If you have decided on setting up an office to work at home I would like to suggest that in this digital age it may well be very different to the type of office which you might expect (large, big room, shut off, filled with equipment).
Don’t do it!
I suppose this will sound hypocritical but my first piece of advice is please don’t! By this I mean that you should have two things in your mind from the start – these being:
- Don’t spend any money on your office until you absolutely have to and then try not to.
- Don’t organise any space or files or anything like that until you have been working for at least one month, (the usual business short cycle).
I once had the opportunity to interview the person managing the setting up of a new town and we went through how he had approached this project. The one thing that stuck in my mind, and which I have applied on many occasions since is this. I asked him how they had worked out where to put pavements and paths. His reply, with a smile was – we didn’t. We let the folks define that themselves after a few weeks. By this he meant that people would naturally wear a path in the grass or dust in the town where they went and this defined where the paths had to be put – clever or what?
So in your office which you haven’t yet created beware of setting everything up based on a guess. It’s a waste of your time and effort so don’t do it. After one month you will know how you work and what types of media (paper, fax, copying, files) you need. Then is the best time to set them up and you will know where you need them as well.
Next two points are:
- Think digital.
- Think transportable.
Taking each point in turn:
- Digital – should be your aim for all information that you need for your office because that will then come into a single point which will be your lap top, iPad, desk top, tablet or whatever you decide. This means it is accessible from that single point by you at any time. Laptops can hold enormous amounts of data and are much easier to search through than a pile of papers.
- Transportable – can you take your office with you – I can? If you say you will never need to then just think of the holidays which you will never get when you work at home but the rest of the family insists on taking – what do you do with the office then? You will need to take it with you. My office is all on a notebook from which I can access all of it, and it’s really easy to take it with me.
Four Points to keep in front of you.
So when you are sat staring at what to do to set up your office to work at home keep this four point check list in front of you (digitally of course).
- Don’t spend money unless you really have to.
- Don’t cast anything in stone for one month – not even your desk!
- Think digital at all times, your clients will love you for this anyway.
- Make sure your office is totally transportable – all that information (or access to it) should go with you.
Hope this helps, more thoughts on this topic are in our post – How to go naked in your work at home office – enjoy.
Yours in WAH business,
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