I believe the rise of firing your boss and becoming your own boss is the best thing since sliced bread. According to Money Magazine, work at home entrepreneurs number in the millions and it is reported that every 11 seconds someone starts a home based business that allows them to work at home. Also 20% of work at home businesses gross between 100k and 500k per year.
But one thing for sure you want your working environment to meet your work style and reinforce your brand. The home office should be designed for optimum productivity. You spend lots of time there. And besides, because you're the boss you should have the best office in the neighborhood! So why do not you? Consider these ways to help you with your home office design so you can increase your productivity and match your brand:
Let's talk about ergonomics. If you want optimum productivity, the work space must be comfortable and healthy. Another way of looking at ergonomics is how the human position interfaces with machines and equipment. Creating a good ergonomic working arrangement is important to protecting your health and influencing your productivity. Here are some vital ergonomic safeguards:
1. The Chair. Your chair is the most important piece of furniture in your office. To reduce vertebrae pressure and minimize lower back pain slightly recline your chair. It should have a good backrest that's wide enough to support your shoulders. Ideally, the front end of the seat should be curved. Experts say a good chair range from $ 500 to $ 1500.
2. Lighting. The next most important feature is good lighting. You do not want eye strain. Lighting, whether artificial or natural should not be too bright especially on the computer. I have a screen over my monitor to reduce outside glare. Desk lamps should light the papers not the eyes.
3. The Desk. Before purchasing a desk, evaluate your needs. What is your profession? What equipment and technology is needed? Do you need lots of desk space? Consider space allowance for computer equipment, telephone, office supplies, and elbow room. I believe a large table that's height-adjustable is both cost-effective and practical. Then you can move from your keyboard to the side.
4. The Keyboard and Mouse. Here is where you must be cautious. Having the keyboard and mouse wrongly positioned can cause wrist injuries. I know this first hand! The keyboard-mouse tray should be between 28 to 30 inches off the floor. Use the keyboard in a tilt position. The mouse if not properly used can cause wrist injuries by twisting the wrist instead of dragging the mouse.
5. The Monitor. Keep monitor below or at eye-level and eyes between 24 and 36 inches from computer screen
Let's talk about successful branding. Because you work from home does not mean your company does not have an image. Your office design should match your brand even though you may never see a client there.
Successful branding reveals that you to "look" and "feel" the brand. Think about this: having a fashionable and refined image, the best business card and brochure design with outdated office furniture and equipment will make you feel like you're half-way there. It's sort of like you're pretending to be there but are not. This can interfere with your confidence to project your brand to customers.Work your brand. Live your brand. Design your brand.
1. Let people know about you. Determine what you want them to know. Advertise, social media, etc.
2. Connect with virtual assistance. Warning! Make sure they love your brand and connect with your image.
3. Project good public relations. Keep your customers happy. Customers do not care if your office is the corner slot on New York's fifth Avenue or the hottest spot in your foundation. Keep the promises made to them, have a return / refund policy (you'll need it) and keep them smiling so they will come back.
4. Serve your brand. I had to learn this the hard way. But know that everything you do, say, and project to the public is either building or teasing down your brand image. Serve the public well, and do something for FREE. Seed-time and harvest is inevitable.
Let's talk about space planning. Determine how your office will be arranged to make work comfortable and convenient. In your empty space, place the desk first. It's the largest piece. Generally, the largest piece faces the focal point of the room. The focal point can be a large window or painting. It is so vital to create boundaries like these:
1. Separate from home activities. It is essential to build a home design support of your own personal productivity. If possible, select a separate room for you office with a door so that productivity will not be lost by the temptation of a pleasure break for TV, a snack, or engaging in the day-to-day activities of the home.
2. Good ventilation. You do not want to become tired and drowsy with the temptation of taking a nap.
3. Clarify your work schedule. One of the productivity stealers is the e-mail. I am learning to read my e-mails only after I've done at least two task that day. Write out your schedule each night for the following day and stick to it as much as possible.
4. Clarify family time. Write this on your schedule so there are no conflicts. Separate work life from family life and visa-versa.
5. Clarify ME time. Do not burn yourself out. Schedule a time to get out and take a walk. I do, and it is simply divine. When I return, I showers and then resume my tasks. It beats talking prescribed lunch break and clocking back in to only find twice as much paper on your desk from the boss. Now, you're the boss.
6. Clarify who you are and where you're headed. Believe me, so many do not have this ironed out yet. It takes quality time.
I've learned to become creative in my zeal to maintain my home office. You can do this too. The entrepreneur is here to stay and we as well must learn to enjoy the ride. Remain sturdy productively, nurture your brand, and I'll meet you over the top!