Are you ready to get your home business off the ground? To really kick your business into high gear, you need to establish a productive workspace. That means shelling out some of that startup capital to get a home office set up. No matter what industry you’re in, Bankrate reports that having a dedicated home office can offer a number of benefits to both you and your business, including freedom from distractions, the ability to work in comfort, and much sought after tax deductions. You really just need to know where to start, and be ready to invest in the setup process.
What You Need To Get Started
Every office has a few basic requirements, but breaking down everything you need to have a fully functional workspace can be a bit difficult. According to Bright Hub, these are the most essential items for any functional home office:
- Computer: preferably on the newer side, or at least powerful enough to last you a while. Generally a desktop unit is better than a laptop for long term use, so this investment includes a monitor and other peripherals.
- Multi-function printer: laser is cheaper in the long run, but inkjet is less of an upfront investment. Balance your budget and find out what will work best for you.
- Calling System: this can be anything from your cell phone to a digital calling system like Skype, but you need some way for clients to contact you outside email.
- Desk and chair: always make sure that these are comfortable and durable, and that you buy a chair designed for the amount of use you intend. You’re sure to regret buying a $40 “light use” desk chair after a couple 12 hour days.
- Storage space: cabinets, shelving units and modular storage are a few options, just make sure you can keep your space clutter-free.
- Memo board: because sticky notes are still super effective!
- Disposal units: depending on your industry, you want between two and four trash receptacles in your office at any given time, within easy reach of your desk and workspaces.
- General office supplies: printer paper, pens, sticky notes and other staples (no pun intended) are a must.
- Specific office supplies: anything you need specifically for your business, from scrap paper to a high-resolution scanner.
Once you know what you need, it’s time to hit the store! Office supply stores are the best place to start, although you may be better off buying your computer and other technology from a dedicated tech store.
How Much Does It Cost?
According to Bloomberg, setting up a home office can cost anywhere from $800 to $10,000, depending on the equipment you need the furniture you choose and the supplies you stock. It’s also not a project that can be completed overnight, so be prepared to spend some time along with the money.
The first step to setting up a home office, and probably the most expensive, is making sure you have new equipment. Furniture can be bought secondhand, bookcases and shelving units are easy enough to assemble on a budget, but you’ll need a computer that can keep up with you and any other tech that your business requires—which can include everything from a graphics tablet to a desktop die-cutter, not to mention the company website. It may seem a bit costly, but a little searching online can help you find discounts and deals on the office items you need, from Staples coupons from Ebates to mail-in rebates from specific brands.
Keeping costs down extends to maintaining your office as well, not just the setup. This doesn’t mean always buying the cheapest supplies, but rather doing the research to find what’s the most cost-effective for your business. As stated earlier, inkjet printers require much less in upfront costs than a laser unit, but over a couple years the cost of inkjet cartridges could cost you up to three times the upfront and maintenance costs of an efficient laser printer. The best deal isn’t always the cheapest. If you want your business to succeed in the long term, make sure that your office is economically feasible for the long term.
Keep Your Home Office Dedicated
As you settle into your new office space, it can be tempting to start using it as your daily “zen” place. However, research shows that by using your office for more than just work and other focused activities, you may actually limit the extra productivity the space can offer you. Once it’s set up, you should keep your office dedicated to your working life. Working from home often means long hours and late nights, so making sure that your workspace is separate from your living space makes it easier to unwind after a long day of hard work.
Setting up your office may be a job unto itself, but it’s one that will definitely pay off. Just make sure you use your workspace for work!