Organizing Your Ideal Home-Based Office

Written by: Lea Serrato

In 2012, 30 million Americans work from home at least one day a week, and around 3 million of them are home-based full-time. According to Bolt Insurance’s Infographic (http://www.boltinsurance.com/news/miscellaneous/benefits-of-employee-telecommuting-infographic/) by 2016, full-time telecommuters will rise by 63% which totals to 4.9 million. What’s more incredible is that 79% of US workers would like to work from home at least part of the time.

Are you one those who are home-based and would like to create your home-based office? A work space or some sort of office is needed if you operate or manage your business from home. It might seem that a traditional office job and working from home is different but there are actually many similarities especially when it comes to productivity and organization.

Working at home requires planning to create a working environment that is suitable for you and your business. It offers an opportunity for efficiency and comfort but you have to be careful in making it too casual which could result to loss in productivity.

These tips will help you stay organized and be more productive:

  1. Selecting Your Work Space. Depending on your type of business, pick the appropriate location and space within your home. Keep in mind the day-to-day living as well as special occasions, and guests. Optional spaces may be a spare corner, dining room, kitchen, garage, spare bedroom, attic, basement, or create an additional space which could be expensive.
  2. Designing Your Office. Take note of the things you’ll need for your office. Have a simple office desk with enough space for your things such as a computer, phone and enough room to work. Save time and keep items you use often within reach while the other things can be stored in file cabinets or closets.
  3. Work Hours. Decide on your work hours and follow that schedule. Imagine you’re still working at a traditional job and follow the same standard. Don’t be late!
  4. Dress Code. Though not exactly the same with the work hours, try to at least shower and get cleaned up before you work. No need to wear a suit and tie since one of the perks of working at home is that you dress casually.
  5. Separate Business and Personal: Records, Phone Numbers and Mailing Addresses. Stay organized and separate business from personal records. Avoid the risk of mixing them up and looking unprofessional. Get multiple landlines or cellphones to avoid confusion. If you want, you could also set up a PO Box to protect your privacy.
  6. “Do Not Disturb!” If you live alone then it’s unnecessary. If you have a family, especially little children, then you need to enforce some rules so they won’t disturb you while working except for emergencies. Ask for support from older members of the family to keep the children from interrupting your work.
  7. Turn It Off! People are not the only ones that can disturb you while working. It’s easy to be distracted with the television or stereo. Resist the temptation and turn them off! You might also want to screen your home and business calls and let them go to voicemail.
  8. Take a Breather. Working too much is bad for your health, and bad for business. You lose concentration when you’re hungry or tired. Like with a traditional job, take breaks every now and then and don’t forget to eat lunch!
  9.  Limit Your Work Hours. Try to follow your work schedule. Don’t be late and don’t work too much. The point of working at home is that you can spend more time with your family and friends.

Working could be stressful. Don’t add to that stress by working in an uncomfortable environment. Rather than distraction, it should be a place you want to be and want to spend time in. Keep your home-based office relaxing to help your productivity.