The way we do business has changed dramatically in recent times and one of the biggest shifts in attitudes and lifestyles has been towards the idea of running your business from home.
Working out of an office in your spare bedroom or garage used to be something that you would not always be keen to immediately disclose to prospective clients for fear that it might put them off doing business with someone who does not have an office with a receptionist, as though this was a guarantee of credibility.
The growth of the internet and a need for customers to source suppliers who can offer the best service at the most competitive price has meant that the home office is now often viewed as an attribute and is definitely no longer a barrier to success.
Now that our homes are potentially open for business, you want to make sure that your “business premises” and your office are up to scratch, as you still need to create the right impression and can cope with your customer’s demands.
Creating your home office
Your objectives should be to create a space and working environment that you are comfortable in and is conducive to productivity and efficiency.
If you are planning on meeting clients on a regular basis then you also have to incorporate these needs into your design plans. One of your first priorities is to source some comfortable seating for you and your guests from a company such as Swivel UK.
You should take into account the type of business that you run and also the tone or style of the meetings that you intend to hold on a regular basis, as this will have an influence on the style of seating that you choose.
If you are more inclined to hold creative thinking and strategizing sessions then an energising chic blue coloured office with a large comfortable sofa is going to help the ideas flow in a relaxed environment. If you are looking to portray a more formal and business-like outlook where business matters take precedence, then a large good quality wooden desk and some smart leather chairs are probably more appropriate.
Working from home will always have its distractions but you need to be able to create an office space that allows for complete privacy when it is needed.
Some good quality double doors that can create an impressive entrance to your office would work well, as they can easily be used to shut away any domestic activities going on elsewhere in the house and allow you to get down to business with the required amount of privacy.
An organised office is really important not just from an efficiency point of view, but also because it demonstrates to your clients that you are in control of what you are doing and have good organisational skills.
Plenty of storage space and filing cabinets will help to keep clutter to a minimum and avoid any embarrassed shuffling of papers to create a space when someone comes to see you.
Ready for business
There are certainly many benefits and perks to be gained from running your business from home but you still have to make some sacrifices and arrangements to ensure that your home is as ready for business as you are.
Take on the role of a visiting customer and look at what you need to do to create the right first impression and make them as comfortable as you are in your environment. Look at your parking situation and decide where it would be best for a visiting client to park so that they don’t have any issues and you don’t upset any neighbours.
If you are going to be receiving clients in your main entrance to the house before guiding them through to your office, then make sure that the decoration is in order and the area is neat and tidy. It is all very well having an impressive office space but it will quickly begin to look like a façade if the other part of the house they see doesn’t give off the same assurances.
Your ultimate aim when working from home is to try and achieve a level of harmony and also necessary separation, so that there is the opportunity for your home and business to peacefully co-exist alongside each other.
It is your business that you want your clients to remember you for and not the cluttered entrance or any other avoidable aspects. Work on creating a client-centric home office and your business will hopefully continue to prosper and grow.
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