There’s a misconception that people who work from home sit in front of the television, surf the web or lay around the house all day. In reality, the opposite is true. A home office filled with tasks to do, papers to handle and e-mails to answer is hard to ignore. Whether you’re running a full-time or part-time business from home, there are a few pitfalls you need to avoid:
- Not designating an area or a room in your home as a home office. It’s easier to manage your business from one place: a home office. Consider it “command central,” a place where you keep bills to pay, important papers, instruction guides and any other information you need to run your business efficiently. When you don’t have a specific place to house must-have information, you waste time looking for the information you need when you need it. In fact, a recent survey from Brother International Corporation, “P-touch Means Business,” revealed that an estimated 76 working hours per person each year are lost as a result of disorganization in the workplace.
- Working overtime. When the commute to your home office is only seconds instead of hours, it’s easy to work anytime or all of the time. Set reasonable hours every day – not only will your family thank you, your mind and body will thank you as well.
- Mistaking a work-at-home situation for a viable child-care solution. If you have an infant who naps all day, you’ll have time to cross a few tasks off your list. As your child grows, the time you’ll have available to work shrinks. Aside from hiring a sitter to stay with your child while you work or taking your child to daycare, you could set up a co-op where you and your friends trade babysitting duties. Another option is to schedule your workday around your kids. You may be more productive when you have a limited amount of time compared to when you have a full day committed to work.
- Taking the wrong equipment and furniture shortcuts. Some people spend more on furniture than they do on the equipment for their home office. If clients won’t be visiting your home office, you can put more of your money into a computer with plenty of memory and a high-quality printer. The Brother MFC-J615W all-in-one provides you with a printer, scanner, fax and copier in one machine. The machine also boasts a compact, modern design, so you’ll save space in your home office as well as money.
- Not being taken seriously by friends and family.When you’re working from home and every day is casual Friday, not everyone understands your work situation. Clearly explain to friends, family and neighbors that while you don’t drive to an office every day, you’re still working. They should understand and take you seriously instead of asking you to wait for the washer repair person to come by.
Managing a business takes plenty of patience, determination and hard work. When you take the time to set up a home office, manage your time and set boundaries, keeping everything under control is a bit easier.
Lisa Kanarek is one of the nation’s leading home office experts and the author of five books including, Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life and Home Office Solutions.A Brother spokesperson, she is the founder of HomeOfficeLife, a firm that advises corporations and individuals on all aspects of working from home and is founder of the blog WorkingNaked.com.