by Tina Martin
Even before the spread of COVID-19, more and more small business owners were shifting to remote or home-based business opportunities. Running your business home means less time consumed by your commute, less money spent on office and storage space, and more time for family and friends. Whether you run an eCommerce store with (or without) inventory or lead your own consulting firm, there are three main ways to create your ideal home office.
Buying: Your dream home becomes your dream office
Buying a new home (especially during these incredibly low pandemic mortgage rates) requires a lot of time and tenacity. Be sure you get what you want for a price you can reasonably afford by doing your research ahead of time. First, narrow down your neighborhood and housing criteria — and be explicit about what you need in a home office. Second, get pre-approved for a home loan so you can move quickly when you find the perfect place.
Connect with a real estate agent who has experience with buyers looking for a home that can accommodate a home-based business. Look for elements such as:
● A large, climate-controlled basement or attic if you need to store inventory.
● A separate entrance if you need a private office space to meet with clients.
● Plenty of natural lighting, sound-proof rooms, and access to WiFi and smart technology throughout the house.
Building: Create your perfect office from scratch
Building a new structure on your property can be one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to create the ideal home office. Many people discover the perfect office was right in front of them this whole time— they breathe new life into an old shed or peel back the layers of neglect on a detached garage. Then there are others who see an open spot in their yard, off the back of a room, or next to the kitchen where an entirely new structure can go.
You may be able to take advantage of financial opportunities specifically for small business owners and home-based businesses. These grants and loans could help finance your new office expenses. Look into:
● The ZenBusiness COVID-19 Grant Program
● Oahu Homeowner Tax Exemption Status
● Small Business Loans (Traditional and Express Bridge)
● Main Street Business Lending Program
Designing: Transform your current place into the ideal space
Designing the right home office is all about combining the creature comforts of your home with what you need to stay productive and on top of your business. Your home office should reflect you and be a place where you feel motivated to accomplish your goals and restore your spirits. It should also make doing your work easy. For example, if you need to store inventory that you regularly interact with, your storage room shouldn’t be on the other side of the house. Or, in a different scenario, if you get easily distracted throughout your home, set up a break area in your home office with coffee, tea, and snacks.
With more people shifting to home offices, you can get a variety of design benefits like:
● Installing a corner desk to maximize space in a small office.
● Using wall shelving and storage to keep inventory close by.
● Investing in a comfortable chair that is ergonomic and provides good support.
● Designing the wall behind your webcam to set a professional stage for conference calls and video chats.
Transitioning your business to a home-based business could be a very financially smart decision — you can save time and money, all while boosting productivity. Whether you buy, build, or design, take your needs seriously, and make sure you create a space that helps you be your best professional self.