If you are an entrepreneurial small business owner, rent for a dedicated office space might not quite be in your company’s budget. Enter: the home office. Here are a few tips for finding the right space, decorating it, staying organized and staying comfortable.
When it comes to your home office, you probably won’t be using it to revisit grade school calisthenics like jumping rope or jumping jacks, so you don’t need a ton of space. In fact, if you think a little outside the box, even a closet can do the trick. The most important thing is that you have designated square footage for work. You may think you can bring your laptop to any room in your dwelling and be productive, but this is almost never the case. It’s good for your mind and body to have a work sanctuary. An extra smallish bedroom is perfect, but not always practical. An extra walk-in closet can often be big enough for a desk, a chair and a filing cabinet. Try also setting aside a corner of another room and sectioning it off with curtains or partitions.
If only for your own psyche, you’ll want to maintain an air of professionalism in all things home-office-related. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun and personalize the decor of your new workspace. Wall hangings are the quickest (and cheapest) way to liven up the room. Frame a print of one of your favorite art pieces or have your local print shop enlarge a favorite family photo. Try painting one wall your favorite accent color; you’ll be amazed at the effect.
One of the great advantages to having a home office is that with all of life’s chaos, it can be the one place in your home that’s always organized. Obviously, this still takes a little effort and the right tools. Even in a digital age, a small filing cabinet is essential. Buy more file folders than you think you need, because once you get the filing itch, you won’t be able to scratch it enough. Buying sets of office organization tools can get expensive, but you can always make your own. Use old cereal boxes to store your different types of paper. Small suction cups and sturdy brown mailing envelopes can attach to a window for mail organization. Cut up thick cardboard boxes to create a makeshift desk drawer divider.
Do not underestimate the importance of your office chair. For better or worse, you’ll probably be sitting in it more often than you’ll be sleeping in your bed. So, take your time and spend your money. Back pain due to a poor sitting environment can be horribly distracting. Of all the ways to creatively cut costs, this is not one of them. Most office or furniture stores will have dozens of chairs on display. Take an afternoon to go sit and spin and find your ‘business partner’.
Great businesses can start anywhere. Let’s hope your home office is the start of something grand.