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Posts Tagged ‘home office’

Three Ways to Organize Your Home Office

Sure, as freelancers our home office is often the nearby Starbucks but in many times it’s our living room. Although office dwellers may learn a tip or two from this post as well, here are three ways to organize the home office…

1. Invest in adequate furniture. This goes without saying. Keeping in mind you’ll need adequate space for said furniture but everything should have its own space like a spot for reference materials, a filing cabinet and oh yes, a printer.

2. Establish activity centers. According to a post on HGTV, an office should have different zones. As for the work center, well it should include a clear workspace, the computer and office products. Then of course, there’s the reference center which encompasses binders, manuals, and various professional books. Lastly, the supply center contains office supplies and paper.

3. Properly place the hardware and peripherals. This pointer makes sense but how many times have you realized you use a certain spiral notebook for notetaking or tape recorder for phone interviews only to realize they’re never within hands reach? As recommended in the piece, position your equipment by frequency. For instance, if you use your printer on a daily basis, ensure it’s within reach. However, if it’s only used once or twice a month, you can hide it under a desk so it’s out of sight, out of mind.

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Four Reasons Why Freelancers Should Get an Office

Switching things up, instead of leveraging a job search this post is devoted to fellow freelancers who are focused on productivity. Sure, people with office jobs have the daily grind and structure of a day job, not to mention office space but for freelancers things are a little (okay, a lot) different.

A functional home office is key in terms of having space devoted to working instead of lounging on a couch, the same destination for watching American Idol. Yes, a home office is cost-effective but according to Amy Levin-Epstein and her post on CBS Money Watch, she explained that renting space outside the home is affordable and more productive than working from home.

First of all, in the piece she pointed out a writer she interviewed gave kudos to office space for the main reason of networking. You know, having people interaction during the day: “I like the interaction/working with other freelancers, and I like the programming they offer for freelancers.” For instance, on Wednesdays the source attends “lunch pad” whereby entrepreneurs share a communal salad and dish about their experiences.

As for another reason, a communications consultant told Levin-Epstein it gets her out of the house, makes her more productive, and gives her a sense of a professional community. “I found when I worked at home that I felt too isolated and not a part of the working world. I rent a cubicle at Brooklyn Writers Space. It’s so easy to rent a flexible and affordable space these days, at least in New York City. This was one of the most affordable options — I pay $360 a quarter.”

Getting out of the house and into a work environment, some may argue, can make you more productive. A California-based PR consultant told Levin-Epstein her income has grown since she branched out with an actual office. “I can make more money because when I am at the office, I am totally focused on getting work done.”

And let’s not even think about the fridge being merely 10 feet away at home. Another PR consultant informed Levin-Epstein he rents shared office space in Boston and an extra perk is not having instant access to food 24/7. This way, he leaves his 500-square foot apartment and gets to interact with clients and network on his $99 per month part-time membership plan. Plus, he added, “It also helps me stay focused and avoid snacking all day.”

Want Flextime? Write a Business Proposal

That 9-to-5 workday seems so rigid. Especially now that people have laptops, smart phones, iPads, and other tools to do their job at anytime of the day. So why do companies insist you work in the office during that eight-hour stretch?

Well, they shouldn’t. And more and more companies have loosened the rules a bit to allow workers to spend part of the day at home. But how do you convince your employer, who doesn’t currently have many flextime options, to allow you to work from home, at least part of the day? CNNMoney’s Anne Fisher says build a business proposal.

First, make the case that working flexible hours won’t damage your productivity — and may even improve it.

…So start by marshalling some supporting evidence. The Towers Watson 2010 Global Workforce study mentioned above, for instance, says that people who work off-site some of the time are just as productive (41%) as their deskbound colleagues, or more so (47%). Only 11% of those 20,000 poll respondents said that flextime damages productivity. (1% had no opinion.)

Once you have established that other companies have had little problem with flextime workers then start predicting your bosses concerns. If you have regular afternoon meetings, let the boss know you will listen in via Skype or explain how people can contact you when they have a tight deadline.

“In short, the more details you can provide on how this would work, the more willing your boss may be to let you give it a try,” writes Fisher.

Of course, once you get the flextime, make sure you show the boss that s/he made the right decision. People just like looking right.

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