Are you curious about how other small business professionals run their day to day businesses from home? Perhaps you’re nosy like me and you’d love to take a peek into someone else’s home office, to see how the office is set up and why. Maybe you’re looking for tips for your own home office setup, and wouldn’t mind inspiration from real people, not just designer showrooms.
If that sounds like you, read on! We’ll highlight the top tips for creating a home office you’ll love. We’ll also share real home office photos from real small business professionals just like you. A big thanks to everyone who sent in a photo of their home office to share.
Pro Tips to Consider When Creating Your Home Office Setup
Crystalynn Shelton, FitSmallBusiness
If you are a sole proprietor or a single-member LLC and use a portion of your home for business, then you could be eligible for a home office tax deduction that could significantly lower your tax bill. Click here to read our article on home office tax deduction.
Pablo Fuentes, CEO, Proven
I have worked in my backyard almost every day since we have been remote. Most of the time it’s really peaceful….if for some reason there is gardening or other noise, I just put on headphones and I am in the zone. Just being surrounded by greenery and natural light can give you energy and help you get things done.
I don’t sit well. I find that if I sit in my office, I become uncomfortable while working. As such, I struggle to write with focus, and I start to feel neck and back tension. I’ve learned that I need to alternately sit and stand during the day. I often start the day standing at a standing station in my office; then, I might move to a Pilates ball or a wobble chair that I can adjust for my standing station or for a traditional desk. Typically, by evening, I’m ready to sit and can adjust my monitors, remove the standing station and, voila, I can sit and work like most other people.
If you’re going to be sitting in your home office for several hours a day, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself by investing in a good chair. Click here to see our recommendations. You can also check out our top tips on picking an office chair.
Carrie Sharpe, Communication Consultant and Speaker, He Says, She Says
It’s important to find an office space in your home that works for you and your family, and can be personalized to fit your interests and work needs. Most of my work is online and with clients via Skype or FaceTime. I also homeschool our five children. I chose to make my office in our bedroom because it’s near our living room, where our children do their schoolwork. I chose a corner desk because it fits best in this space. I even bought a stop sign that I hang on my door whenever I’m working with a client so our children know they can’t interrupt during the appointment. My office hours work around our homeschooling schedule. That works for us; it’s important to figure out what will work for you!
Working from home doesn’t give you an excuse to be unprofessional. Step up your game by getting a professional phone number from Grasshopper. You can get a local or toll free number and set up your professional phone without having to buy any new hardware. Click here to check it out.
7. Check Insurance Coverage
Barbara Weltman, President, BIG IDEAS for Small Business
Don’t assume your homeowners or renters policy covers your home office. Check your existing policy to learn whether you have liability coverage for accidents that may befall business visitors, such as clients or customers, or even delivery people. Also find out whether you have property coverage for losses to business items, including expensive equipment, and if so, what’s the extent of your coverage.
8. Apply the ‘Work Triangle’ concept to your space layout.
Debi Ward Kennedy, DebiWardKennedy.com
When designing a work space, approach the layout like a kitchen plan – the ‘work triangle’ concept applies to offices, too. Determine your specific processes, move around as if you were working, and decide what storage and surfaces you need. Get creative with the colors, furnishings and details you select to express YOUR style and brand with every choice
Julie Phillippi-Whitney, Phillippi-Whitney Communications, LLC
I have been working in my home office since 2000 when I started my own PR company.
The key to happiness is your home office is surrounding yourself with wonderful photos and memories of your family and friends and making it seem cozy and homelike. As you can see, I have quite a few photos on the bookshelves behind me as well as on the top of my desk. The other key to happiness is if you have a pet – him or her snoozing beside you can really help de-stress you. If things are getting crazy I just look down at my Labrador Retriever who is snoring under my desk or under my feet and it never fails to make me smile. Having a photo of your pet doesn’t hurt either!
Helene K. Liatsos, The Home-Based Business Expert, Home Office Management Experts
I’ve been working at home for over 25 years teaching others how to work at home too!
My favorite tip for making it work is to have a defined space with all your business equipment, files, and storage in one place. This allows for maximum efficiency of your time and energy. It keeps you organized and focused on your work. The best desk/workspace is the ability to have everything at your fingertips, so you don’t have to reach across the room or get up and go to the filing cabinet. Have a desk with drawers to keep the supplies and files near you that you use most often.
The key to a successful setup is setting up the system and then maintaining it by putting things back where they belong. I take the time to do this as I go along or at the end of my business day. This prevents me from wasting time the next morning looking for files, supplies, etc. Time management means I can start work faster and bill clients!
I’m a voice actor and do almost all my work from my home office / studio. In my case, my setup is largely my desk, a good computer and a couple audio peripherals (digital audio workstation, DAW for short), my vocal booth, and a couple of good microphones. And of course, a bit of software and a fast internet connection.
Having only what you need brings clarity and allows you to focus on the job at hand.
Han Chang, Co-founder, InvestmentZen
I’m a big fan of vertical screen space to help with reading/writing long articles, documents, and code, so I rotate a monitor into portrait instead of landscape mode.
Other than that, I think being able to switch between sitting and standing is the killer feature for a workspace. It helps get the blood pumping again and is just better overall for health!
Nikki W., Clinical Psychotherapist & Life Coach, Bristol Therapy
I have made my home office a luxury space where I can escape to work! I have a positive mantra on the wall and a lounge area to chill out and also see clients. Surrounding yourself with positive energy keeps you grounded and gives you confidence.
Having a home workspace that’s both functional and uplifting is important. You’re going to spend a lot of time there, so you need to be comfortable and enjoy being in the space. I love sparkle and bling, so as you can see, I have tinsel around my work area the whole year round!
I have a long wooden desk in an area, which has my laptop, a large monitor that it’s connected to, a full-size keyboard, and a wifi printer. I do my podcasts from this desk each week. It’s cozy and works well for me.
I know it’s hard, but you need to force yourself to keep your desk as clean and organized as you can. I used to always have papers all over my desk, but I learned to get rid of most of what I don’t actually “need” on my desk daily or every other day. I can’t tell you how much better I feel and how much more I seem to get done!
Samantha R. Strazanac, CEO and Founder, Strazanac Solutions LLC
I own a marketing consulting firm and work out of the spare bedroom in my townhouse. The best thing about my workspace is the desk and the fact that it is separate from the rest of my house. The desk and dual monitor gives me the feeling that I am in a real office and not at home, unlike how it would feel if I were working off the kitchen table.
The biggest key to my setup and success is separating work from home. I close the door when I am in my office, and I close the door when I am not in my office. I do not eat in my office or socialize in my office. It is for work only.
Hank Yuloff, C.A.S., Owner, and Author, Promotionally Minded
When we moved our marketing services business from Los Angeles to Sedona, AZ, we required our new workspace to have red rock views and be the kind of place our client would feel comfortable during their 3 ½ day stay with us while we put together their marketing plan.
The key for us is to keep our workspace and client space separate from our personal living space. The living room is our “War Room” where we meet with clients for 3 ½ days. It is lined with white boards and has incredible views. We turned the dining room into our office which also has unbelievable views.
Other Tips to Consider When Creating Your Home Office
Real plants are more than just a colorful element to your office. They actually help clear the air of all sorts of nasty toxins, from formaldehyde to benzene. Don’t have a green thumb? No problem. Try hardy indoor plants that are hard to kill, such as aloe vera, spider plant, and dracaena.
19. Get creative with office storage.
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded
As a small business owner who has worked from home since 2007, I have found a few key “musts” to ensuring my work performance is as efficient as possible. To begin, having a dedicated spot to work that can be kept 24/7 in place is key. Whether it’s a small corner or a large office, having a central location that is 100% committed to work is ideal. Additionally, having efficient storage is important, also.
If you insist on filing cabinets, why not turn them into a desk? Use two filing cabinets and a sturdy wood counter to create a solid work desk in your home office. This gives you storage space and a place to write and keep your computer. This file cabinet desk is budget friendly too!
Floating shelves are inexpensive and easy to install. Plus, they give you an opportunity to display the things you care about. Floating shelves are an excellent alternative to a bulky bookcase when space is at a premium.
Who says you have to face a wall with your desk? It’s your home office. You can do whatever you want, starting with opening yourself to the rest of the room. Position your desk in the middle of the room so you have plenty of space to walk around it.
Don’t just stick with a single cork board that you can buy from a big box store, especially if you have a lot of stuff to keep track off. Instead, convert one wall into a gigantic cork board. This will allow you to expand your bulletin board so that you can display more of the things that inspire you.
Let’s face it– sitting at your desk all day is not fun, and it’s often the opposite of relaxing. Sometimes your feet get tired of being planted on the floor. Instead, use a desk hammock or a small ottoman to take the load off of your feet.
You never know who’ll drop by and want to hang out. Do you have seating in your office for friends or family members? What about those times when you want to be somewhere other than your desk, but you still want to get stuff done? These are the times when a sofa in your office is a welcome retreat. Simply take your laptop or your tablet over, kick back, and relax.
Add serenity to what may be a frantic office. Choose neutral colors such as beige, gray, and blue as your primary colors. You can accent with bolder colors that make you feel energized and ready to work.
While floating shelves are great if you only have a few things to display, sometimes you need a lot of storage. If the cheapo bookcases at the big box stores give you heartburn, consider building bookcases yourself. They’ll be stronger and a lot more affordable than a comparable quality item you can buy from the store.
Think again. If you have a closet (or even an armoire), you can turn it into a home office. It’s all about your imagination. There’s at least one area in your home that would be the perfect spot for a cozy home office.
Over to You
We’d love to see your home office. Would you share with us? Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief explanation of why you love it. We may even include your photo on an upcoming post. Thanks guys!