However, there are also some downsides to working from home and one of them is appearing unprofessional. So, if you have to deal with clients often, it’s probably for the best to ensure your home office exudes professionalism. Here are some ideas to consider when it comes to tackling this very important aspect of running your own business.
Depending on the work you do, you might be meeting a lot of clients on a daily basis. If you decide to hire a receptionist who will book your appointments, you will have to create a pleasant area for them as well as for the people who come in a bit early. Even if you don’t have a receptionist, a waiting area is necessary seeing as how regardless of how well you plan your day, you never know when a meeting might run a bit longer than expected or when someone will decide to show up way before their scheduled time.
So, if you have enough space at home, you should add a desk for your receptionist and a comfy seating area where your clients can wait for the meeting. Consider getting a big sofa and a couple of armchairs as well as a table with some magazines. Offer refreshments in the form of water or some hot beverages and maybe some snacks. Complete the atmosphere with a pleasant smell, some greenery and interesting artwork.
On the other hand, regardless of the space at your disposal, you should ensure your clients will not have to wait for the appointment outside, especially if it’s too hot or cold outside. If nothing else, at least provide them with a roof over their head and a place to sit.
Now, let’s tackle the office itself. First of all, to instil a sense of professionalism, you should consider displaying your credentials on one wall of the room. This will show your potential clients that you are the real deal and that they can trust you when it comes to the reason why they are hiring you.
Something else that can be displayed around the office is your previous work. Of course, this will depend on the field you are in. While some occupations might not have anything physical to present, professionals like architects and designers can frame and proudly show off some of their favorite pieces they’ve done in the past. A certain piece in your office might catch your visitors’ eye and convince them that you are the right person for the job.
Another important thing that you must keep in mind is the cleanliness of your home office. An untidy work environment can leave a bad impression on your potential clients seeing as how no one wants to work with sloppy and messy people. To avoid this image of being unprofessional, you should pay a lot of attention to the state of your office.
For starters, ensure there is no clutter around. Try to adopt the minimalist approach when it comes to this space and get rid of all unnecessary items. Your desk, for instance, should only have the most important things on it, such as your computer, a pen and paper perhaps, a model of your previous work or an eye-catching decorative piece. Keep all documents out of sight by getting practical but elegant-looking storage solutions which can be custom-made and built-in. Make the most of the space you have and go vertical with the storage if your office is of the smaller variety.
Finally, make sure there is no trash around. Avoid eating at the office as much as you can and if you find yourself in that situation, make sure to clean up after the meal. Leave no wrappers, packaging or crumbs behind, as that does not look good. Furthermore, if you don’t have the time to clean the space regularly, hire a cleaning service that will come around and tidy it up. They will deal with everything from vacuuming and dusting to cleaning your windows. A spotless office is a great way to show off your professionalism.
There are certain furniture pieces that just scream professionalism. One of these statement items is definitely an executive desk. These desks usually have something very unique about them – they are either very ornate in appearance or they are made from high-quality materials. Plus, seeing as how they are bigger in size than most desks, it’s not hard to see how they can be the focal point of the workplace. When looking for one, however, make sure that it is practical in addition to its look. You might need a lot of storage so find one with plenty of space. Then, it should have enough workspace for you to do everything you need to do during your workday.
Besides the statement desk, you should also look for a comfortable office chair. There are many models that are both ergonomic and good-looking. This way, you will look very professional while being productive as well as avoiding any back and neck pain. Furthermore, get some nice armchairs for your clients. Feeling comfortable will make them more likely to do business with you. If you have space, you can even include a chaise or a lounge area where you can have more laid-back conversations.
It’s not just the big pieces of furniture that play a big role here. Although seemingly small, certain decorative pieces can tie the whole room together. For example, putting up quality pinch pleat curtains can boost the look of the entire office, regardless of whether you’re aiming for a more formal or a more modern aesthetic. Then, consider a nice rug that will feel soft under your feet, absorb sounds and bring more visual interest.
The color palette of the office can also be a make-it-or-break-it factor in your business relationships. Certain colors work well for workspaces while some are usually avoided. This has a lot to do with color psychology and you should probably learn more about it when choosing the right shade for your office. Blue and green are usually quite calming and allow people to perform better, while other individuals prefer cheery color like yellow and orange to boost their productivity and creativity.
Moreover, you probably don’t want to be perceived as bland which is why you might be avoiding shades of beige. That does not have to be the case – previously mentioned carpets and curtains can be used to bring in pops of color into space if you don’t want to risk it with wall paint. On the other hand, you can also choose to paint your walls in hues of blue, lavender, gray or green. If your office is smaller, going for a lighter shade is usually recommended but you can always have one statement wall that is painted dark, such as navy blue or even black. Luckily, it’s easy to find inspiration when it comes to home office color schemes.
Some professions require you to show off your talent and what better way to convince people of your abilities than presenting them with your office? If you are a designer, you already have an eye for amazing setups but you can consider a bold floral wallpaper or some pastel-colored furniture that can’t go unnoticed.
While natural light is the best option, not all offices are lucky enough to have it. This is why it’s important to properly layer your lights. First things first, you will most certainly need overhead lights which is a great opportunity to make the space more elegant by getting a statement fixture. A nice chandelier or a geometrical pendant can really do a lot for the room.
Then, task lights are also crucial – you need at least one lamp on your desk. Depending on the layout of the space, you might need some more table or floor lamps or even sconces. However, keep in mind that the kind of light is also vital. It is said that white light boosts productivity while yellow makes people feel tired. Research has shown that cooler light improves alertness and reduces fatigue.
On the other hand, if you are worried that the lack of natural light means that you can’t have plants in the office, you’ll be happy to hear that there are also plants that do not require a lot of light to thrive. Seeing as how greenery can also make space look better, look into getting plants such as bromeliad, ZZ plant and dracaena.
These six ways are, for the most part, easy to implement in your home office in order to make it look more professional. Keep them in mind when decorating and your clients will keep coming back.
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