5 No-No's for Home Offices

Working at home presents a whole new host of challenges.  Sure you get to give up commuting and can work in your pajamas, but here are five things to do avoid when setting up a home office.

Don’t Use Your Living Room

With wireless internet allowing you to work anywhere in the house, don’t work in your kitchen or living room.  Set aside a dedicated area for your home office.  Sitting on a couch in the living room or at the kitchen table is convenient, but will hurt your back and neck eventually.  It’s also more difficult to get motivated to get work done in this environment, and interruptions make it difficult to concentrate.  Make sure you have a rolling chair with good back support, there are plenty of options available even if you’re setting up a home office on a budget.

Don’t Allow Interruptions

Hopefully you have an area where you can shut the door.  Consider turning a guest room or den into a home office where you can keep your office out of harm’s way and keep your electronics and files away from kids and pets.  The first time your dog chews the cord to your laptop, you’ll appreciate this advice.

Don’t Use Your Home Phone

Make sure you have a dedicated phone line or cell phone for your home office.  There’s nothing like an interrupted conference call from your daughter’s boyfriend on call waiting to make you look unprofessional.  You don’t always want to advertise the fact you’re working from  home, so you need the phone answered professionally or a professional sounding voicemail at all times. 

Don’t Cut Corners on Child Care

If you are working at home, you can’t care for young children at the same time.  At least one of the two, your work or your child, will not get adequate attention.  It’s one thing if it’s a one-time deal with the child home sick from school, but not making child care arrangements is going to keep you from getting your business off the ground or your work will suffer.

Don’t Neglect Décor

You can easily put together a home office setup with proper furniture and accessories by buying used office furniture and hitting yard sales for budget buys.  A more professional home office will be a more motivating work environment, and will also allow you to have meetings or clients in if the need arises.

Although it’s tempting to take your laptop into a corner and declare it a home office, take the extra step to plan out a home office with proper furniture and décor to make it a motivating, convenient and comfortable work area.