Greetings From the Home-Based Office

Published | Written by Jerry Newman

Realtors like San Antonio Real Estate know a lot about running a business from home and even more about what kind of home is best for managing a business, taking both size and location into consideration. Here are some ideas they have for creating the safest and most inviting spaces for greeting guests into your home office.

 The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, started Amazon from a garage in a house he was renting in the suburbs of Seattle. We hear a story like that and it’s no wonder we want to own and manage our own company. And it’s not just Amazon—Hershey, Mary Kay, and even the Ford Motor Company all began as home-based small businesses. This is not to say yours will become a trillion or even billion-dollar conglomerate, but the appeal of having control over every aspect of your business is a siren song for anyone who’s dreamed of starting their own enterprise.

However, today’s entrepreneurs may benefit from the current, home-business friendly landscape, other difficulties must be addressed, difficulties that previous home startups did not. Apple, Ben & Jerry’s, and Walt Disney did not have to consider CDC rules for how to accommodate clients in the middle of a pandemic.

If your home is where you greet clients, customers, or vendors, you’ll have to consider their safety as well as your own.

Keeping a clean and uncluttered space is priority number one. If you find yourself too busy to keep things as neat and tidy as your clients expect, invest in a cleaning service. It’s not a luxury, it’s a legitimate business expense as much as your internet service is. To add another layer to that, keeping your environment free from the spread of Covid is something a professional service is better equipped to handle than you. In between those cleaning services, you’ll be responsible for ensuring the areas your clients will use are sanitized after each visit. Wipe down things like doorknobs, stair handrails, and chairs with disinfectant wipes. If your client used the restroom while visiting, wipe down all the surfaces they may have come in contact with. Keeping windows open, having masks available, and installing UV filters for the HVAC are important measures to take to prevent the spread of viruses.

Use natural lighting as much as possible by having drapes open to allow sunlight in and give the space a more open feel. That isn’t only for your office area, but for any part of your home that your guests will access. Proper lighting also helps to prevent accidents by giving everyone a full view of their surroundings. Tacking down rugs to avoid having them be tripping obstacles, as well as cords and wires being kept out of the way, are critical safety points that cannot be overlooked.

Your space should be as aesthetically pleasing as any office in a high-rise building, and in fact, it’s easier to make it even more so when your office is in your home. You can add some comfort touches to make your client feel more at ease as long as you don’t go overboard, after all, it is a business and not a coffee klatch. Having a plant or two is restful and can add an elegant look. Just be sure there are no brown or drooping stems and leaves since that gives the impression of neglect. For that same reason, the furnishings themselves should be free of stains or tears. Seating should be comfortable but easy to clean and maintain. Having interesting pieces of artwork on the wall that reflect your personality and your passion can be both a conversation starter and tell your clients a little more about you. Adding some interesting and clever pieces that define your business is smart, too. This is especially true if your meetings are virtual. Having a well-designed image of your company situated behind you during a call is a great marketing tool and a top-of-mind reminder of you and your company brand to all the other participants.

When possible, however, try to do as much offsite as possible. It isn’t necessary to bring your vendors in to see you when you can take care of a lot of those needs with online resources. You can easily design your own product labels with free tools that allow you to customize to your heart’s content. Take advantage of invoicing and payment software that reduces your need to have in-person contact. Yes, it does take away a bit of the personal touch, but what it lacks in that area, it more than makes up for in safety and productivity.

Having your own business can be a dream come true and running that business from your home can be equal parts ideal and challenging. Following common-sense practices in addition to workplace safety guidelines can help you navigate the sometimes smooth and often choppy seas of being the captain of your own ship.

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