computer organized. Track appointments, clients, and your work with one of the many organizational software programs available. By utilizing such programs, you can be more efficient in your bookkeeping and more. Set up folders and sub-folders so you’ll be able to find what you are looking for easily. Spreadsheets and databases are also very helpful tools in tracking inventory and other business related needs.