To make working from home work for you, it is critical that you set up your home office properly.
Doing so takes some thought and careful planning. Sure, choosing where you’ll spend the majority of your day, arranging furniture and supplies, and decorating your walls should be enjoyable, but there is a bit more to the logistics of choosing a home office than putting up pictures.
First, you really need to have a separate room for your business. Not only is having space to yourself critical, but if you want to claim the home office tax deduction, you need a specific room for business only. By having a room dedicated to work only, you are sending a signal to yourself and those around you that, that even though you are at home, this is about work. Sure, you can cordon off space in a room using dividers, but if you can avoid doing that, avoid doing that.
You also need to consider that you will require a place where you can work peacefully. Barking dogs, construction, and kids playing in the street can drive you to distraction. As such, insulating your new office may be worth the cost. Wall-to-wall carpeting is great for reducing sound, but even an area rug will help as long as you spring for good padding. Other sound-reduction tools include weather-stripping, double-glazed windows and solid doors.
Other home office infrastructure requirements can include:
- Electrical: It’s usually worth the money to install extra outlets. If you do, consider installing them at desk level. If your office is going to be relatively equipment-heavy, consider placing those electrical outlets on a separate circuit breaker.
- Lighting. Try and use as much natural light as you can. Add in a mix of ambient lighting (ceiling lights) and task lighting (a desk lamp).
Equipping a home office is not an inexpensive proposition. A desk, chair and computer are, unfortunately, just the beginning. Of course you will also need a multi-function copier, file cabinet, bookshelves, and computer and wireless functionality. The important thing to remember is that you will be spending a lot of time in this space, so make sure it reflects your temperament. The office items you buy and how you arrange them can make a world of difference in your productivity.
The bottom line is that starting a business from home can be one of the best decisions you may make. By drastically reducing your overhead, you correspondingly increase your chances of success.