Some people are celebrating the prospect of remote and hybrid work plans. It means they will finally be able to work from home. Some people are dreading the prospect of remote and hybrid work plans for the exact same reason. They never wanted to work from home. Their dream was to go to an office park everyday and work their way up to having the corner office. There is no corner office at home. One does not get to measure their status by the relative size and location of their office when working from home.
There are also other challenges associated with working from home. In most homes, space is at a premium. Unless you have a much larger house than you need, you might not have room to set up a proper office. There is also the issue of distractions. A house is full of distractions. Most of those distractions such as your dog that wants to play all day, are completely oblivious to your need for concentration. Your spouse will expect you to do things around the house since you will be there all day. And your kids do not really understand no matter how much you try to explain it.
That said, if you are going to achieve financial success as a small business owner, you will probably have to figure out how to convert a part of your living space into work space. Try these tips for making your home office a lot more like a real office for less money than you thought possible:
Set up a Cubicle at Home
You can shop at the same stores that provide the furnishings for the office park down the road. If your home work space is a little too open for your liking, you can set up a proper cubicle at home with one of those cubicle desks to go with it. This is an excellent solution for a large, open-plan home.
While you are working in your home cubicle, you will see fewer distractions and others in the house can see that you are in work mode. It also means that you don’t have to take over the guest room or the kitchen table to have a semi-private place where you can get work done. If you want to make your home feel like a real office, give it a real cubicle.
Get an Office Phone
You should own a second phone for work. Trying to do everything with one phone is to set yourself up for failure. This is especially true if your everything phone is also your personal smartphone. Many people say that they never use their smartphone as a phone. But your office phone needs to be useful as an actual phone. It does not need to also be your TV, music player, sketchbook, notepad, ruler, and game machine.
Your business phone needs to ring only when receiving a business call. Your best friend shouldn’t even have that number. Every time it rings, buzzes, or flashes, it should be because business has to be done. Every text or email is about business. Every app is for maximizing your productivity. If you want to have a real office at home, you need to have a real office phone. An extra phone and line with your cellular provider is very affordable for most budgets.
Itemize Your Taxes
One of the best ways to make your home office feel official is to do your bookkeeping such that it forces you to treat it that way. Itemize your taxes and write off the percentage of space you are using in your house. Write off the computer and printer you had to buy and use exclusively for your job. Keep receipts for your work lunches. Furthermore, keep the records as if you expect to be audited by the IRS. If you are a serious business person doing serious business from your home, none of this will be an issue for you. Your home office will become a real office when you file your taxes accordingly.
You can bring the office home with you by adding a work cubicle, getting a work phone, and keeping your home office books like a real professional.