Four Huge Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Home Office
Making the decision to become a home-based business owner is huge. However, it is only a piece of the puzzle. Once you decide to conduct your operation from home, you must focus on building the environment that will be your office space. For some professionals, it’s as simple as rearranging a few furniture items and centralizing your equipment in one room. For others, it’s an extremely complex process that involves buying new furniture or conducting major renovations to build a new home office from scratch.
While there really is no right or wrong in terms of taking the simple or complex approach, there are plenty of mistakes that can be made if you’re not careful. These mistakes are crucial as they can actually stall your business operations, which is probably the last thing you want.
1. Fail to Plan
What does it take to be successful operating a business from home? For some professionals, it could be a diverse list of items that include:
- Office productivity software to handle everyday tasks
- Television or stereo system to set a tone that allows you to work comfortably
- Pen and paper (or an app) to jot down notes
- Devices that allow you to seamlessly transfer your work from one room to another
- Toys and furniture to keep the kids entertained while you work
Your requirements may vary greatly from the next entrepreneur’s, but whatever they are, make sure you identify them and include them in your plan.
2. Overlook Growth Potential
A business accumulates more of everything as it grows. More software. More files. More physical items that take up space in the office. If you don’t account for the potential growth of your business somewhere down the road, you could end up with a clustered mess on your hands. But finding yourself caved in the corner of your office isn’t the only problem as your growth could start impacting productivity and future growth. For instance, not being able to install a new copier, printer, or phone line because you didn’t account for outgrowing the existing setup could restrict your ability to meet certain objectives that depend on those items.
Growth is often a sign of good things, but it could lead to frustration if you’re not prepared. Be realistic about expectations and monitor your progress with a keen eye. Over time you may require an extra rack to accommodate your growing software collection. Additional furniture to host clients, partners, or interns. Even if you have to literally tear down walls, preparation will help your upgrade efforts go over much smoother and more importantly, ensure as little downtime as possible.
3. Set Up in the Wrong Location
Not every room in your home is cut out to serve as your office space. And what makes the ideal location is not always a matter of space. For instance, the basement may be accommodating in terms of size, but the lack of windows could create a dreary environment that makes it difficult to stay focused and maintain productivity. The right location not only satisfies your spacing requirements, but finer details such as electrical outlets for your office equipment. While you may have to make a compromise or two, you don’t want to sacrifice so much that it cramps your creativity and desire to work.
4. Skimp on Critical Resources
With a little creativity, you can assemble your network of office furniture out of existing, non-office items. A broken chair could provide near perfect support for holding up your printer. Most of it may have been trashed years ago, but the remaining quarter section of an old desk may still make a decent shelf for books, defunct equipment, and whatever else you can fit into the space. This economical approach can help you save a lot of money, but it pays to know when to say when.
The office space you maintain in the small spare bedroom of your home is as vital as the space you once maintained in an office. It needs fully functioning furniture and equipment in order to thrive. While you may not be able to afford a luxury office chair for hundreds of dollars initially, you can still find something comfortable and complementing to your workspace. Don’t get into the habit of taking shortcuts. The more sacrifices you make in the quality department, the more you stand to compromise your productivity and ability to succeed.
Some people confined to the traditional 9-to-5 grind have a twisted perception of the home-based work environment. They often see being able to set your own hours, work with the TV in the background, and take on-demand breaks as luxuries. What they don’t see is the pressure that comes with working grueling hours, sacrificing pay, and making mission-critical business decisions – all while managing family life in the same environment. It’s a lot to deal with, but by setting up the proper office environment from day one, you can set yourself up for success in the end.