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Working From Home – Successfully Organizing Your Workspace
Your Home Office Finances
If at all possible, having a completely separate room to use as an office is the best case scenario when working from home. Although it may be tempting to keep yourself “accessible” while working, the kitchen table obviously isn’t the best place to set up shop due to the high traffic that area of the home often receives.
An added benefit to having a home office is that workers in the U.S. will be able to deduct expenses from their federal income taxes, provided the workspace is separate from the rest of the home and used explicitly for their business. In other countries, rules about tax and home working may be very different. In the UK, for example, working in a home you own can have capital gains complications, so wherever you are, be sure to get some professional guidance on the financial aspects of having an office at home.
Work related supplies and expenses may also be deducted from your earnings for tax purposes. However, it really isn’t necessary to spend a fortune setting up your workspace, as long as you don’t buy an entire truckload of unnecessary items from the office supply store, which in essence, may actually hinder your ability to be truly organized.
Buying Your Office Supplies
Before buying anything at all, take a walk through your home looking for items you already have that could be used for storage and organizational purposes. Shoe and shirt boxes are perfect for keeping papers and envelopes neat and in one place, and glass jars of varying sizes or coffee mugs are great for storing smaller supplies such as paper clips, push-pins, rubber bands, or pens and pencils.
Choosing Your Home Office Space
If you don’t happen to have the luxury of turning an extra room into a home office, with a little creativity you can still organize the perfect place in which to work from home. A walk-in closet, a nook in the attic or basement, a sunroom or enclosed porch, or even the corner of a room closed off by decorative room dividers can be easily turned into the ideal workspace for many types of small business owners and work-at-home entrepreneurs.
An alternative you can think about is having your office outside. A garden office [http://www.gardens-and-decor.com/Garden-Office.htm] is a popular idea in the UK, and there can be many attractions to working outdoors in your own space, and once set up it can work very well.
Getting Organized Ready For Working in a Home Environment
Now that you’ve found the best place to do business, the next task is setting up the area so it’s most conducive to your type of work. The logical, and often most needed items you’ll need are shelves and filing cabinets. Floor-to-ceiling shelves are great for storing things that are seldom used on the higher shelves, while the lower ones can keep supplies organized and accessible. Short file cabinets also make excellent extensions to office desks, increasing the amount of work surface in the room.
When organizing your workspace at home, don’t forget the important aspect of having the proper lighting. Use enough light to reduce the risk of eye strain, and if you have the space, consider a desk lamp with an adjustable arm and a three-way bulb so you can better control the focus and amount of light needed. You’ll also want to ensure your area has enough electrical outlets, particularly if you’ll be using computer equipment, which is one of the essentials of running a successful business from home.
Having another computer, separate from the rest of the family’s use, is important for keeping your work files safe and properly organized. You may also need a dedicated phone line for your business, and a cordless phone or headset will allow for mobility while working. Invest in a fax machine if your work will require the exchange of documents to save yourself time and money on postage, and if your space is limited, there are several multi-function machines that combine printing, faxing, scanning, and copying all in one single piece of equipment.
With just a little planning, forethought, and some creative thinking, you can keep your workspace completely organized to ensure you’ll be as productive and successful as possible in all of your business endeavors.
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