There are many reasons people need office space in their homes these days — telecommuting, working at home full-time, consulting, freelancing. In every case you need to maintain your professionalism. This means getting serious about your surroundings.
You may be thinking, “There’s no room at the inn!” To that I can only respond, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” If you’re serious about making money from some nook or cranny at home, you’d best get some basic tools in place to help your quest for success.
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Consider these first three tips the bare minimum.
Tip #1: Clear some space
Even if it’s the kitchen counter, make sure your work space is free of clutter and distractions like the toaster oven and coffee maker. Make sure the surface is clean, so you can avoid germs and invisible creepy-crawlies.
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Tip #2: Organize
Do the best you can with the physical space you’ve carved out. People might dream of a paperless environment, and good for you if you’re already there, but many of us who work from home still need a printer, some files, a minimal filing system, and pens and paper. This is one time it’s best to start small and add only what you can’t live without.
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Tip #3: Get an early handle on your electrical system
Power outlets, multiple cords, chargers, power strips and everything else that keeps you up and running need space, too. Here, allow for maximum needs. You also might need to talk with your Internet provider about upgrading and protecting yours system. This can surprise people making the switch from corporate to home office. You don’t want to be caught off guard when you can’t hook up for your first Skype call because the refrigerator won’t share power.
When I first started working from home I got some good advice from someone who’d already made the move. She told me to visualize the bathroom and remember that only what’s absolutely, positively necessary is in it: 1) toilet and 2) toilet paper. All the rest — sink, towel, soap, mirror, lotion, brushes, combs, sprays, makeup, perfume, etc. — is only added pending space, function, usability and convenience.
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Issues beyond the physical setup can make or break your success, too, and should be kept in mind.
Tip #4: Act like a professional
If you can work in your pajamas, good for you, but most people need at least to get dressed in the morning to accomplish some level of daily work.
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Tip #5: Avoid minor distractions
Pets that want to play and dust bunnies that laugh at you for ignoring them will always be there.
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Tip #6: Follow a pattern
No matter what hours you keep, report in to work regularly.
Do you work from home or wish you did? What strategies work best for you? Please share.
Updated in 2018.