Tips for Starting a Business
Creating a Home Office

Working from home has many advantages. You can work where you choose, when it best suits you and you can wear whatever you like. You don't have to worry about office politics, or your manager driving you crazy by shifting priorities around like juggling balls.

Creating a Home Office: The Home/Office Dilemma | Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If the fancy takes you, you can work in the garden, enjoying the sunshine. You can work in bed at three in the morning or in the kitchen, while having your breakfast.

But is working all over the house when it suits you really the best thing to do? Or should you set aside a separate place to work? Should you be creating a home office?

Talking to self-employed friends, I find that some rent office space away from their home and actually "go to work". Others have been creating a home office, which they use exclusively for business. Others still work in their pyjamas on the sofa when the fancy takes them. And all are successful in their work.

It seems then, that choosing where and how you work from home has much to do with personality and preference than it has with space considerations.

So what points should you consider when you are starting your own business?

Focus

Can you work in the middle of a noisy children's birthday party? Or are you only productive when nobody disturbs you?

If you can keep your focus and be productive whatever your surroundings, then you might not need a home office. But if you work best in a quiet orderly space, if you work best in a space you associate with work, then creating a home office is a way to make your business work.

It matters little if your home office is a spare room in your house or a corner in your bedroom, as long as it suits your way of working.

Mess

Can you work in a muddle? Or do you function best in an environment where everything has its place? Where you can lay your hand on anything you might need without even opening your eyes?

If you like an orderly workplace, then creating a home office may be the best thing for you. Find a place that can be 'yours' and you can keep it exactly the way you want to. Make sure that you can cover or lock that work area, so that even if you leave a mess, you won't have it before your eyes the whole time. In the easiest case, just find a large blanket and drape it over your desk, so the contents are not visible while you're trying to relax.

If you have a very tidy mind - or abhor mess - spend the last ten minutes of every work day clearing your desk, putting everything back in its place and even writing a to do list for the following day. That way, you won't have to worry about the next day's tasks while relaxing.

Balance

Creating a Home Office: My ideal home office | Image: Carols Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is very easy for a new business to take over your life. This is even more likely to happen if you are working from home. Before you know it, work can spill over into every aspect of your family life, causing friction, stress and resentment.

The best way to handle balance issues is by having a separate work space. Go there to work every morning - and don't forget to come out at the end of the day.

If you use this area for business and nothing else, it will soon make you feel comfortable and spur you into productivity. And by the end of the day, you will feel more relaxed, moving away from it and enjoying your family time and your time off.


Finding a place to work that's just right for you will help you be more productive during your work day and relax at the end of it. And if you are creating a home office in your house, don't forget to talk to your accountant or tax advisor about it. In many countries, costs for running your home office - such as electricity, heating, phone and broadband charges and even office furniture - are tax deductible.



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