The Perfect Home Office for You and Your Clients
Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor
Be honest: since you started working from home, your office has not only become a catchall for everything work-related (in addition to the clutter that was in there before), but it has somehow managed to spread into other areas of your home. And although most home-based businesses never require you to meet with clients face-to-face, you’ve found that on the rare occasion a meeting is necessary, you simply can’t invite people into your home for fear they’d run screaming.
If you want to present the professional atmosphere that mirrors your demeanor, you can easily create a home office space that meets all of your business needs. With just a few simple steps, you can sweep all of your work back into one room in your house and have the organized, professional space you need to impress potential clients and secure new jobs.
The first thing you need to do is clear out the clutter and make your office what it was intended to be: a space tailor-made for your business. So identify everything that’s out of place (toys belonging to kids and pets, craft supplies, and anything else that should be stored in another area of the house) and remove it. Now you only have to deal with the detritus of work-related materials, and probably personal finance documents. And while you may be facing a mountain of filing, cleaning up the piles of paperwork is easy if you have the right storage solutions.
You’ll want to start with a filing cabinet. If you have the space, two is even better. That way you can easily separate work and personal documents. Keeping your paperwork organized is absolutely essential for your business to run smoothly, and it couldn’t hurt your personal finances (bills, taxes, etc.) either. You should also have desktop trays to deal with current items like ongoing projects, invoices, and so on (with separate slots for household bills). The trick with any type of organization is levels of separation, so make sure you have a place for everything so that everything can be in its place. You should also install some kind of shelving to house business-related books, ledgers, and whatnot.
Now that you’ve cleared some space, it’s time to think about the furnishings that will help you to create a professional but inviting atmosphere that you love to work in and clients will find appealing. Start with a suitable desk. You don’t want something cheap, so stay away from the modular IKEA-style furniture that’s popular with the college crowd. On the other hand, you also don’t want to spend beaucoup bucks on some giant boulder of a desk that would look better in an English mansion than a modern home. Opt for middle-of-the road and get a desk that is both sturdy and well-suited to your space.
As for furniture to accommodate visitors, consider both chairs and couches. While chairs are standard, you may have a problem if you end up with more than one or two guests. Plus, they can be fairly formal and uncomfortable. A sophisticated sofa on the other hand, may serve to put your clients at ease and make them feel more relaxed, as though they are more of a personal guest than a stranger in your home.
Making your clients comfortable is the first step towards securing their business, so do everything you can to make your office space match your professional demeanor even as you add personal touches that will endear you to potential or returning customers.
Photo by blupics