After working from a home office for most of the past fifteen years, it would be extremely hard for me to go back to a traditional office environment. But it wasn’t always that way. For the uninitiated, a home office can be full of distractions. It can also make it hard to turn it on/off and set boundaries between your work and personal life.
I’ve learned through trial and error how to maximize the productivity of my home office. Here are four tried-and-true lessons I’ve learned:
Create a Dedicated Working Space in Your Home
There is only one way to ensure that you’re able to concentrate on work during normal hours – eliminate the distractions that crop up at home. There are many ways to do this, from heading out to a coffee shop to turning your spare bedroom into a home office. The goal is to create a divide between your work and personal lives even though you do not have a dedicated work address.
Once you have found a “working space” it will become vastly easier for you to concentrate completely on making your start up a success regardless if you are going solo or are part of a dedicated team.
Leverage the Best Technology Available
It is impossible to do your best if you lack the tools necessary to accomplish the task. Take a look at your equipment, both hardware and software, and determine if they are capable of supporting you in your mission. Older software and hardware may lack the capability to help you complete a task in the most efficient and time saving manner possible, leading to missed opportunities and lower overall earnings. Here are the factors you need to consider when determining whether or not to update your work equipment:
- Price – Will you earn enough to justify the expense?
- Weight – If you work from multiple locations, will the weight bog you down?
- Capabilities – Will the product help you get the job done?
Settle on the Best Communication Tools Possible
Communication is essential if you wish to succeed in business. You need to be able to communicate with clients and colleagues without fail regardless of where or when you work. As you develop your company determine the best means of communication that is used by the vast majority of your clientele and contractors/employees and use it in your own practice. By settling on a standard at the very beginning you will make it vastly easier to ensure stable communications regardless of where you happen to be.
For many business owners, communications can appear to be a daunting challenge even if you work from a home office and only communicate via email or cell phone. Take a look at the technology you use to communicate with friends and family and see how that can be leveraged to further your business goals. You will be amazed to discover how easy it is to get the most out of common social media and other communication tools without spending any of your hard-earned capital.
Have Set Business Hours
Even though your business does not have a physical address it is essential that you maintain a stable set of business hours to ensure that you are in control of your company and not the other way around.(4) Sit down with your family or colleagues and discuss your average workday to determine what hours you are most regularly busy to see where you can block off free periods in which you purposely walk away. Doing so will enable you to have a personal life outside of the “office” and to prevent exposing yourself to many of the stresses first-time business owners experience.
As you grow your company you will discover that its location is far from the most important detail in how clients and colleagues view your enterprise. Productivity and customer relations are valued at a much higher level than whether or not you have to drive to an office every day. As you get into the swing of things you will discover your own tricks to developing a healthy work/life balance that enables you to be the most productive without sacrificing time spent with family and friends.