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10 Ways to Maximize Your Home Office for Productivity

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10 Ways to Maximize Your Home Office for Productivity

By smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
Published: March 6, 2014

If you run one of the 14+ million home-based small businesses in the United States, congratulations. You’ve got lower overhead, a shorter commute and the opportunity to be more productive than your office-based competitors.

 

Still, working from home isn’t all eating peanut butter out of the jar and wearing your fuzzy slippers. There are plenty of pitfalls that can distract you from getting your work done. Here we look at 10 ways to ensure you’re set up for success in your home office.

 

1. Carve Out a Workspace

 

Not every entrepreneur is fortunate enough to have a spare room to turn into an office. That’s okay. You can use part of a room separated by a curtain or even a closet. The point here is to ensure you have a dedicated space that is only for work.

 

2. Set Up Your Day

 

The more routines you have, the more you’ll get done. If you have small children at home with you while you work, plan to work when they nap or when they’re quiet; otherwise you won’t be productive. Plan out your work hours; they don’t have to be 9 to 5, but they should be fairly consistent. Also, consider your attire. Some people love working in pajamas or sweats. Other people (like me) get more done by getting dressed in “business casual” – for some reason getting dressed to be seen by the world makes me feel more professional, even if it’s just me.  

 

3. Figure Out When You Work Best

 

Part of those routines you need to set up involve determining when you’re most productive. Some people are night owls, and some are early birds. Some need quiet time without phones and instant messages, so getting up early avoids that. You might need complete quiet in your home office. Whatever your needs, don’t fight against them.

 

4. Have an Ergonomic Set Up

 

You need a comfortable chair with good back support, a decent computer monitor you can easily see and a keyboard at the right height to avoid awkward pressure on arms and wrists. Don’t forget your eyes. Your computer should be at the right distance to see without strain; if necessary, see your eye doctor for “computer glasses” that are made for viewing a computer properly. Two monitors also can help productivity (less time spent jumping between applications), so if you can afford an extra monitor, by all means try it out.

 

5. Use Smart Tools

 

There are so many free or affordable software programs and apps for small businesses! Find the ones that help you do more. A few options:

 

6. Remove Distractions

It can be tempting to fold the laundry that’s in the middle of the floor, but pretend you’re at an office and ignore it. It’s important to designate certain hours for work, and certain hours for home life. Occasionally, it’s fine to take a break and run an errand, but don’t let it encourage you to procrastinate on a project.

 

7. Get Out of the House

 

Many people can’t bear being alone all the time in their home offices. Fortunately, we’ve become a mobile society, and you’ll always see plenty of people at your local coffee shop working on their laptops. Get a change of environment. Try working from a park or restaurant, if you can be productive there.

 

8. Find Support in Person or Online

 

It can be nice to meet other home-based entrepreneurs too. Find a local meetup of people like you or a local event where you can share your stories and find support in your small business endeavors. If you spend any time on Twitter or other social media sites, you’ll find plenty of folks who, like you, are working out of their homes. #HomeBiz is a great hashtag to follow to find content and conversations geared toward people like you.

 

9. Keep Learning

 

Find as many opportunities as you can to develop your business and industry knowledge. This can come in the form of online webinars, Twitter chats, in-person conferences, seminars, books, blogs and magazines.

 

10. Meet Regularly With Staff

If you have employees who also work from their homes, make a point to meet once a week or month so you reap the benefits of face-to-face time. While it’s completely possible to work virtually, nothing can make up for that in-person relationship-building time.

About the Author:

Anita Campbell

Guest Blogger

My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.

Comments:

In my opinion, finding good employees are the key. The providing them tools that will help them become productive is the next thing to do. Oh by the way, we often use dropbox on our day to day office activities.
We utilize those tools especially the google drive and dropbox. It keeps us organize our files and more! Productivity is very important and we can really do that with the help of these tools.
Additional ways to maximize your home office for productivity include: 1. Re-vist the vision and mission of your business frequently. In this way you stay focused and consistent with achieving your company goals. 2. Identify specific goals you need to achieve to fulfill your business vision and mission as well as the daily tasks you must complete to achieve those goals. 3. Choose 3 top tasks you must complete during your business day and stay committed to completing those tasks first.
One thing I would add to this list is to set "office hours." In other words, communicate with family and friends to let them know that even though you are home, you are working. You are just "not at home today." It took me a while to get that message understood.
Join your local chamber of commerce and attend networking events. It's a great way to meet people just like you, make professional connections, and spread the word about what you do. Others who also work from home will probably be happy to share ideas and support.
Very useful information shared for those who are planning to make it big through home office. But i believe that one needs to keep the determination & willpower high to combat any negative factor. As any business can prosper if all support is available for good jump in life.
Thank you for this great post! Sorry for my bad enlgish but I'm from Spain hehehe. I like the second point: The more routines you have, the more you’ll get done. If you have small children at home with you while you work, plan to work when they nap or when they’re quiet; Normally I can work meanwhile my son sleep between 4 to 6 PM and the nights (My husband is his night's mom). I lose more time trying to put all in order than doing the tasks. Cheers!
Great work Anita! This would surely help the entrepreneurs who are running the home - based businesses US. Thanks for sharing this article!

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