From notaries to doctors to online entrepreneurs to freelancers to brokers, a home office can cater to a variety of individuals and businesses.
Setting up a home office may sound easy, but there are many elements that work together to intricately balance working and living in the same premise. Working from home in India is not a new concept and if you are setting up your own home office, or if you want to make yours more efficient, here are tips that will help you boost productivity and professionalism.
- 1 Separate your living and working areas
- 2 Allow ample of light into your workspace
- 3 Use practical furniture
- 4 Leave some space for visitors
- 5 Use separate landlines number for your office and home
- 6 Wear work appropriate clothes
- 7 Don’t let distractions get in the way
- 8 Family members should treat a home office like an office
- 9 Keep it light on the budget
Separate your living and working areas
The words ‘home office’ itself signify a fusion of work and living areas. However it is important to segregate work and living areas. The room being used as an office must not be used for personal recreation or as a living area by other members of the household. This way, the work area will be free of personal clutter and will beam a professional image.
Tip: If feasible, have a separate entrance to your home office.
Allow ample of light into your workspace
Lighting plays a passive yet very important role in any office space. A light filled workspace is more likely to increase productivity and decrease lethargy. In absence of abundant natural light, a home office should be equipped with enough wall mounted lights and desk lamps to brighten up the work space.
Tip: Avoid using yellow lamps as they can create a dull atmosphere.
Use practical furniture
While it is tempting to use some of the existing home furniture, it is best to use practical and office-like furniture in the workspace. Say no to sofas and lounges that may generally be found in living rooms. Use a proper desk-chair combination while working and avoid the temptation of working on a laptop while relaxing on a sofa.
Tip: Keep office furniture minimalistic to enhance space and practicality.
Leave some space for visitors
Whether or not you are in a customer facing profession, it is best to provide for space and seating for potential visitors. It will look very professional if you have put out some extra chairs and left room for visitors to sit down.
Tip: If space permits, you can have a small round table and 4 chairs around it for visitors.
Use separate landlines number for your office and home
It would look very unprofessional if a client called on a landline number and got greeted by a toddler or a homemaker. It could potentially be damaging to the reputation of an individual or a business. To avoid ambiguity and to maintain complete segregation of home and work, it is best to have a separate landline for a home office.
Tip: If a separate landline number is not possible, don’t give one out at all.
Wear work appropriate clothes
Taking things for granted, is a very real threat to working from home. It may be very tempting to wear the same comfortable pair of denims and t-shirt while working from a home office, just because there are no customers or clients to impress. This is one of the most common traps that freelancers often fall into. Don’t let this happen and be sure to wear work appropriate clothes even while working from the confines of a home office.
Tip: Wear the same clothes that would be expected in a professional office environment.
Don’t let distractions get in the way
How would clients feel if they heard a child screaming in the background during a phone call? Common household distractions like a blaring TV and loud phone conversations are a complete no-no when it comes to maintaining professionalism. If a home office is too close to the living area, this could potentially mean asking other members of the household to tone down their noise levels.
Tip: Keep your office as far away from common living areas as you can and if you can’t, ask other members in your household/family to keep noise levels down.
Family members should treat a home office like an office
While working from home it is easy for friends and family to take your workspace for granted. In India and in the true ‘welcoming’ Indian spirit, most homes never have rooms or areas that are not accessible to guests, friends, family and other visitors. It is very important to upkeep this welcoming spirit because that is what Indians are proud of, and rightly so. But at the same time, a home office should be relatively out of bounds for everyone with a non-work motive.
Tip: Ask your family members to treat your home office like a unit that is separate from the rest of the house.
Keep it light on the budget
Serving as an important reminder to every individual envisaging a work-from-home situation, budgeting is possibly one of the most critical things to keep in mind while setting up an office at home. There is no point spending lakhs of rupees to start working from home because that sort of money could very well be a substantial down payment to buy a small office. Keep it tight and have a conservative approach while planning for a home office. Spare funds are better utilized in business operations, future cash flows or for investment purposes.
Tip: Make a simple budget in Excel and tick of every rupee that is spent. Track your expenditure and cut back if you are going overboard.