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Creating the Ideal Home Office Space

Many people with home offices have utilitarian spaces that no one else ever sees. However, if you see clients on-site, you’ll want to ensure your space is both professional and safe during these times of uncertainty around Covid-19. You’ll also want to let customers and prospects know you remain open for business. Leo Digital Marketing can help amplify your messaging to your target audience using innovative methodologies.

Make Your Office Client-Friendly

To project a professional image, outfit your home office the same way you would a suite in an office complex. According to Design Ideas Guide, even if your office is a converted bedroom, it should still look like an office. Have comfortable seating, a small conference table, if possible, and your desk should be facing outward rather than toward a wall or window. Stage it to be strictly business - having a box of Halloween decorations in the corner of your dog’s water bowl by the door isn’t going to be a good look. Put awards and diplomas on the wall, have your desk neat and tidy, and use a banker’s lamp or stand lighting to illuminate your room.

Keep It Private

If at all possible, ensure family members, kids, and pets are otherwise occupied during in-home office visits. Keep a placard on your door to indicate no solicitors should knock or ring the doorbell. When you bring someone into your home office, try to take the most direct route that doesn’t walk them through too many areas of your home. Make sure your bathroom is clean, and keep a small fridge with beverages or a coffee maker in your office for refreshments. Even though people know they’re going into a private home, you want to ensure it’s a professional experience from start to finish, and setting rules with your family around privacy is a good first step.

Learn About Zoning and CCR Requirements

Depending on how strict your neighborhood is with regard to community rules and regulations and zoning, you may be prohibited from making certain expansions or using your home for certain types of business purposes. It’s always wise to check these things before making significant changes or regularly scheduling clients for on-site appointments. While a home office is acceptable in almost all cases, there may be restrictions on home modifications, on-site parking, or building occupancy. Your local department of business and industry or secretary of state’s office can help you learn more. You’ll also want to check the requirements for insurance coverage with your homeowner insurance company.

Consider Larger Upgrades

Provided you have limited restrictions, you may find it’s worth the investment to expand your living space, convert a section of your house, or even build a casita or guest house that can double as office space. Not only will you be able to maximize home-office deductions on your taxes, but you could also significantly increase the appraised value of your home. Even something as simple as adding a separate entrance to your office space can add to your professional image, and allow you to eventually promote your home as having a “private entrance” to “separate living space.”

Track Your Alterations

A home with a dedicated home office is attractive to more and more home buyers, so make sure you document all of the upgrades you make to demonstrate your investment. This includes taking before-and-after photos and keeping receipts for all of your expenditures. For example, expanding a space, building in custom workspaces and shelving, or adding technology upgrades can add significantly to your home’s appraised value. When you decide to sell or need an appraisal to refinance, having detailed documentation on file will be helpful.

Make Things Safe

Institute sanitary precautions for home office visitors concerned about transmission of Covid-19. In fact, let people know before they come to your office what you’re doing to keep them safe. This might include wiping down common surfaces and your office space before their arrival, seating chairs six feet apart, and maybe even utilizing a portable plexiglass barrier to provide an extra layer of protection. You might also keep hand sanitizer on your desk, as well as a box of masks. An air purifier and/or open windows can also offer a sense of protection. If you want to maintain masking or a certain distance during your meetings, notify your clients in advance so they know what to expect.

Use Contactless Practices

In addition to taking precautions for meetings, consider opportunities to utilize contactless methods in all areas of operations. This might include Zoom calls over in-person meetings, using paperless invoicing, and meeting outdoors where possible. You might also utilize large conference spaces in rented business complexes where larger groups can meet in person while remaining socially distanced. If there is anyone in your business sphere who is at high risk of Covid or Covid complications, make every effort to ensure they are well-protected. Having an open channel of communication in this area is an added layer of professionalism and is demonstrative of quality customer service.

Respect Concerns

Everyone has a little different level of personal tolerance when it comes to risk mitigation around possible Covid transmission. Be mindful and respectful of this, even if you don’t agree with a business associate or customer’s approach. Be upfront when you ask about, or state preferences, around masking, shaking hands, eating together, or sitting within close proximity to one another. If a customer has a preference you can accommodate, make all efforts to do so. It’s a good way to build goodwill and enhance the potential for continued business ventures.

Best practices around Covid mitigation and safety practices continue to evolve, which means businesses are tasked with continually adapting to changing mandates and best practices. You can stay current on recommendations by visiting the Centers for Disease Control.

Leo Digital Marketing provides affordable, measurable results for small businesses and nonprofits. The company specializes in creating high-visibility online presences, developing SEO-rich content, and attracting new customers. Visit the site to learn more and reach out for a consultation.

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