With nearly 60% of small to medium sized businesses now based at a residential address, home offices are a growing trend. It can be a convenient, cost effective, more flexible alternative to traditional office space. With the increasing popularity of virtual tenancies, working from home no longer means sacrificing a professional appearance – business correspondence and calls are all directed to a well-respected local business centre.
But in order for home working to be productive, there are a few steps to take. Having the family close can be a comfort but it can also be a lethal distraction. For all of us that have attempted working from home in an environment of TV noise, children requiring our attention (just because we are there!), pets wanting to master the art of keyboard dancing, friends popping in, washing machines needing emptying…you get the picture. It isn’t always conducive to innovative and productive days.
So here are 5 very straightforward and simple to apply tips to improve your home office:
- Choose a space that can isolate you as much as is feasible. Not everyone has a ‘spare’ room whereupon they can announce ‘This room is now my office!’ The trick is to allocate a quiet area that can be easily transformed into a practical and ergonomic environment. You could locate yourself in the garden by converting a shed or even build a pre-designed garden office (don’t forget to check if you require planning permission first). Check for any leaks, insulate and make sure your wifi reaches you.
- Surround yourself with all you need to prevent those moments of wandering around the house forgetting what you were looking for or needed to use. If you know that the printer, shredder, laminator etc. are going to be required regularly, then have them close by. If you are located away from the kitchen then have refreshments at hand. Try not to give yourself an excuse to be distracted.
- Need to upgrade your broadband to superfast? Most families are already using many connected devices draining the download speed, so look to invest in a more powerful router or even change your supplier.
- We all love our home comforts so make certain your home office is comfortable too. A suitable desk/work bench and chair are so important. A pleasant surround could include plants, natural light and even a radio. If you are likely to have customers visiting your site then ensure their comfort is catered for too.
- Regardless where you base yourself, you and your business must be secure. We can sometimes overlook the fact that we are bringing valuable items into the home that wouldn’t necessarily be there if we didn’t have a home office. Make certain all insurances are up-to-date and include any possible expensive items. You also need to ensure that customer/client details are secure; paperwork should be stored away in a locked cabinet and access to data should be protected. And for your security, again, here is another place a virtual tenancy can help –you won’t need to use your home address. You’ll have use of a professional address and a telephone answering service – as well as conference facilities for those busier meetings.
Take a look at Nwes’ virtual tenancy packages here.
Written by Nwes Business Advisor, Suzanne Willett.
Bruce has also written a blog about the support he received from Nwes.