Resources And Ideas That May Help You Run Your Business From Home
Today’s office is not necessarily located in an industrial park, strip mall, or glitzy city high rise.
An increasing number of us are working remotely from home, a shift that is leading to changes in how people interact with employees and connect with their customers and clients.
If where you live is now becoming where you do most if not all of your work, there are several critical things you will need in order to maintain your productivity.
In this article you will find several ideas and recommended resources for working remotely, whether just during COVID-19 or if it becomes your new norm.
Make a Dedicated Workspace in Your Home
Working remotely from home is as much a mindset as it is a practical state of being.
Most likely, you are conditioned by a particular environment at your workplace. When you sit at your desk, for instance, it primes you to get into a work mode and stay productive. By the same token, your couch, your bed, or a chaise longue in the sun are more conducive to relaxation and not productivity.
Given this fact of human nature, it is important to take some time to carve out a particular space where you will do your work at home. It could be an entire room with a door that closes, which is especially useful if you have an active household and need both privacy and quiet time to focus.
If that isn’t an option in your home, at least find a dedicated location where you can safely spread out your materials, have confidential conversations on a dedicated phone, and a place that family members will respect when they see you sit there. You want to create a space that the moment you sit at, you can start to focus and get into that work-mode mentality.
Invest in a Comfortable and Supportive Chair
Nothing is more distracting than back pain, and sitting for hours in an uncomfortable chair is a sure way to bring it on.
It is not the least bit frivolous to take the time to find a place to sit that is ergonomically sound. You could invest thousands of dollars in the latest and greatest customizable office chair, spend your shift vertically at a standing desk, or supplement your existing chair with a lumbar support pillow.
Whatever you do, make sure that your sitting posture is one of your top priorities. You will be glad you did.
Put Together a Remote-Work Toolkit
Because this new style of doing your job is unfamiliar, your best strategy is to compile an arsenal of helpful items and techniques that can make the transition easier and maximize your chances of success.
Since one of the biggest challenges inherent in remote jobs is getting and staying organized, we recommend that you invest in programs, and written materials geared toward the novice remote employee.
Consider diving deeply into the following work enhancers:
• JotForm: An easy to use online form-builder with built-in collaboration capabilities.
• Slack: An instant messaging platform that also allows you to share screens and files, make voice calls and collaborate with team members from anywhere at any time.
• Google Drive: A platform that allows you to store and share documents and collaborate in real time.
If you still love old-school calendars, consider purchasing a new day planner to help you prioritize tasks. There are also numerous apps available on your smartphone that can assist you in this regard.
Whatever you choose, be diligent about populating your toolkit each morning with what needs to be done and marking a job as completed when you have finished it. When you finally close your laptop at the end of the day, you will be rewarded with visual proof of your productivity.
Protect Yourself by Investing in Data Security
Although you might not be in a physical office, modern technology makes it possible for you to safeguard your valuable data and confidential customer information from criminals and other hackers.
If you are employed by a larger firm or business, your remote system will most likely already be equipped with an entire suite of firewalls, encryption, monitoring tools, and threat detectors. If that isn’t the case for you or your employees, an excellent piece of small business advice is to obtain disk encryption software, such as 7 Zip or Mac OSX’s Disk Utility [expand list].
Protect your data from loss with a backup program such as Backblaze [expand list], and keep unauthorized users from gaining entrance into your network with a password protection program such as 1Password along with two-factor authentication.
Cyber threats are a real danger, especially when working from home.
Have a Natural Light Shine Into Your Work Space
Studies show the benefits of natural light. That’s why most modern office buildings are equipped with lots of windows and skylights to let the sunshine in.
Unfortunately, your home may not be blessed with these features. Don’t despair; you can purchase a white light therapy lamp that mimics sunlight in your dedicated workspace. Anything that can combat drowsiness and enhance your mood is indispensable in your domestic workplace.
Reduce Any External Noise With Noise Reducing Solutions
Between the sounds of the additional people inside your home and all of the other noises that go on all day in residential neighborhoods, it can be quite noisy at times.
Fortunately, an inexpensive set of noise-canceling headphones can block out most of these auditory distractions, replacing them with a peaceful bubble of silence.
Protect Your Eyes and Combat Screen Glare
Staring at a computer screen all day doesn’t just hurt your neck and back; it can give you serious headaches as well. Consider stepping away from your laptop periodically to rest your eyes. Another solution is to purchase a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
If wearing glasses is not comfortable for you, you can purchase inserts that go right on top of your laptop or computer monitor to help reduce the blue light. Any or all of these measures may be expected to reduce the likelihood of a serious headache and might even enable you to concentrate more fully.
Provide Yourself With a Comfortable Climate
What you look at is not the only factor that affects how you feel in your home workspace. You may also experience negative productivity working from home if you are too hot or cold or if the air is excessively dry or stuffy.
Think about the temperature and the nature of the air in your home office. If necessary, consider controlling the climate by purchasing a space heater, room air conditioner, humidifier, or essential oil diffuser to make the room into a place where you actually want to be.
Generally, having a work environment that is cooler can lead to more productivity compared to a warmer workspace.
Stay Focused By Maintaining Proper Hydration
You probably already know the importance of drinking those all-important eight to ten glasses of water per day. However, a busy workday can cause you to forget everything you ever knew about what is best for your physical health.
Make drinking water a priority by purchasing a gallon-sized bottle that you fill each morning and set at your desk.
Over the course of your workday, make it a point to transfer all of those ounces from that bottle into your body where they are needed. Best of all, hydrating yourself will force you to leave your seat periodically to make those necessary bathroom visits, which serves to stretch stiff muscles, get your blood moving and rest your eyes.
Just Like Hydration, You’re Going to Need Healthy Snacks
If you think that the office fridge and coffee pot were a temptation, just wait until you work from home.
There is no end to the siren calls coming from your oven, fridge, and stove. Combat the urge to binge on carb-heavy foods that will make you sleepy by keeping nutritious snacks by your side.
Apple slices, carrot sticks, and trail mix all provide nourishment without requiring you to break your focus or time.
Add Plants to Your Home Work Environment
People tend to be happier and more productive in environments where there are green plants. Even if you have a history of killing anything you try to cultivate, it’s still worth investing in a couple of indoor plants to keep by your new home workspace.
Head to your local nursery and ask for a few plants that are hardy and low-maintenance. You can make caring for your plants a part of your morning break.
Keep Your Office Supplies Handy in Your Work-From-Home Space
You might be working from your own address, but you still need the supplies of a standard office. Invest in each of the following for yourself and/or your employees: a shredder, a printer with scanning capability, envelopes, stamps and stationery. Keeping items organized and well-stocked is just as important in a home office as it would be at a traditional office.
Have Finances Available to Invest in Proper WFH Necessities
As you endeavor to set up your home office, people will give you all sorts of small business advice. Most likely, however, they will neglect a critically important piece: money. Establishing your new work space will probably require a certain amount of funding, especially if you need to invest in a computer, software and hardware for either yourself or each of your employees.
If you need a hand with procuring this home-office investment, Expansion Capital Group can help. Since our founding, we have helped thousands of entrepreneurs to get the money they need easily, quickly and with minimal paperwork.
Don’t let these difficult times keep you from affording the at-home office environment you require. We are here to help you get those things necessary to enhance your productivity and achieve your business goals.
About Expansion Capital Group
Expansion Capital Group (ECG) is headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD. ECG is a technology-enabled specialty lender that leverages data and analytics to offer customized solutions for small businesses. Since its founding in 2013, ECG has provided approximately $400 million in working capital to over 12,000 small businesses throughout the United States.