From time to time, I post guest-written blogs that are pertinent to my consulting areas of diversity and career development. Now that I am creating a series that is connected with living in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, this guest blog provided by Marissa Perez is very relevant since many more of us are now working from home. In fact, a recent news article further asserts that in the post virus world, we will likely see more people working at home permanently.
Marissa Perez, co-founder and head marketing writer at Business Pop, has spent the last 10 years honing her marketing skills, and now is sharing her small business / entrepreneurial expertise through this third guest blog she has provided.
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Working and living in the same space can be very complicated. A dedicated workspace is vital for business success, but making room for your wares often presents unique challenges. From stocking products to making room for your computer to handling packing and shipping, here’s how to best house your home-based business.
1) Evaluate Existing Office Space (or Potential)
You may already have an unused space in your home that would be perfect for a home-based business. However, if you’re stocking products as you begin a Fulfillment by Amazon business, for example, it could take some innovation to make things work. You’ll need both a place to work at your desk and an area for managing stock, so it’s time to get creative.
Go Up and Over to Make Things Fit: Even for smaller products, you need adequate space for storage. One way to remedy limited square footage is by building up and over. Consider installing shelving units, wall hooks, and other vertical storage to make the most of a narrow floor plan.
Other space-saving options include fold-down workstations, loft desks that can hold the product above and your computer below, or even a full-blown loft space. Make sure your storage area is convenient to access so you can rotate inventory and process orders.
Build Out to Make Room: Another option is to build an addition to fit your office. Whether it’s adding to — or converting — a garage or installing a modular space, you’ll need to check your city’s local building code for guidelines. Each project will require permission from your local municipality.
Building onto your house can also get expensive. According to HomeGuide, the national average cost of building a home addition is $48,000. However, you could also consider a “bump-out” or smaller addition to an existing room to increase your square footage for a lower cost. Per the Spruce, an addition can cost as little as $17,000 for 20 square feet of space.
Consider Moving Your Home and Business
If your existing home is too cramped for work, you might think about moving. But buying a new home to make room for your business involves some important steps.
Follow Steps for a Smart Home Search: When you decide to buy a home, you’ll need to establish a realistic budget and get pre-approval from your lender. Pre-approval means you’re ready to submit paperwork to make an offer once you find the perfect property. But you also need a reliable real estate agent to show you homes in your desired neighborhood or city.
Take Note of Potential Tax Breaks: Whether you’re buying property or staying put, note that when you have a home business, you may qualify for a handful of valuable tax breaks. Tax deductions are available for home offices, home-based business expenses, and even travel expenses, according to Bench.
Potential tax breaks might not influence your buying decision overall. But it’s worth noting that your home office must be a separate space that’s used exclusively for your work—so installing your desk in the corner of the living room won’t qualify you for deductions.
Decorate for Maximum Productivity
Whatever type of home-based business you run, your office space should be inviting and functional. Staying organized is key for getting work done, so clear out cluttered drawers, toss trash, and scan must-keep documents to help boost productivity.
Of course, you shouldn’t discount the impact of your surroundings when it comes to how energized or focused you feel. Lighting and furniture can make a difference whether you’re working five hours or 50, so choose pieces that are bright and ergonomic, respectively.
Whether you and your home business stay put or move shop, designing an organized and productive home office is crucial for your success. Fortunately, thoughtful planning (and purchasing) can make all the difference.