When COVID-19 struck, millions of people were suddenly forced to work from home, and because of this new scenario, many people realized they could actually start their own businesses from the comfort of their couches. However, as a business grows, so do the logistics, making it crucial to have a dedicated workspace.
If you’re preparing to start your own business, get ahead of the curve by understanding some of the necessities that come with customer interaction, both in person and virtually. This starts with safety measures, the right workspace and a plan to stage your office.
Making a Home Office Safe for Visitors
Most offices are large open areas with commercial air conditioning, cleaners that visit daily, and plenty of space for social distancing. Homes tend to be much smaller and lack dedicated working areas. This means it’s important to go through a health and safety checklist before welcoming colleagues or clients into your home.
Some things to consider include:
- Ventilation: Open your windows to let in fresh air before accepting visitors.
- HVAC: UV filtering in your HVAC system can help remove pathogens from the air.
- Social distancing: If your office is big enough, maintain 3 to 6 feet of social distance.
- Hygiene: Clean your keyboard, mouse, and working areas, and ask visitors to use hand sanitizer.
- Room use: Try to keep your office and living areas separate, and limit foot traffic.
- Tidiness: Keep cables neat and tidy to avoid accidents.
- Working area: Choose ergonomically designed furniture.
- Lighting: Make sure the lighting in your office is suitable for the type of work you’re doing.
If you take the above basic precautions, you can greatly reduce the risk of eyestrain, trips, falls, and infections, creating a safe and comfortable working environment for you and any visitors. If you don’t have a dedicated office, consider converting the basement or even your attic into one.
Adding a functional home office can significantly increase the value of your home. While you’re working on thisproject, take before and after pictures so you can show the work, and make sure this information is factored in when considering the value of your property.
If you don’t have space for a home office in your current home, you may need to move into a larger home. When shopping for a new home, be explicit about your needs when hiring a real estate agent, and research dependable movers in your area by searching for “local movers near me” and reviewing customer feedback and testimonials. When hiring a moving company, always insist on written estimates.
Staging Your Home Office for Professional Video Calls
While many people have gone back to the office, there are still those who prefer to work remotely as much as possible and rely on video calls for most of their meetings. A well-designed home office can make video calls a much more pleasant experience.
While you can use Zoom backgrounds to help you present a professional image, having a tidy office has lots of benefits and could save you from embarrassment if you forget to turn the backgrounds on.
The Verge suggests setting up your office so your webcam is positioned at a flattering height. If you’re using a laptop with a camera, this may mean placing the laptop higher than you normally would so that viewers don’t get an “up the nostrils” view of your face. Position lights so they’re not directly in view of the camera, where they might cause glare, and keep doors and windows closed while you’re on a call to block out household sounds and noise from any passing traffic.
Digital Tools for a Frictionless Experience
According to one recent survey conducted by Korn Ferry, two-thirds of workers feel that spending too much time in meetings holds them back from being productive at work. Streamlining your workflow by using SaaS packages that reduce the need to get on calls with customers or colleagues can greatly increase your productivity. For example, using tools such as Outgrow for cost estimates and FreshBooks or Xero for invoicing can cut down on the number of back-and-forth messages you need to send.
You can even tap into other tools to help open up more of your time. For example, your Florida LLC application can be handled quickly online by a formation service like ZenBusiness, or you can tap into a platform like HootSuite or Heropost to help manage your social media. Email marketing can also be optimized using Constant Contact. When you automate many of your interactions with customers, you can spend more time being productive in other ways.
Creating the ideal office is key when it comes to growing your business, particularly if you intend to meet with your customers at home. Try these tips to set yourself up for success!