Creating a Client-Worthy Home Office

With the number of home offices rising year after year, the design of these spaces is constantly getting improved and upgraded. The point of such an office is to give you a productive place to work, but also make an area for meeting the clients as well. An office will reflect your work habits and clients will pay attention to every detail in order to get a picture of your professional skills. The true challenge lies in dealing with shared space and being productive, and these are the things a good office can help you with. Achieving all of that in a place where you also live can be quite tricky, but there are a few simple rules you need to follow in order to make everything work.

Choose just one area

When welcoming clients into your office, it’s important to be able to separate everything else going on in the rest of your home. Firstly, choose a space that’s far away from the living room, because that’s usually the loudest room in the house. Apart from that, talk to your family or roommates, explain your delicate situation to them, and ask them to be quiet when you’re having meetings.

This space should be dedicated to your work only, and you should keep all the distractions outside. If you don’t have a spare room in your home, choose a quiet area and set your office there. Just make sure you have privacy, especially if you’re stuck with an open space.

Be professional straight away

Your front porch and the hallway will be the first things your clients are going to see, so try to make these clean and simple. When it comes to the outdoor area, always keep your porch clutter-free and add some plants to bring in a dose of nature into the picture. Be sure to have secure and sturdy entrance doors because that will show everyone your style and personality in a matter of minutes.

Keep the space from the entrance to your office clean and stylish, because you’ll have to walk with your clients through the house. Don’t put away your personal belongings because your clients will appreciate you more if you have pictures, travel memorabilia and personal items displayed in the hallway.

Provide comfortable seating

The seating area for your clients should be divided into two parts to make it work for different types of meetings. One should be right next to your desk and you can choose between comfortable and ergonomic chairs. That way, you’ll be able to work over some strategies on your laptop and deal with the paperwork. In addition to that, you can add a cozy sofa which will be great for brainstorming and going through different ideas.

By breaking the seating area into two sections, you’ll be able to meet everyone’s wishes and provide them with enough comfort, and your clients will cherish how you’ve thought of everything. Your desk and chair should be comfortable and positioned in the center of the office because you need to be able to work and function throughout the room when you have meetings.

The space should reflect the business

An organized space is one thing, but you’ll take everything to a whole new level if you opt for styling your office in accordance with the type of your business. For example, if you’re in the real estate business, you could hang pictures of modern houses and apartments, or showcase successful sales you’re proud of.

On the other hand, if you are a marketing guru, you can add a whiteboard to be able to show your clients some of the ideas you have for them. It’s important to connect the style of your home to your business, because that will show your professional side as well as your wish to always be productive.

Add some color

You should definitely forget the “office beige” and focus more on finding some color combinations that will help your productivity. One option is to use vibrant colors to boost the productivity level and combine this with some subtle décor.

On the other hand, many people like to use soft hues such as orange, green and blue, because these are both professional and playful, and can be combined with different types of furniture. However, if you want more style, you can use wallpapers and choose different types of patterns and prints.

When designing your own home office, make it inviting and professional, and create a balance you and your clients will love. They need to feel comfortable, but also know that you’ll do a good job and make your collaboration successful. Although it may seem like a lot of work for a home office, this is also a working area, and it should reflect all the abilities of your business. In the end, make sure you’re inspired because working from home has its advantages, but you’ll always struggle with trying to be productive.

Emma B. Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.

Staying Fit And Productive When You Work From Home

Working from home has an astonishing potential for increasing productivity, with telecommuters more likely to go above and beyond expectations, while taking shorter breaks and fewer sick days. Those who work from home claim that they find it easier to concentrate and have more energy throughout the workday. However, getting the most out of your time requires you to come up with a schedule and set of practices that allow for the greatest output. Staying fit and healthy ensure that you retain the mental energy required to excel, whether as an employee or when running your own business.

When and how to take breaks

At a traditional office job, you may be assigned a set time to take a break. This could be a legal requirement or an attempt by your boss to boost productivity. At home, it can be tempting to skip breaks and get through everything as quickly as possible. However, this will ultimately lead to you working more slowly.

Regular breaks help the brain to focus when in work mode. You should ideally take a 5-10 minute break each hour. During this time, give your eyes a rest by looking at something in the distance and get your blood flowing with some moderate exercise. You’ll return to work refreshed and energized.

Maintaining energy levels

Staying healthy, while a good aim in itself, is essential for productivity. Start the day right with a healthy breakfast. Oats, fruit and low-fat proteins like eggs or yogurts offer slow release energy, which will keep you feeling full throughout the day so that you can spend less time eating and more time focusing on business. Tiredness slows down your reaction speed and ability to concentrate on and complete tasks, so a trip to the coffee machine for a cup of joe before you sit down to work is recommended.

Throughout the workday, choose healthy snacks such as seeds, nuts, protein bars, and fruit. This will leave you feeling full and won’t lead to a crash in energy levels later on in the way that sugary snacks do. Also be sure to keep a bottle of water on your desk, as hydration aids concentration and reduces fatigue.

Protecting your posture

Sitting for hours at a time isn’t good for your health and certainly isn’t what humans evolved for. Invest in an ergonomic chair and desk so that you aren’t putting any strain on your body as you work. You should consider working while standing up if you feel that you are sitting for too long at a time. When you are in brainstorming mode, walk around your house to keep muscles moving and blood flowing. This will stimulate your creative juices and prevent the onset of bodily aches and pains.

Working from home is the best thing you can do for productivity, but it requires some thought and discipline. Start the day right with a morning routine that involves a healthy breakfast, then take regular breaks throughout the day. Moderate exercise keeps energy levels high and prevents muscular pain which can harm productivity. Follow these tips to reach your potential each and every day.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Keeping Remote Employees Happy And Productive

Keeping your online team happy, engaged, and productive doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, two-thirds of managers say their employees actually become more productive once they go remote, SurePayroll reveals. Being in control of their own schedule — and eliminating the daily commute — gives remote employees more time and flexibility, which increases motivation and productivity. However, remote teams still require conscientious management. You want them to feel valued and part of the team even though they’re not on-site. With the following tips, you can cultivate a happy, engaged, and successful online team.

Communicate effectively

Communication is key in every aspect of business — and online teams are no exception. In fact, poor communication is one of the prime reasons employees get frustrated in their jobs. It also leads to feelings of isolation which means employees are less likely to contribute to the team. The solution? Effective communication channels. Let your team know which situations require video chats or phone calls and which situations can be dealt with via online chat. Email is still useful, but not always ideal as messages can be missed. With online chat, team members can instantly ask questions and get answers if they need guidance. This is great for productivity since they’re able to continue with their work right away rather than having to hang around for an email response.  

Define expectations and goals

Although they’re not in the same building as you, remote employees need the same amount of guidance and direction as you give you regular ones. In order to encourage your online team to work efficiently and independently, you need to be clear on the specifics of their working arrangement. Defining the expectations you have for your remote team — preferably with them being mutually agreed upon — will help your employees stay on track with their work. This also includes explaining your mission and goals for the company. Your remote team will therefore feel included in the company culture, but be comfortable and efficient working elsewhere.

Recognize great work

If your remote team does great work, make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed! Failing to give positive feedback where due can leave employees feeling undervalued and even increase your turnover risk. Appreciating exceptional work can motivate your team to maintain that standard. You can also use bonuses or raises as an incentive. It can help to make the recognition public on company-wide channels, so your other employees are informed about the valuable work the remote team does each day. Your online team will then continue confident their hard work is going noticed and appreciated.

A productive online team can be a huge asset to your business, so make sure you take the steps to make yours the best it can be. While creating an engaged and motivated group of remote employees can be a challenge, once you put the above appropriate systems into place, it’s more than possible to achieve. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll soon have a motivated, engaged, and high-functioning remote team.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

3 Types of Utilities You Want to Schedule Regular Maintenance on for Your Business

Maintaining your business property requires regular attention throughout the year. While you may take numerous and regular steps to avoid serious repair issues and to promote the quality of your workplace, you may be overlooking the importance of utility maintenance. Your business likely relies heavily on access to electricity, water, and even gas, and these utilities require periodic maintenance in order to keep them functioning well in the years to come. A closer look reveals why these maintenance services are essential.

Electricity Service

If you do not think about calling an electrician unless an issue arises, you are not alone. However, electrical system maintenance should not be overlooked. This type of maintenance work may involve testing the existing system and identifying problem areas that require attention. Through electrical work, serious repair issues may be thwarted. Keep in mind that these issues may otherwise result in accessibility issues or even electrical fires in some instances when they are not identified and repaired as soon as possible.

Water Service

Regardless of the type of business that you run, the ability to access fresh water and to dispose of wastewater efficiently is essential. Any water service issues may result in water damage, sewer damage, an interruption of business activities and more. This type of maintenance service may include looking for small and hidden leaks, repairing minor issues that may be easy to overlook, clearing drains and pipes and completing other similar tasks.

Gas Service

While some commercial properties do not use gas, many properties do have a gas line running through the ground and leading into the structure. Gas lines may run through the building’s walls to a heating system, a water heater, a commercial kitchen, and other areas. Gas maintenance service usually includes an inspection of the main gas line and other gas pipes as well as all connections to identify leaks. Even a minor gas leak can have dangerous consequences and should be fixed immediately.

Some issues with utilities may be easy to identify, but others may remain hidden from the property owner or tenant for weeks or months. Many issues with utilities may result in significant property damage and even physical harm to you, your employees and your customers. If you have not serviced your utilities recently, now is the ideal time to schedule maintenance. Remember to add this type of property maintenance to your annual schedule so that you do not overlook it in the future.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

Smart Space Management: Transform Your Home into a Proper Working Environment

Home trumps work any day of the week. So, logically a home office has more benefits than any other working environment. There is no commuting, no boss watching your every move, and balancing professional and private life is a breeze. Setting up an office at home may seem difficult, but with careful planning and research, you can save up money, increase productivity, and in the long run, be much happier with your job.

Things to Consider

When deciding the place of your future home office there are a couple of things worth considering. The space needs to be isolated from the rest of the home, and generally in a less active part of the house. This will significantly minimize distractions, since you want to focus on your job, and separate home and work hours. Also, your personal requirements and affiliations, as well as the nature of your work will guide the decision making process. So, creating a workshop next to the dining room, probably wouldn’t be the best solution, or having the office next to the laundry room.

Setting up Shop

Conserve space by changing the purpose of less frequently used rooms in the house and turn them into your home office. Storage rooms like the attic, basement, and garage can be easily transformed into a spacious, insulated working environment. Another way to go is to make a dual-purpose room. An extra guest room, and even the dining room are great due to their infrequent use. And by making small adjustments to the furniture, like adding pull-out couch, or getting a larger dining room table, you can have re-furbish the room to accommodate all your needs. Also, it is possible to find appropriate appliances online, like small fridge, which can complete the office design.

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Office Comfort

Comfort is the main idea behind a stay-at-home office. Consider that you might put in long hours in front of the desk, so buy a chair that is enjoyable, but also drives you to work. Depending on the work, a desk should inspire and be able to handle all the tools of your trade (computer, printer, books, paper, etc.). Apart from being comfortable, your furniture should also be ergonomic. The chair should support your back, and have enough height, so your arms are parallel to the desk. And by borrowing, buying secondhand or re-purposing furniture, you can cut costs and invest in other aspects of your business.

feng shui office desk Luxury Ways To Feng Shui Your Desk

Light up Work

Your office should also have plenty of light. A well-lit room will make for an efficient working environment that is motivational, but also healthy. Utilize natural light sources as much as possible, whenever possible. By positioning the desk next to the window, so that the light hits you from the right-hand side, you will get the greatest amount of light, decrease shadows on your work area, and tone down outside distractions. Although natural light is great, it is in short supply. Although many rooms have an overhead light, a desk lamp should be an essential at your work station. Combining it with other light sources will mean that your work space is always well-lit and you don’t exert your eyes.

Break Time

Depending on space, create a relaxing comfy zone within the office. This will enable you to think, research, read, and plan, when you are not actively working. The corner will also provide a great break area. Get yourself a comfy armchair, or a couch, and soft rug will feel great on your feet when you take your shoes off. You should also include a lamp and a coffee table for those serene coffee breaks.

Office Storage

Storage is an issue with any office, so be sure to get creative and organized. Big stacks of paper, files, and office supplies, are not very inspirational, and the best way to removed them from sight is to put them into a closet. Another great trick to minimize office clutter is to store the non-essentials in a different room, such as a basement. On the other hand, keep the essential documents near you, by putting up shelves and storing them there.

In the end, the home office tops a regular cubical any day, so make it an enjoyable and motivational working area. And if you do it right, you will save money and nerves, manage your own hours, and ultimately be your own boss, working from the comfort of your own home.

Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

 

 

What Is Slowing Down Productivity In Your Business?

So, here’s the thing. If you aren’t getting through your working day effectively, with tasks still remaining at the close of your business hours, then there may be an issue around productivity. This isn’t too much of a problem if those tasks aren’t a priority, but if deadlines aren’t being met, if targets aren’t being reached, and if you have a mounting workload piling up on your desk at the start of each day, then you and your business will have problems.

In short, productivity is key, and you need to figure out what may be slowing down your working day. Where do we start?

First of all, let’s consider your office space. If the area is cluttered, if you struggle to find what you need when you need it, and if there are other issues – lack of storage being one – then you won’t work efficiently. You need to make the most of your office space, and the ideas we presented to you here, design-and-storage-tips-to-make-the-most-of-your-small-office/ may be just what you need to improve matters.

Another issue is your workflow management. You may have too much work to do. You may get bogged down with tasks that take you away from the important things you need to focus your time on. And you may be working on areas of your business that you aren’t fully equipped to manage. Therefore, you need to find ways to manage the work you have to do each day, speeding up processes and alleviating your burdens. There are a number of ways you can manage this. You can take on less work for starters, even if you do have to disappoint a client occasionally. You’re only human after all, and you can’t do everything. You might also automate your business processes, using the software tools presented to you here, bpmonline.com/l/bpm/definition/business-process-automation to free up your time to concentrate your efforts elsewhere. And you might consider outsourcing, handing over the jobs that take up too much of your time over to people who may be able to do them better than you.

Then think about your work ethic. Could you be the problem? Is productivity at a minimum because of your behaviour? You may be taking one too many breaks. You may be spending more time in front of your smartphone screen instead of your computer screen. You may spend more time making ‘to do’ lists than actually doing any of the tasks on them. You may be doing any number of things that are slowing down your productivity at work. The productivity tools listed here, iqvis.com/blog/6-productivity-tools-apps may be just what you need to get you back on track.

Finally, perhaps you are just tired. If you have worked long hours, if you do have too much work to do, and if you’re not spending enough time in rest, then you are going to get exhausted. Once your body and mind feel the effects of exhaustion, you are going to work slower. Give yourself a break once in a while, follow our tips to alleviate your workload, and make sure you get plenty of sleep to give you time to fully energise yourself, both physically and mentally.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Design and Storage Tips to Make the Most of Your Small Office

Working in a small office doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort and space. If you organize everything according to your needs, you’ll be able to achieve all your tasks easily. The true secret behind being successful in a small office is in using every corner you have – by giving every inch a purpose, you can transform even the smallest office into a proper work area. It will provide you with enough storage space and different zones for every part of the working process. Keep in mind that most startups were created and ran from crowded rooms or basements, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do the same.

The color psychology

Even though you may think that plain white walls are the best solution, there’s more to that than you think. You’d be surprised with the effect that green and blue have when it comes to productivity and efficiency. These two restful colors can really boost the creativity in the office and help you tackle more tasks.

You should avoid white, beige, purple and gray because they can seriously affect your mood and even create some gloomy feelings. During working hours, you don’t want anything less than full productivity, which is why you should stay away from bright colors because they have a tendency of being disruptive.

Choose the furniture wisely

Every piece of furniture needs to be carefully picked because you’ll have no room to spare. For starters, you’ll need some comfortable office chairs and practical desks. Apart from that, if you work with clients, you’ll need an additional seating area for meetings. To avoid crowding up the space, just add two additional chairs to your desk and you’ll be able to work and have a meeting at the same time.

Working with tight space means you need to be creative when it comes to furniture, so foldable desks are all right, while those large L-shaped ones are definitely not. You don’t have room for huge furniture and everything needs to have a real purpose, not just an aesthetical one.

Think about storage

The best way to be sure you’ve utilized all the space you have is by thinking beyond the common storage space options. Many people use vertical spaces for additional storage units, and this can be a solution for small offices. Besides giving you more space to work with, these units can be a great way of keeping items close to your reach. Apart from that, you can always use your desk and add additional drawers around it which will come in handy for all your documents.

You can also use storage units to fill in the empty space beneath the window, behind the door or underneath a coffee table. It goes without saying that decluttering goes hand in hand with creating designated storage spaces. You need to throw away everything you don’t plan on using and make room for the things you’ll actually need.

Get organized

Keeping everything organized starts from your desk, and it needs to be impeccable! Create different zones to be able to keep track of every step of your working process instead of feeling lost. If you’re dealing with lots of papers, use binders to keep them separate and all in one place.

It’s inevitable to always struggle with the lack of space, so try to use the additional seating area to make phone calls, drink coffee or schedule meetings. That way, you won’t be distracted from the actual work and will always know where everything is. Also, use modern technology, start going paperless and stop piling up so many documents – maybe you don’t really need them at all and you just waste time and space on storing them.

Small spaces can be turned into the most functional and inspiring offices if you use a little bit of imagination. You don’t need a large office to be productive and finish all your tasks on time when you can do the same in a much smaller space. Being a successful entrepreneur is more than having a cool office – it’s all about finding the strength and willingness to work in any kind of conditions. Only the people who manage that end up running the most successful businesses.

Emma B. Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.