That Home Office.

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That Home Office.

Ever thought of working from home? Whether you’re a consultant or a freelancer in your field, you don’t need an office in town or somewhere else. Your home can serve you better.
For this to work, you may need to consider the following:-

Location

Think about the best place in your home to designate as work space. Not only should you think about how much space you will need, but whether or not the space needs to have a door or window. I also considered the temperature of my house. If your home has an east-west facing it means the back of the house is warmer towards the end of the day. So you’ll intentionally have your office at the front of the house. It stays cooler and thus you won’t have to deal with too much sunlight.

Ergonomics

In order to do your best work, you have to be comfortable. And, that comfy sofa in front of the plasma TV starts looking real good after a couple hours in a poorly designed workspace. Your office chair needs to properly support your back. If you’ll be working on a computer from home, make sure you have proper lighting and wrist rests.

I know this might sound elementary, but you’d be amazed at the people who don’t consider taking good care of their posture in designing a home office.

It’s one thing to jump in a chair and send off a few bills from a desk. That takes minutes. It’s another thing to work for hours.

Communication Musts

One of the keys to working from home is being accessible. You’ll always find that your clients won’t care where you are as long as they can reach you and on the other end you can deliver on time. This means how you communicate is key, because you are establishing your credibility and creating trust.

Many people use their cell phones as primary communication devices. Which is great. You need to know the different spots in your house where reception is poor in order to avoid dropping calls, thus you may need a landline to act as backup.
Nothing is worse than being on an important conference call and getting dropped off the line. I’m not endorsing one way over another, just keep in mind how you need to communicate when setting up your office.
Also when it comes to phone coverage, think about whether voicemail, forwarding services and applications like Google Voice make sense to keep you connected to your customers.
Two-cents about phones – one of the best investments you can make is having a wireless headset. If you spend a lot of time on conference calls, this could be a lifesaver for you. > It’s also great when you’re on a call and someone wants you to sign for a package. Multitasking at its best.

Technology

Talking about communication leads to discussions about the internet. If you have multiple computers in your home, a wireless network might be necessary. You could have plenty of occasions where the Ethernet cable isn’t working and thus the wireless network will keep you up and running until a repair is made.
Ever lost a document you spent hours creating because the electricity blinked? Well, don’t let that happen. Get a battery back-up (UPS) for your computer.
I also can’t resist sharing my technology indulgence. Dual monitors. Years ago, the graphic designer who worked on my website suggested it. If you spend a lot of time on computers, it will completely change the way you work and your productivity.

Find Your Zone

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Need to take 5 minutes to make a personal phone call – no problem. Want to work in your pajamas, no worries. But it also means that work is staring you in the face all the time.

While you might enjoy what you do…you still need time to disconnect. Figure out a routine that works for you.

Marketing your office

Even though you work at home, you still want to send the message that you’re a professional. So when I refer to where I work – it’s called the office. Not home.

And since it’s not feasible to hold meetings in your home, you need to think of where to hold meetings. This may work for you if most of the clients want to meet at their site or they want to meet over coffee or lunch. But find good places to have meetings so you’re always prepared when a customer wants to see you face-to-face.

With more people considering freelancing and consulting, working from home has plenty of advantages. A well-thought-out plan to establishing a home office can offer you a casual, comfortable, flexible place to work that’s also easy to set up and relatively inexpensive to maintain.

Read more articles on marketing and customer relations here.
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