Home free – 5 home office pitfalls & how to avoid them
Ask anyone who works from home what the benefits are, and you’ll hardly be able to get them to stop talking. From low overheads and flexibility to greater freedom and creature comforts, there are certainly plenty of things to love about the lifestyle. Sometimes, even isolation and home distractions are not enough to take the sheen off the prospect of working from home.
However, it can take considerable effort to make a home office a genuinely productive place from which to build your business. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure you’ve got these tricks up your sleeve to reap all the possible rewards that accrue to the successful lifestyle entrepreneur:
It can be easier said than done, but it’s paramount to the running of your home office that you know how to separate your work and home lives. Set up a dedicated office nook or use an entire room as an office that’s away from any distractions and used for nothing other than your professional affairs. Fill it with everything you need for a day’s work, such as a desk, chair, printer, stationary and, of course, the ever popular “you got this” inspirational poster. In this way, you will have created a little corporate oasis that insulates you from the all personal distractions and maximises your ability to focus on getting the job done.
Working from home offers many benefits, but it also has a few drawbacks. Having your home address on your business cards doesn’t scream “professional”. That’s why many entrepreneurs and sole traders see the value in a virtual office.
You still get to work from the comfort of your home, even in your pyjamas if you prefer. However, for a surprisingly affordable monthly fee, you can utilise an elite business address that comes with reception services, call forwarding, and mail forwarding. No one ever has to know you’re anywhere other than in an elite inner-city office.
You might enjoy a minimalistic approach to life and business. After all, you’ve chosen to combine the two. However, that doesn’t mean you need to apply the same bare-bones approach to technology.
If something is going to help you do your job better, and it costs a little more than something less helpful, then don’t be afraid to buy it. Any software and technology that proves itself convenient in the business world will pay for itself ten times over.
Advances in cloud-based software systems mean that virtually every business function can be undertaken with little more than a laptop, mobile and wireless internet connection. From team communications, CRM and project management, to accounting, meetings and technical tools, pretty much everything you need is available at your fingertips.
Best of all, most of these cloud-based software systems have integrated mobile apps, meaning that you can take your entire business with you anywhere.
A virtual office is going to offer that much-needed professional image, but what are you going to do when you need to meet a customer in person? Welcoming them into your kitchen for a presentation or struggling to hold a conversation over the lively chatter at your local café may not be the best way to form a beneficial business relationship. It pays to have other options. Look locally and see whether you can hire a meeting room or a conference area for a few hours or a day.
You work at home, you live at home, where does the balance come into it? It’s far too easy, with having your office a few feet away, to work until all hours of the day and night because you can. Don’t.
Work-life balance is paramount, and failure to emphasise it can lead to burnout that’s bad for business. Establish a fixed set of hours, set yourself breaks, and ensure you allow plenty of time for hobbies and family time. While it can be hard to draw that line, it’s crucial to switch off sometimes.
If you work hard, stay on top of your game, and remain productive, there’s every reason to believe you can run a successful home office. However, it’s crucial not to underestimate the value of an address that can help to retain your professional image. Let APSO guide you.
We’re proud to be able to offer flexibility, access to on-site facilities, one monthly invoice, support services, and a desirable premium business address. Get in touch to find out how we can work together for the success of your business.