TURN YOUR GARAGE INTO A SUCCESSFUL HOME OFFICE
The future is moving forward in communications technology, which is great news for work-at-home opportunists. There are many reasons why a person might work from home. Many jobs like to include flexibility in their work schedule as benefits to working for them. Allowing work from home can create this flexibility without decreasing productivity. Others may be entrepreneurs working from home. Whatever your reason is for working at home, having dedicated office space can only increase your success.
Evaluating Office Space
Your home may offer a lot of space that can be restructured for an office. Forget overcrowded kitchens or corners in the living room, for the best work, you want a dedicated area. An unused bedroom might be what you are looking for, but chances are, every room in your house is probably already being used.
Have you considered the benefits of using space outside of your house? Your garage might be just the place you need to create an ideal home office. Here are a few benefits to using areas outside of your house for a home office. You might not have to put as much effort or resources into restructuring your office space. Separating work and personal life may be achieved more easily by creating an office just outside the house, using a garage or similar structure. The outdoor space may currently not be utilized effectively, so repurposing space can be productive as well. Having productive space may also increase the value of your home. The next steps to this great garage conversion help turn your space into a profit!
Every productive office relies on keeping records maintained and organized. Converting garage space can enhance good organization skills because you have more room for file storage and office accessories. Secure file drawers and cabinets can be hung from the durable garage walls or find standing drawers for an easier reach. Your garage has plenty of space to install drawers and cabinets, without taking up valuable desk space.
Some things to watch for when looking at cabinet and drawers for file storage:
Make sure file drawers can be locked with the keys kept in a safe area.
Many file storage containers are made from materials that provide protection from fire and water damage. Check to see if your local office supply store carries drawers or cabinets with these features.
Decide where you are going to store old files so you can access them later if needed. If your garage has a loft or upper level, this may be an ideal area for archived records.
Privacy and Security
Privacy and security are most important, for your safety and for potential business partners, customers or clients. As a business owner or independent contractor, you will handle a lot of data. This means you will need to take additional security precautions.
Protect your garage and home from invaders (online and offline). You don’t want people sneaking into your garage, and this can be prevented by installing a security system. Likewise, you want to keep invaders from prying into your business online. PCI Regulations can be helpful, especially if you sell merchandise or electronic files. A basic requirement to be compliant is to have a firewall to secure information that is stored digitally.
Office supplies require electricity, so make sure your garage is up to code before plugging in computers, fax machines, copiers, and other electronics. Make sure to use outlets properly and use surge protectors. Keep your home office adequately equipped with a heater and air condition. Check your unit for safety features, like a tip-over switch.
Office Essentials and Furniture
It is easy to get overly excited and overwhelmed when selecting office equipment and furniture for your own office. It is an exciting step, especially if you are launching your own business. Compare brands for efficiency and pricing to make sure it matches your business.
Make sure the furniture and décor keep you focused on the task at hand. For some people, working from home can already become a distraction. Select furniture and décor that distinguishes your office space from your home space to help minimize distractions.
Balancing the Work from Home Life
Some great reasons to work from home include:
- Setting your own hours
- Spending more time with family
- Spending less time in an office setting
- Commute time
These sound like great reasons to work from home. However, working from home can convolute work and family time without a good balance. Setting aside specific work hours can help reduce interruptions and help family members know when they can capture your full attention. Just as you schedule distinct “business hours”, block out specific family hours as well. Leave your office locked and let messages go to voicemail during these times and allow your family to have the priority.
Adding the Finishing Touch
Adding a screen to this garage conversion may seem like the last thing on your mind, but when you consider the benefits of a Fresh Air Screen, you’ll realize why the finishing touch just may be the first step after all. Increased ventilation, balancing temperature, and enhancing privacy are just a few of the benefits that can begin immediately, even before your project has been completed.
Stationary screens are perfect for home offices because they do not feature the extra zippers for roll-up purposes. They are still removeable for storage, however, and a variety of styles allow you to customize your work area.
Model B features a center zipper, which allows direct personal entry through the screen. This can be effective and inviting people for office visits and collaboration. It is important to remember it is not a security wall, but it can help open your garage while still maintaining a professional boundary.
Model A is a stationary screen (non-retractable) like model B but does not feature the center zipper. If you plan on only using a side door or entryway, this screen will offer the same benefits of the Model B but will exclude the additional entryway.