Guest Post from Tina Martin
Creating a home office has become necessary for many entrepreneurs and remote workers in recent times, and finding a sustainable space is an important aspect of the process. Not only will a fully-functioning home office allow for safe, professional business meetings–both in person and virtually–it can also add value to your house. Ohana is proud to present you with a few ideas for creating and staging a home office that will allow you to run things safely and efficiently.
Make Some Updates
Ideally, your home office will be its own space, separated from the rest of the house by a door so you can block out distractions. In order to make the area safe and comfortable, you’ll want to have excellent ventilation and at least one window that can be opened to allow fresh air to circulate. You might even think about adding UV to the HVAC system, which UV Resources notes is beneficial for killing germs and viruses in the air. For flooring, consider pulling up carpet and replacing it with easy-to-clean laminate, which eliminates a lot of dust, pet dander, dirt, and allergens.
You can also get creative with your home office’s location. To maximize natural light coming in as you work, as well as lack of distractions, looking into the unique backyard offices from Ohana, a quick and inventive solution.
When making updates such as these, take before-and-after photos and keep your receipts, as these changes can increase your home’s value and will be advantageous when you’re ready to sell down the road.
Have a Plan for No-Contact, Including Digitized Invoices
While the physical office can be improved for safety, it’s important to also consider safe and easy options for your customers and clients to interact with you outside of your home. Automated invoicing, no-contact payment systems, and online tools–such as video chat apps–will allow you to stay on top of your business without requiring in-person meetings. If your business is product-based, consider offering no-contact delivery or pickup for even more options.
Hiring a virtual assistant can also make for easier contactless communication while it also frees up some of your time for bigger projects. When looking for a VA, ask about their certifications and training. You want someone who is experienced and comes with their own professional support, so that you can step away trusting their expertise.
Another idea for minimizing physical contact is automating your invoicing process. An invoice template will allow you to create professional-looking invoices that suit your brand and include your logo. Simply choose from an assortment of pre-made, free invoice templates and customize your invoice by adding your name, logo, brand colors, and any other pertinent information.
When using those chat apps on your phone or computer, it’s important to remember that you still need to present yourself professionally. Don’t neglect the background. Try to keep virtual meetings to your office so you can control the environment, and Staging Studio suggests setting the scene with good lighting and neutral colors. Refrain from sitting in front of windows, as the lighting will render you a silhouette.
Remove clutter from your desk or bookshelves; if this includes things you don’t need right away. Having a consistent organization strategy will help keep clutter at bay, and make you look even more professional. Nothing diminishes confidence like a professional who can’t find the required paperwork or information. Also, to keep distractions to a minimum, turn off notifications and hang a sign on the door to let family members know you aren’t to be disturbed.
Depending on your business, you may find that an extra monitor comes in handy so that you can pull up important information while keeping the video chat live. Also upgraded sound, like a good set of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones, can make a big difference both for listening to clients online and eliminating the noise of outside distractions.
Sometimes, an in-person meeting is unavoidable. In these instances, it’s essential to make sure you’re well-prepared. Have a mask handy, as well as an extra one for your client (and have a conversation beforehand about your mask policy). Open windows if the weather allows, and create a meeting area that allows for distancing. If your home office is too small for this, set up a comfortable space in the living room or even outside, if you have nice patio furniture. If signatures are required, consider utilizing an e-signature for the documents.
Creating a safe home office area can be challenging, especially if you’re on a budget, but it’s not impossible. The most important aspects of an office include good airflow and following mask/distancing procedures (should you choose), and these can be achieved easily with a little planning.
Photo via Pexels
Constantly on the search for sustainable and smart construction, Ohana promotes more efficient building practices in the engineering and production of special dwellings. Reach out for more info today! 760.206.6636