If you're one of the lucky people that telecommutes full or part-time from home, it's essential that you have an office space that allows you to perform your job efficiently. Many employers will only allow you to continue working from home if the work can be as equally productive or even better than doing it in the office.
If you're planning a home-based business, you'll need to have it setup for efficiency. You'll need a desk with drawers, a filing system, somewhere to put your books and binders, a trash can and paper shredder.
Introduce the rest of the family to your rules during your work day. If your office is not in a separate room, you'll need a process for the rest of the family to follow when they arrive home. It's important that you are able to concentrate on your tasks and not be interrupted.
Many professionals insist that personal items and bright colors are too distracting and should not be in your work environment. If you find this to be true, it's time for a change.
Here are some tips you can do to make the right working environment at home.
• You can make a suitable work area from a room that is not routinely used like the dining or living room. Even small alcoves like under the stairs or in a convenient corner of a room can be converted for your needs.
• Most people have a personal computer at home. If it is currently located in a space that will enable you to complete you work efficiently, maybe all you need to do is setup a procedures for the rest of the family. When you are at the computer, your procedures should clearly state your needs and how they can assist you with noise control and interruptions.
• If your office is in the study or an enclosed space, you can put the table or desk facing the door so you will easily see if someone is coming. This will provide you with an opportunity to greet family as they arrive home and transition to completing your work day.
• The work area is just for you and the work you will perform during your working hours. If there are other things in the area that could disrupt your work, it is best to remove them. Items like a television, radio and even another noisy area close by should be considered.
• All the papers and other essential things must be within reach. You can get a corkboard to display important dates and notes, a small drawer to hold the stapler, pens and other small items. If you need to make or receive calls, the phone should also be placed nearby so if it rings you can easily answer it. Some people prefer a whiteboard rather than a corkboard to jot down notes or reminders. You now also have the option of half white board and half corkboard, easily found at the large office supply stores.
• Some papers or files are used more often than others. Instead of a regular file cabinet, consider purchasing boxes to store these documents and make a system either alphabetically or by color. Having a system that you use for all documents helps you easily find them when they are needed.
• If you will be receiving documents via fax or email, you should record all the important details whenever they are received. This is part of making the working area systematic and enables you to track all the tasks not yet completed.
Creating a home office takes time to determine what is working for you and what needs to be changed. Continue to implement changes until you have found the setup that works best for your specific job or business.
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Gail Metcalf has been self-employed most of her professional career and shares her knowledge about home based businesses.
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