Run An Efficient Home Office

By Terry Thomas

Those of us who work out of our homes realize it’s a double edged sword.
Yes, we enjoy the freedom of a home-office ó no commuting and a totally
flexible schedule ó but it also means that we must budget our time, work
efficiently, and commit ourselves to working smart.

First of all, “home-business” does not necessarily mean “small” business
in terms of revenue. Many home-businesses are multi-million dollar
corporations. I run one from my home, IMC, Inc. It’s an import/ export
company which grosses over one million dollars in sales per year! Sure,
I have a separate warehouse, but the business is RUN from my home!

Operating from home isn’t always easy, but the benefits easily outweigh
the negatives. I’ve learned to work effectively from home and will share
the things I feel will enable you to get the most out of your home-based
business or office.

Create a separate room or area to be used exclusively for business ó If
you don’t have a basement, garage, or spare room, partition an area of
one room. Designate this as your “office”, and treat it as such. Don’t
use it for anything but work! More importantly, don’t go in there unless
you are going to “work”. Why? Because if you treat the office area as a
separate entity, you will be more productive. Make sure your family
members know it’s an “office” and is off limits! The more separate you
can make your office area, the better off you will be, and the more
professionally you can run.

Have a separate phone line installed ó This makes it easier for
customers to reach you and projects a professional image. A fax machine
is certainly a must for many businesses. You don’t need a separate phone
line. Use a telephone sharing device which automatically routes calls to
a phone, fax, or modem. These are readily available and eliminate the
need for costly phone lines. Of course, if you receive a high volume of
phone calls or faxes, you’ll need more lines. You might even want to
lease a multi-line phone system from the telephone company.

A personal computer is a must ó If not a necessity, it is a time and
money-saver to own and use a computer. Invest in the best one you can
afford that meets your needs. Prices are dropping every day and systems
are running for under $1,000. You’ll also need a printer capable of
printing legible correspondence especially if you want to create your
own brochures, ads, or high quality correspondence.

Arrange your furniture ó Make sure you have a desk that is large enough
to handle your needs, and a file cabinet or two for files. Most
importantly, get a good, comfortable chair. This can be your most
important office tool! Fatigue and many back and neck problems are
caused by cheaply made chairs.

Purchase or lease an office copier ó For many this may be out of the
question due to the numerous copy places in every community. But, if
copying is repetitive and halts work, consider if the time and money
saved offsets this expense. Get one that handles everyday copy needs.
Any larger jobs can still be done at your local print or copyshop.

Set up a regular work schedule ó All of us know we work our home
businesses all hours of the day and night. Still, set up some “business
hours”. If you’re going to have hours from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, then
stick to that schedule. Take normal breaks, including lunch. But, it is
important that you establish a regular habit of being “in the office” on
a set schedule that your customers are aware of. For the times you must
leave the office to make sales calls, run errands, or for other reasons,
make sure there is an answering machine or service to answer any
incoming calls, and that you return the calls as soon as you return. Be
certain that family and friends are aware of your regular “business”
hours. Ask them to respect that time. They should not expect you to be
“free” just because you are at home.

When you get up in the morning, act as if you are going to work! Shower,
get dressed and go to your office. Dressing like you are going to work
makes you will feel more like working and if you have customers or
vendors visiting, looks more professional.

Outfit your office as best you can within your budget. Treat it as a
business, and work regular hours. Your business or office may be at
home, but it is still an “office”! Treat it with the respect it

Terry Thomas is the President of TJT Publications and International
Marketing Connection, Inc. He has owned his own businesses since 1987
and publishes the innovative and provocative newsletter, Mail-Order
Marketing News. This newsletter provides a continuing education in mail
order, along with success tips, marketing strategies, and money-making
opportunities. For a FREE sample issue and mail order catalog, send 3
loose First Class Stamps, or $1.00 to: TJT Publications, P.O. Box 55685,
Valencia, CA 91385.

Originally Published at

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