Working from home is a wonderful thing. There are so many benefits, from working when it is convenient for you to saving time and money on commuting. Most people will tell you that working from home is worth the few costs you may incur —namely setting up your home office.
It’s easy to go overboard when setting up your home office. Everything is up to you, so you can personalize and design to your heart’s content. The flip side of that is that everything is up to you—including paying for everything you personalize and design. It’s best to be careful with your spending, especially when you are just starting your work-from-home journey. Here are six tips on how to set up a home office that will help you maximize your work with minimal investment.
Really think about and plan what you need. Start with the basics that are required: a phone and headset, computer and utilities (phone service, internet access). Then think about what else you’ll need (or want): printer, bookshelf, décor, a comfy chair, etc. Be realistic and consider buying things slowly over time so that you don’t end up with expensive equipment you never use.
Check any requirements from your company. Some companies require specific phone service (landline, not VoIP), phones or headsets, computer software and other things. Check if there are any technologies or services that are not compatible. Save yourself time, money, and headaches by making sure you have exactly what is required—and not something that is “not recommended” or incompatible.
Do your research. Try not to let this consume you, but research before you purchase larger items so that you know what you want and how much it should cost. There are a multitude of online resources for new and used equipment and furniture as well as brick-and-mortar stores. Many businesses will price-match online storefronts. And you may be able to strike a deal or get a discount when you’re buying face-to-face.
Consider used or leased furniture and equipment. You may be able to get nicer things for less if you go second-hand or lease. Watch for businesses that are closing and selling their office goods—you can find great deals. Auctions can also be a good source. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for IT support (unless you have another resource) so be sure you know exactly what you are getting if you get used computer equipment.
Make the most of tax deductions. A home office may be a deduction on your tax return—with certain stipulations and requirements. You may be able to deduct the cost of supplies, equipment, and other business expenses so keep track of your expenses and save your receipts. Be sure to consult a CPA or tax advisor about your specific situation.
Watch your energy consumption. Things you didn’t think about when you were in an office can add up quickly when you see and pay every bill. Use portable heaters and fans so you aren’t heating or cooling the whole house when you are only in one room. Use lamps and make the most of natural light instead of using overhead lights. And turn off equipment at night. Having everything plugged into a power strip makes that easy.
It can be daunting to set up a home office that is “just right”, but you can do it! Take your time, do your research and you’ll find yourself with a fantastic home office to help you be productive and successful. Good luck!
Karen Beaman is the Director of Agent Acquisition and Onboarding at LiveOps and has enjoyed the benefits of working from home for the past seven years. She is responsible for sourcing and onboarding talented, independent contractor agents to work from home and provide professional contact center services to LiveOps’ clients. Karen has held a variety of leadership roles in her 15 years of contact center experience and now leads her team in the development of cutting edge recruitment, crowd sourcing and onboarding strategies to effectively grow a large distributed workforce and improve the talent available in the cloud. For more information on LiveOps, please visit: join.liveops.com.