How to Work from Home without a Dedicated Office
Working from home is far more affordable and convenient than renting an office. But if you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to your small business, it may prove difficult to maintain a professional work environment. Here are a few strategies for making the space you do have work for you.
- Carve out space. You may not have an entire room to dedicate to an office, but can you convert a corner or closet into one? Your bedroom — perhaps the quietest, most private area of your home — may be the best candidate. Tip: If you start finding it tempting to nap instead of work, divide the room with a curtain or standup screen.
- Work when no one else is home. A family or roommates can make it nearly impossible to concentrate on work, especially when there's no door separating your office from, say, the kitchen or living room. Schedule your workday to start as soon as the rest of the household leaves and to end when they return home. Catch up on unfinished tasks after others have gone to bed. If there’s rarely a time when you have the house to yourself, set “quiet hours” or work off-site at a library or in another relatively tranquil public place.
- Purchase a portable workstation. If it makes sense for you to move your work from room to room, buy a desk that travels with you. Look for a lightweight mobile workstation with wheels that you can maneuver easily around the house to find a quiet place to work. Give your cell (not your home) phone number to clients and prospects: It travels with you — and you can turn it off when you don't wish to be disturbed.
- Use a laptop and cloud storage. If you don’t have a fixed workspace at home, it doesn’t make sense to buy a desktop computer. Instead, purchase a laptop, which you can tote around the house and to coffee shops and other locales. In lieu of a filing cabinet, consider cloud data-storage options such as Google Docs and Dropbox, which you can access anywhere there’s internet access.
Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.