The reality of turning your home into your workplace

Even if you’re a knowledge-worker, there’s a lot more to home-working than just buying a laptop or turning your room into an office like workplace. If you want to make home-working a long-term success, then you need to approach it the right way.

Home Office

Here are some points you need to consider.

Do you want to be an employee or a freelancer?

If you’re a business owner or manager, then ask yourself if you want your team to be employees or freelancers. Essentially, the same considerations apply regardless of what way you look at it.

Typical 8 hours a day.You own your own time.
Usual 15 minutes to 1 hour break.Eat all you want.
Dress code to impress.Dress to de-stress.
Traffic overload can be an issue.No need to travel so sense of traffic.
No work, no pay unless on leave with pay.Can work anywhere, anytime of the day. Thus, always with pay.

If you’re an employee, then you can expect your employer to lay down conditions about your workspace. You can, however, also expect them to give you some level of help with putting it together. For example, they might insist that you have a quiet, dedicated working space but send you a laptop. You can also expect to be mandated to follow their guidelines and procedures.

If you’re a freelancer, then you will have a service agreement with a client. It’s then up to you, how you implement it. In practical terms, that means you’re going to have to think about what your clients will want. Then you have to be prepared to demonstrate to them that you can meet their expectations.

Do you have enough space?

It’s vital to be realistic about this. Using a laptop on your bed is a stop-gap workaround, not a long-term solution. If you value your health and your safety, you need a functional workspace. If you’re purely a knowledge worker, then this could just be a dedicated nook in your home. If you’re not, then you probably need a separate work building.

Even if you’re just building your own office, it’s worth taking time to think about what you really need and want. This building should be a long-term investment for your future, so it makes sense to get it right the first time. If you’re building anything more complicated, then you really need to plan the project with care.

In particular, think about what supplies (consider important stationery items or a power backup solution) you’ll need and how you’ll make sure you’ll get them. For example, if your business needs water, then it might be smart to install concrete water tanks. This gives you a backup plan in case the regular supply fails.

What are your security considerations?

These days, just about any business will need to take data security very seriously. If you’re an employee, then it’s your employer’s responsibility to organize this and take every possible security measure for you.

Data Security

It is, however, very much your responsibility to follow their processes.

If you’re an employer or a freelancer, then your data security is very much down to you. At least, it’s down to you to make sure that it happens.

For many SMBs and freelancers, by far the most sensible approach is to get a third-party specialist to organize and implement it. This is a very responsible job so make sure that you go through a robust selection process.

In some cases, physical security will also be an issue. Most physical security hinges on knowing who is where, when, and why. This means you need to implement good access controls (e.g. locks) and monitoring (e.g. CCTV). Ideally, you’ll complement this by also implementing secure storage.

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