I'd like to welcome Anna Hicks who has written a post especially for DIYbyDesign.
More and more people are working from home every day. There are lots of reasons for this (its ultimately cheaper, less commute time, can stay home with kids, etc). What is important is not the reason why you’ve chosen to work from home but how professional, efficient and welcoming you make your office space.
It is important that your home office not simply feel like the spare bedroom (even if that’s what it is). One of the best ways to accomplish this is to keep the office as clean and professional looking as possible.
- Keep the door closed whenever you’re not using it so that household items don’t find their way in there when you aren’t paying attention.
- Only allow business related materials to enter the room. Letting personal items creep in makes the space feel confusing.
- The main exception here is your desk—you can decorate the desk in your home office just like you would if your desk was a part of a larger professional environment.
Thanks to video conferencing, you can meet with clients whenever and where ever is easiest for your clients.
- Make sure, if you are going to take a video call or participate in a conference call, that your space is quiet. Close the door and windows so that you don’t have to worry about ambient noise getting through.
- Tell your family that you need things to be as quiet as possible for a while and that you cannot be disturbed. Hopefully this will keep people (and pets) from wandering in mid-call and derailing the productivity of the call.
- Set up a professional looking background behind you (a nice piece of art, maybe a bookshelf, perhaps a chair… not your kids’ painting easel).
Have a place that is comfortable for meeting clients. Sure, you will probably try to hold most of your meetings at a local coffee shop or public space. Every once in a while, though, your clients are going to want to see your operations and have meetings where you work.
Apply the same rules to the web conference to these meetings.
Consider meeting with them outside in the yard. You can create a yard sanctuary—shady trees, a nice pond (with a quiet pond pump) perhaps with some koi or goldfish in it, a comfortable bench and maybe even a table and chairs.
All of these details considered: remember that you can personalize your office space. You want it to feel professional but you also need it to be conducive to your productivity. It might take a while to find this balance but don’t worry, you’ll get there.