The Home Office

As a follow-up to an earlier article I wrote about working at home, this article focuses on what it takes to set up your home office to maximize your productivity. No, not everything I say here will apply to everyone, but think about the ideas, and perhaps you will find a few good points that will help you be successful at home.

  1. Get dressed to go to work every day. Working at home provides the opportunity for more distractions than you would have at the office. To help you counter that, pick a style that you think represents what you and your business stand for, and stick to it. Whether it is strictly formal, or business casual, dress yourself each day as though you were going to be meeting your clients. You never know, they may need to drop by.
  2. Set aside space to work. This means that you need a place that is called your office. With a door. When you go into your office, you are at work. This helps you to block out the distractions from around the house, and tells the people you live with that when the office door is closed, it means you are not to be disturbed.
  3. Set up a “disturb policy”. If you were at the office, your wife would not interrupt your work to ask you for help with the dishes. The same should apply while you are working at home. If the door is closed (see the previous point) then for all intents and purposes, you are not home. The only reason for opening that door would be for an emergency that would make your spouse call you home from your downtown office.
  4. Keep your space clean. It’s a distinct possibility that a client may see your office. Your reputation can gain or lose standing as a result of the cleanliness of your office space.
  5. Set aside some space for meeting clients. While you may feel comfortable curling up on the couch while you write a report on the pros and cons of using a certain piece of software, your clients won’t. It comes across as unprofessional, so set aside some space, keep it clear of your baby’s toys, and make sure it includes a table and space for meeting with several people. If you are tight on space, you can use your dining room table as your conference area, as long as you keep the area clean.

Let me know if you have any other ideas that would help make your home office successful, I would love to hear from you.