By Kelli Brewer
When you run a home-based business, your home office will serve as your home base for success. How you design it has a significant impact on how your clients view your business as a whole. Although home businesses are much more common today than ever, some people still believe that you have to have a brick-and-mortar environment (and the ridiculous overhead associated with it) to provide a professional service. Here’s how you prove them wrong.
One of the first things that you should know is that creating a beautiful and functional home office may increase your home’s value. This means that you could potentially enjoy a return on your remodeling investment. Redfin smartly notes, however, that you’ll want to take before and after pictures of this or any home improvement. Doing so offers tangible proof of why your house’s value deserves to go up.
What exactly does it mean to have a fully functional home office? First, it must be in an area of your home that has access to lightning-fast internet. Ideally, you’ll also have proper lighting and plenty of space to spread out, especially if you’re entertaining clients in your home. A room or series of rooms that are heated and cooled with a private bathroom is also important. Somewhere quiet and removed from your spouse, pets and children will also lend well to the professional atmosphere when you’re on the phone or have customers on site.
Design for Safety
Your office design has to be more than just beautiful. It also has to be set up to allow for plenty of space between you and your customers. Even though pandemic-related restrictions have loosened, many people are still practicing social distancing to stay safe. Therefore, you’ll want your office laid out to promote great communication and interaction even when you’re six feet apart.
Start your home office design with the big stuff. This means your desk, conference table, and chairs. Make sure that your desk is facing where your customers will sit when you talk. Ideally, you’ll have a second computer monitor that you can mirror to your desktop or laptop. This will keep them from having to sit next to you when you are working on the computer together.
Finally, make sure that your home office has a separate entrance, if possible. This will keep customers from inadvertently bringing germs into your main living space. Likewise, it will keep them out of range if you have sick children home from school.
Protecting Your Home Office
If you’re going to have strangers coming and going into your home, there’s one significant business decision you can make to protect your assets. This is to establish a limited liability company (LLC). If you remain a sole proprietor, your personal residence may be targeted if the customer decides to sue you for any reason.
By starting an LLC in Arizona — which you can do on your own without an attorney by using a formation service — you add a layer of protection to your personal property. Keep in mind, however, that each state has different rules, so do your research. In addition to this, make sure that you have business insurance and that you alert your home insurance provider if you plan to do business from your home.
When you work out of your house, the design of your office matters just as much as where it’s located. Make sure that you not only have a beautiful space but one that’s also conducive to a healthy and professional environment. From setting up your home office for social distancing to forming an LLC to protect your assets, the above information can help you run a better business — even if your boardroom is the basement.
For more advice on enhancing your work life, refer to Judy Vorfeld’s blog.