Article written by Marissa Perez of businesspop.net
Many home-based women-owned business offices are never seen by clients and customers, especially with the advent and popularity of virtual meetings. However, some in-person meetings might be required, and as such, the look and feel of your office should convey a sense of professionalism. Here’s our tips on why having a nicely designed space ensures you have a business-like productive work area, and any major upgrades you make can simultaneously add to your home’s appraised value.
Separating Work and Home
While it’s not always possible, if you have the ability to put some distance between your home office and your family living space, it will help you maintain important boundaries. Choose a location on the opposite side of the living room or kitchen, and consider insulating it if necessary. Having privacy will be important for productivity, maintaining a professional image, and creating a healthy work/life balance. It will also signal to the rest of the household that when you are in the office, you’re working and should be left undisturbed.
Another way to differentiate your personal life and work life is to legally establish a business entity. Structuring your operation as an LLC, for example, assures that your business expenses don’t overlap personal expenses (and vice versa) and your personal assets are protected. Forming an LLC is as simple and streamlined as enlisting the help of ZenBusiness, an online formation service that walks you through the process and takes care of all the necessary paperwork for doing business in Texas.
Home offices for the female entrepreneur work best when they are designed as offices and not as “catch-all” family workspaces, guest rooms, or storage areas. According to Bench, this is especially important when it comes time to deduct home office expenses from your business income. Even office necessities can be depreciated over time. Your space should be outfitted with, at minimum, the basics for what you need to be effective. This includes desktop or laptop, printer, multiple screens, desk, task chair, and shelving and lighting.
Designing for Customers
When you have a business that sees clients onsite, designing your office to accommodate guests is important. You’ll want them to feel like they’re in an office environment and not in someone’s spare bedroom. Comfortable seating and a small conference table can make the space feel business-like. You might also install a large screen TV for reviewing presentations. Nice artwork, plants, and a coffee maker can give you the executive office look and feel. Equally important is keeping away pets and kids and ensuring house activity noises are at bay.
Staging for Virtual Meetings
Many people opt to use virtual backgrounds for Zoom meetings, but they can look a bit unnatural, which may be at odds with the professional image you’re no doubt trying to establish. According to the Science of People, presenting yourself in a virtual environment can be stressful for some individuals. To look your best on virtual platforms, position yourself with a neutral background, or a backdrop that’s not distracting. A few plants, a bookshelf, or a neutral piece of art can make for a good background; clothes draped over a treadmill does not. A ring light can also help ensure you look your best.
Depending on the types of changes you make to your home office, you could add to the appraised value of your home. Before and after pictures and tracking design costs can help you document the improvements. Alterations that can add value include new flooring, built-in cabinetry or solid wood bed frame, and even an exterior door that allows customers and clients to access your office without having to traipse through your house. This type of setup can be a big benefit when you sell your home. You’ll be able to advertise the property as having a home office/apartment with private entry.
Should You Move?
Of course, if your home doesn’t have enough space for the ideal home office, you might want to consider moving to a place that can better accommodate your needs. While the idea of moving can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be if you hire help. One of the first tasks on your moving to-do list should be finding a great moving company. To do that, search “local movers near me” online and pick out top-rated professionals in the search results. You may find that some local moving companies offer coupons, which can be a great way to save money and reduce stress during the moving process.
Female entrepreneurs’ home offices work best when they are designed with productivity in mind. Making your surroundings comfortable and professional will help you stay in a work frame of mind, as well as convey your professionalism to clients.