Setting Up Your Home Office
One major benefit of running your business from home is that you get to design it exactly how you like. For inspiration check out Pinterest or Houzz, and then when you’re ready you can design your own work space with RoomSketcher, or Floorplanner for 3D and 2D visuals of what your dream office will look like.
Here are some key things to think about when getting your home office set up:
Colour me happy
We all have our favourite colours, but perhaps you’ve never known how they can affect your performance in the workplace. Colour psychology describes the emotional and cognitive effects different colours have on a person, so yellow could be your favourite colour, but think of how it may make you feel if you cover an entire space in it.
Dedicating a space to your home office is a must, not only for the fun of designing it, but to also step away from your personal life. Creative adjustments can easily create a home office, so consider the clever ways you can combine storage and desk. Things like floating desks, building under a stairwell, or transforming a wardrobe or closet space into an office are little household sacrifices that can make a huge impact and use space effectively.
You can experiment with your floors, walls and seating space for storage potential. You may be able to turn benches and nooks into drawers or walls into shelves which you can store your business materials.
Feng shui is a Chinese concept that explores how spatial arrangement impacts energy flow. You may be interested in the theory and even get a few tips on arranging your office to avoid hours of desk shifting and placement.
- Desk location: Opt for the ‘power position’ and place your desk facing the main entrance to invite positive energy into the room. Sitting furthest away from the door is said to provide more power and keeps you away from daily household distractions.
- Clutter: In Feng Shui terms, clutter represents unfinished business. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything from your desk though, just enough to keep the essentials and focus. Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is a helpful guide to de-clutter and only keep the essentials.
Shed some light
Shedding the right light on your workspace will benefit your business so abandon the hospital lights and opt for something more natural. Sunlight and large windows are best so you can see the world, complemented by lamps with golden hues in the evening. If you are limited on windows, mirrors can also brighten up any room. Proper lighting is important as it prevents things like eyestrain, headaches and fatigue and can even improve efficiency up to 7.1%.
Sitting has been dubbed the new smoking, with the risk of spinal pain, heart disease and cancer linked to daily routines that encompass large periods of being stationary. Things like ‘text neck’ show we put up to 60 pounds (27 kgs) of pressure on our neck and back when tilting our head to look at things like a smartphone or computer screen.
Investing in a lumbar supportive chairs can help you avoid this. You may consider a standing desk, which can be adjusted to heights that suit you.
Green is good
Going green and decorating your office with plants is a natural way to enliven your work space. Workplace plants also increase productivity and well-being by as much as 50% with their ability to lower stress levels and reduce office pollution. Plants also lower heating and cooling costs for an office by up to 20% so the financial benefit is an added bonus!
As easy as it is to be swept up in the visual aspects of your home office, there’s also some important things to take care of when working from home.
Become a legal entity
Make sure you have an ABN and business name which are vital in legally operating your business. It will open you up to receive certain benefits from the government, including access to federal and state licenses and permits. If you don’t have one, you can register one with Honcho.
Registration and licenses
Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to apply for special licenses and council permits. This will involve you consulting your local council and ensuring you can legally and safely conduct your business from home.
Business Contact Details
To avoid having to share your home address and personal details with your clients and customers, set up separate communication lines.
- Business email: You can create professional email within Honcho “firstname.lastname@example.org”
- Business phone line: A separate number will let you keep track of call expenses for tax purposes, making it easier to differentiate between your personal calls.
- Business delivery address: If you’re uncomfortable with disclosing your home address, getting a PO Box or a CBD address will let you direct all work related deliveries to a non-personal address.
There are several types of insurance you may need depending on your business. Consider things like the amount of customers and suppliers you’ll have visiting your premises that you are liable for in case of an accident and insuring your home against things that can potentially interrupt business.
You’ll be able to deduct two types of expenses when working from home: running and occupancy. Running costs include electricity, printer materials, product supplies and phone costs. Occupancy expenses refer to rent, mortgage interest, insurance premiums and the council rates you may incur as a business operation from home. The ATO website provides more information on small businesses tax requirements and details the benefits you’re entitled to.