Guest contribution by Derek Goodman
Before the pandemic, your home office might have only been used to keep track of your bills and other small household management tasks.
Now, your office might be your primary work location, making it more important than ever that you have a reliable, safe home office space, especially if you’re going to have clients getting a sneak peak into your home life.
In my case, it also tends to double up as a space for me to be with my child while I’m typing away furiously at an email.
But I’ve learned to make the best out of it.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your home office space.
Request Virtual Meetings When Possible
Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams, among other programs, allow you to virtually meet with clients and employees, reducing the number of in-person meetings required that could put you or your client at risk of contracting an illness.
Make sure to set the stage for your meetings to maintain a professional appearance.
For instance, make sure you check the backdrop of your meeting so it’s tidy and clutter-free (or use a virtual background), and position your light source so it’s in front of you. The light will help the person you’re meeting with see you and as an added bonus, it’ll compliment your features. Light source is so important when setting up your work from home space. Remember, face the light!
Don’t have a convenient, beautiful natural window where you can place your desk in front? No worries, ring lights are a very affordable and easy fix.
Check out my recommended one on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3to6Ker
Use SaaS Offerings and Services to Your Advantage
Software as a service (SaaS) has made life convenient for small business owners and people in general by reducing the need for in-person contact and automating a variety of processes that were previously performed by humans.
Today, you can access SaaS programs that allow you to manage accounting responsibilities easily.
For example, QuickBooks offers an online program for small business owners that allows you to conveniently track expenses, organize receipts, manage contractors, and keep track of invoices.
An array of other SaaS options is available to help with other business needs as well. Instead of handing someone an invoice in person or sending it via mail, you can easily create, send, and track invoices online with programs like Google Docs. Moreover, you can pay contractors and receive funds through a secure money payment system, such as PayPal, Venmo, Google Pay, and Stripe.
It’s also a good idea to reach out to services that can help you perform necessary tasks that you may feel uncomfortable handling on your own. For example, if you’re looking to form an LLC but you don’t want to pay expensive attorney fees, work with a company like ZenBusiness, which can file the necessary paperwork on your behalf.
My favorite SaaS tools that help me run my business daily are Pipedrive, Calendly, Slack and GroupMe. Of course, I am also a big fan of all Google suite products!
Keep Windows Open
Open up the windows in your home office as much as possible, especially when you have clients visiting. Open windows help to dilute any household pollutants in the air and can prevent the spread of viruses. With open windows, you create a safer space for both you and your visitors.
I don’t have clients who visit my home, but I do use this tip to keep my house air ventilated and clear. I do have a toddler so some fresh air is always welcome.
Buy Masks in Bulk
In some states, mask mandates are still in place, while in others, masks continue to be recommended. Even if you live in a region without recommendations or mandates, you can still request that clients wear a mask inside your home to protect you and your family.
Ensure you always have sanitary masks on hand by buying them in bulk and keeping them on your desk so they’re easily accessible.
The mask scene has changed dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic to now. Remember, the national crisis and shortage of handmade DYI masks?Well there was a company who stepped in and changed their product offering in light of the pandemic and I still love their silicone reusable face masks today!
Check out the business here: https://www.gir.co/products/reusable-face-mask/
Make Home Office Upgrades
Creating a suitable home office space is more than painting the walls the color you desire and putting a desk in the room. You can make upgrades to create a true home office space.
Consider, for instance, installing an extra window to allow more natural light to shine through. Natural light helps reduce eyestrain and provides you with the tools to activate vitamin D in your system, which your immune system needs to ward off and fight infections. Moreover, when you upgrade your home office space, your home will be more appealing to buyers, and it may even increase the appraisal value of your home. Make sure you take pictures before and after your upgrades to accurately determine how much you increase your home’s value.
You need to make safety a priority in your home office now more than ever for the sake of yourself and your family, as well as your clients and their families. Fortunately, technology and a few simple upgrades are all it takes to make a safer environment.
Some quick tips I can share:
- Add a few extra fake (or real) potted plants and blooms
- Organize clutter by using boxes and bins
- Hang up your accomplishments, degrees, press features on the wall space in your office
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