A few of my friends have worked in corporate jobs their entire lives, while others have always had their own businesses. If you’ve only worked in the corporate world but will start working from home soon, the whole process can be overwhelming, scary and challenging.
Before you psych yourself out of working from home, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your new workspace is somewhere you want to go to every day, even if your commute is only 10 seconds long.
Find the right place for your office.
Your home office shouldn’t be in the main flow of traffic, but not isolated. Make sure the space has enough room for a desk or other work surface, and a place to store files and supplies. If you’re not convinced that you’ve picked the right room for a home office, try out the space for 30 days. If after that time you like where you’re working, set up your home office permanently.
Invest in quality equipment.
Before you buy a desktop computer, consider a laptop instead. You’ll be able to work anywhere within your home and if you need a break from your home office, you can take your laptop to a coffee shop or to meetings. One of the best parts of a laptop is that they don’t take up much space and you don’t have to make room for a CPU.
Save space within your home office.
Instead of buying separate equipment for your home office, buy an “all in one” that prints, copies, scans and faxes documents. Not only will you save space, you’ll save money. Another space-saving trick is to think vertically and add shelves to your home office (either freestanding or attached to your walls).
Decide whether you need a separate business line.
Kids don’t make good receptionists, so making your home phone do double duty as a business line is a bad idea. A better option is to install a separate line or use your cell phone as your business line.
Have reliable tech support available.
When you leave the corporate world behind, you can say goodbye to tech support that’s only minutes away. While you may not have an on-staff IT department, you can hire outside services to help. Geek Squad is a good place to start.
Set up a support system.
Family and friends may be helpful when you first start working from home, but they have lives too. Instead of relying on them for emotional and business support, find other professionals in your area through LinkedIn and trade associations. You can even send tweets to find other business owners who want to connect.
Set a schedule every day.
The beauty of working from home is that you don’t have to punch a time clock. That means you can sleep in, wait to take a shower until the afternoon (if at all) and work on projects late into the night. It also means that you have to motivate yourself to go to work every day. Set a specific time for when you want to be at your desk. Your schedule may vary because of appointments, but stick to your schedule as much as possible.
Moving from a corporate office to a home office is challenging but not impossible. When you keep in mind the benefits of flexible work hours, a comfortable office and a short commute down the hall instead of across town, you can make the transition an easy one.
What was your biggest challenge when you transitioned from a corporate office to a home office?