During the economic troubles experienced in the USA over the past few years, families have been doing everything they can to cut back costs and put a little aside in case their situation worsens. As a result, working from home has become extremely popular with highly motivated individuals keen to launch their own businesses, be it full-time or on the side, in various industries.
In 2012, entrepreneurship rates in the US hit a new record high, with an amazing 13 per cent of adults in the country becoming involved with a business startup during the year. Many of these enterprising individuals chose their own home as a base for their new business, demonstrating the viability of this idea.
But the question is, could this type of arrangement work for you even if you’re not an entrepreneur?
The Benefits of a Home Office
If you are the type of person who becomes easily distracted in a busy environment, home working may be the ideal solution to your problem. Your home office can become something of a safe, peaceful haven compared to the hustle and bustle of the typical workplace… there are no coworkers to pull you off task with gossip, no radio in the background and, best of all, no boss breathing down your neck when a tight deadline is approaching!
Furthermore, you can choose the exact conditions to optimize your performance, such as turning on a little background music to improve your focus or setting lighting conditions to your preference. These may seem like little things but, when you spend every day in a loud office with strip lighting glaring above you, it can make a big difference when these distractions are suddenly absent!
Lastly, working from home can save you a lot of money on your commute as there are no gas or public transportation costs to worry about. You can even work in your casual clothes, ditching the business suit budget once and for all.
The major barrier to entry for those who want to work from home has historically been that one must be self-employed… not the case anymore.
Thanks in large part to the number of women returning to work after having children, businesses are embracing the concept of flexible working like never before. While the initiative remains more popular across the pond in the United Kingdom than it does here at present, big corporations such as Google and Walt Disney have offered workers the chance to make their contracts a little more flexible, either by shifting around work patterns in a way that allows parents to share childcare, or by letting employees work from home.
Approaching your boss to ask for a flexible working option may seem scary but, let’s face it, the employer directly saves money on overhead by not having you come into the office everyday. America is gradually adapting to this idea, so it may be worth putting a case for flexible working together to present to your boss.
5 years from now working from home will be prevalent in the workforce. You might as well get ahead of the curve.
Setting up your Home Office
OK, so we’ve reached the stage where you have either decided to start your own business or have persuaded your boss that working in your pajamas will benefit the company. All that’s left to do is to create your home office space!
The first step is to identify a suitable room. It doesn’t have to be too big, as long as you can fit in the tools of your trade such as a desk and a computer… but you also don’t want to feel cramped. Comfort is key to productivity.
Your office should also be in an area of the house which is relatively quiet, so overlooking the back yard is ideal.
Once you have chosen your space, you can select a color scheme, which is really important. Neutral shades are best as bright colors can be distracting, but occasional colorful splashes like prints or cushions can make your office more aesthetically pleasing. Finally, add some plants to the room. They naturally recycle the air even with the window closed and are proven to relieve stress.
I’ve provided some inspirational images of office space I particularly like because they provide an atmosphere that promotes creativity and professionalism. Enjoy!