As you set up your home-based business, pay attention to family and space considerations. If you have ever tried to run a business from your living room, you can understand why it is vital to have a separate space for your office in the house.
A spare bedroom or a room in your basement should be adequate when you first start out. If possible, try to select a room that is away from the high traffic areas of your home. The more peace and quiet you have, the more productive you will be.
Your room should be of adequate size. As you grow your business, you will need more space. It is much easier to start off with a larger office than to have to move to a bigger one later. You will need to make sure that this room has enough outlets for all of your equipment and that you have at least one phone jack.
Once you have selected your space, it is time to begin filling it with equipment. You will need to have at least one desk for your computer, printer, and fax machine. If you have several office machines, you will want to add extra tables or a printer stand to free up your desk space. A filing cabinet can double as a printer stand in a pinch and can help you to maximize your space.
You will also have needs specific to your business. You may need a workshop, studio, or darkroom. You may need a large worktable for laying out supplies. Closets or storage for your tools and supplies may also be necessary. Try Home Depot, Lowe’s, or other home improvement stores for ideas and solutions. Also, check out Home & Garden TV’s Workspace/Office articles for tips and advice on organizing and transforming rooms into offices.
You will also need to set down some rules with your household. If you live alone, this should not be a problem. If you have a busy family, it can be difficult to juggle your work schedule and your family time. It is important to set down specific times when you will be “at work.” During this time, you should ensure that work can be done uninterrupted.
Your office equipment should not be used for any other purposes than your work. You should not have to fight with your children for computer time when you have work that needs to be done. Everyone needs to understand that your computer and your equipment are for your job and that they should not be used for any other purpose. If your equipment is insured, you may be restricted in how it is used, so it is important to lay down these rules ahead of time. In addition, if you plan on deducting 100 percent of your office equipment as business expenses on your taxes, none of this equipment should be used by family members.
If you plan to warehouse inventory in your home, you will need to clear out a space where it will be safe. If you have business property insurance, you may have to store your inventory in a specific location, where it is least likely to be harmed. This inventory should be off-limits to the rest of your household.
While there are some obstacles inherent in running a business out of your home, proper planning can save you a lot of time and conflict with your family. It is important to instruct your family on the importance of your business. Your job at home should be treated with the same respect as if it were a job out of your home. By taking the time to establish the rules now, you can be assured of a productive home office.