A big reason that you sprang for that extra bedroom in one of our San Joaquin Valley homes might be so that you could set up a home office. This space can be used to work on household accounts, telecommute to your employer, or run a small business. To get the best out of your new working space, follow these tips.
Get It Built for Work
If you already know what bedroom on the floor plan you want to use as a home office, we can help you maximize your workspace. Have us install low-maintenance flooring, such as wood or tile, and use easier-to-clean satin or semi-gloss paint on the walls. Eliminate fancy details and moldings in favor of something simple. When you’re in the room, you want to spend most of your time tending to business rather than cleaning.
If the bedroom contains a closet with sliding doors, eliminate the doors and have the closet converted into a built-in desk so you can maximize the floor space. On the other hand, if the room contains a walk in closet, eliminate the clothing rod and install multiple shelves to hold office supplies and inventory. Make sure that there are enough outlets for all the equipment you want to run and that there are enough cable connections to internet services or phone lines.
Let In the Light
You don’t want to have to turn on the lights every time you use your home office because that can waste energy, especially during the day. Eliminate your window coverings, or install minimal versions, such as horizontal blinds. You can then let in the maximum amount of daylight, which not only saves on your utility bills but can have an energizing effect on your workday.
Max Out the Tax Break
You can confirm this with your accountant but the space you use for your home office can be a source of tax deductions if you use it as a primary place of business. But that means you can’t use it for anything else, such as a part-time guestroom, media center, or play room for the kids. Eliminate anything from the room that can be misconstrued as not business related, including craft items, video games and non-business computers. If your room looks and works as an office, then the IRS is more likely to accept any tax breaks that you claim for it.
Maintain Regular Hours
When you’re at home, it’s easy for friends, relatives, and neighbors to assume that you’re just lounging about and enjoying your free time. Prevent those assumptions in the first place by treating any trip to your home office as a commute to work. Maintain regular hours and during that time don’t answer personal emails or personal phone calls and ignore social network requests. If you consistently work at the same time every day, family, friends, neighbors, and even clients will respect those hours as inviolable business time.
Don’t Forget to Come Home
One of the dangers of working at home is that you never leave the office. You can’t resist the urge to check one last email before you go to bed or to send out that fax just before you eat dinner. There’s no longer any separation between your work and personal lives, which can increase your stress. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you leave the office as soon as you close the door to your bedroom. Avoid doing anything related to work until you re-enter your office the next day.
If you want to know how else to set up a home office or want to check out some of our models in person, please contact us.