Every home office will be different depending on your style and the work you perform. So, what do you need for a home office? I have owned my own company, working out of my home, and I have worked for a company and have been able to do the same. So far I have worked out of my home for 8 years. Here are some of the things I have learned from experience you may want to know if you are planning a home office.
A Place to Work
This may be obvious to most of you but you need an office to keep your work organized and a place you can allow for some peace and quiet. You may have to take a phone call or be part of a conference call at times and it will be times like this that you will need some noise control.
Most all of us have children, have had children, or are planning on having children. Need I say more about the need to be able to close the office doors at times. But, what about you partner? Have you ever thought about them being a problem? I once realized, then promptly told my wife, that she was more difficult to work with than any boss I have ever worked for! I’m surprised we’re still married after that slip of the tongue.
The problem is, that was the truth. Many spouses or partners can be more demanding than your boss. You don’t believe me? Try working at home for one year and then let’s have this discussion again.
You need an office space if you plan on working remotely for more than one “temporary” year.
Let’s keep this simple. You don’t need much to start working out of your home. Please get all of those pictures out of your mind of a beautiful office with expensive furniture and a fireplace in the background as you’re looking out your double french doors over a beautiful manicured lawn and across the lake.
Now you know what I envision as my perfect office.
Most people who start out working at home don’t have thousands of dollars to go out and buy the most beautiful furniture and you don’t need to. Keep your ultimate goal in mind of working remotely for many years to come and keep your expenses to a minimum.
All you need is a cheap, and probably free, table and chair. You really need to add a filing cabinet to organize things and maybe a bookshelf but that’s about it. I would add an additional small table for your printer but that can also be cheap and most likely free. We need to get real with ourselves and keep our priorities straight. Would you rather start out with nothing and build an empire or buy your grand office empire now and not be able to pay for all the expensive office furniture later when you’re trying to get the company off the ground?
Unless you already have money, you need to start out with some cheap stuff, at least when it comes to furniture.
Computers and Printers are a Completely Different Ballgame
Save your money when acquiring your furniture and invest it into the technology which is absolutely critical for an effective home office.
You will lose money if you don’t have the latest computer, printer and monitors.
It’s amazing how many times in the past I have seen office managers yelling at their people to get the job done faster, yet the staff is working with 7 year old computers and 10 year old monitors.
How many times have you seen highly qualified people waiting for a slow computer or sub-standard internet speeds, sitting and hoping that the screen would refresh or pull up the next page so they could do their job?
You don’t need to buy the most expensive equipment in the world but if there is a place where you don’t skimp, this is it.
My Home Office and Other Remote Equipment/Supplies
So you want to work remotely? Here are some of the furniture, equipment and supplies you may need to do your job, anywhere in the world. If you haven’t figured it out yet, working remotely means way more than working at home.
- Private office if at all possible
- ActiveMat for standing
- File cabinet(s)
- Small table for a printer unless the printer can sit on your desk
- Bookshelf or cabinet for books and office supplies
- Laptop (not a desktop)
- Docking station
- External hard drive (primarily for backups)
- Smart phone (to receive calls and emails when away from your main office)
- Hot spot on smart phone for remote internet connection from laptop
- Miscellaneous office supplies
- VPN Router & Service
And for all of you “really remote” workers, you may want to add these items:
- AC to DC power converter
- I have a third office in my van. I have the ability to power my laptop and printer for unlimited periods of time away from any typical office. I will write on this more in the future but I desire the ability to work anywhere, and at any time. In order to do this, I have had to think long and hard about the size and type of vehicle that would allow me the space and comfort I need. Working out of a vehicle will be short-lived if you don’t have something with enough size and that is easy to move in and out of and around in.
- Light and mobile desk top you can sit on your lap
- There may be a product out there you can buy but I bought a thin, lightweight, sheet of wood and cut it to the size I would need to sit my laptop and mouse pad on side by side. I rounded the corners and sanded down the edges to make them smooth. My job requires me to use my mouse 80% of the time so it’s crucial for me to have some portable table I can sit on my lap and operate just like I would if I had a desk.
- Satellite internet connection
- This is something I don’t know much about and will be researching more in the future but if you want to be camped next to a beautiful lake, far into the mountains, with no internet connection and your business requires an internet connection; then you need a way to have internet access no matter where you are.
Just Brushing the Topic of a Home Office
As you can see, there is a lot of things to consider when setting up a home or “remote” office and we have just barely touched on the subject.
What about making sure your clients are ok with you working remotely? You may think this is none of their business, but they can potentially make life difficult for you.
Have you talked this over with your family? Does your partner even want you working at home? Some people who don’t have to be in the office may like their alone time during the day.
What about you? Have you really worked this through in your mind how it will be working at home? Have you done a test run and tried working from your home or vehicle for a week or two to make sure this dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare?
Working remotely is incredible……..for some people. Make sure it’s right for you.
If you love the idea of working remotely but are not sure how to do it or what you could sell, then follow me and let me show you what I have learned and how I am preparing for the future.